Valentine’s Day is an emotional holiday that means different things to different people. For some, it’s all about gazing into their beloved’s eyes and feeling warm fuzzies as the sun shines and birds sing; for others, it means drawing the curtains and drowning one’s sorrows with wine while watching an endless loop of romantic comedies and wondering where it all went wrong. Savvy brands know this. And for Valentine’s Day 2015 in particular, many are delivering visual content to tell stories that cater to both of these parties. Meanwhile, other brands are offering personalized content and attempting to facilitate real-world connections.
Here are Momentology’s 14 favorite examples of brands seeking to make emotional connections with consumers on Valentine’s Day.
Top 14 Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaigns Of 2015
The greeting card brand has released a series of seven videos on its YouTube channel, Put Your Heart to Paper, which range from about 20,000 to 1.8 million views.
In each video, the brand asks a couple to describe how they feel about each other without using the word “love.”
Or, as Hallmark puts it, “Saying ‘I love you’ is easy. It’s three little words. What’s hard is going beyond that, going deeper than that. Expressing how you really feel.”
The resulting videos have a strong emotional element and the brand invites consumers to share their input using the hashtag #PutYourHeartToPaper, which has generated about 3,000 tweets in the past month, per Topsy.
“Today, there are so many ways to connect,” said Pam Kelley, Hallmark editorial director, in a prepared statement. “But when you need more than a text or social media, Hallmark makes it easy to say just how you feel in a way that’s real and lasting.”
In a promo for the 2015 Ford Mustang, the American auto manufacturer went a slightly different route and brought in “a beautiful professional stunt driver” and “[asked] a bunch of unsuspecting guys to meet her on a blind date they’ll never see coming” in its Mustang Speed Dating video, which, as of February 12, had about 4.1 million views.
A similar video from Pepsi Max featuring race car driver Jeff Gordon on a faux test drive with an unsuspecting car salesman went on to rack up 43.7 million views.
Canadian airline WestJet also created a video for Valentine’s Day featuring two Toronto-area couples. The brand says it identified two men shopping for engagement rings in November and offered to send them to Barbados, with the catch being that WestJet got to decide when they actually proposed to their girlfriends.
The resulting seven-minute video has about 500,000 views to date and “the result was an experience the two couples will remember for the rest of their lives, and a funny, heartwarming Valentine’s Day story to share with Canadians,” said Corey Evans, manager of sponsorship and community investment at WestJet, in a prepared statement.
WestJet is no stranger to viral holiday videos. Its 2013 Christmas Miracle video, for example, has 40.6 million views.
“As a medium, video is a tremendous way to connect with consumers because it allows you, in a very, very complete way to tell a story,” said Robert Palmer, WestJet’s manager of public relations. “It allows you to…interview people and show the very human side of things. Look at some of the amazing aspects of the Valentine’s Day video – the laughter, the facial expressions of the two couples. They were priceless…We could not have told that story without video…and so that’s really what it was all about: Telling a good story.”
The French jeweler says it “pays tribute to love” in The Proposal, a film with “three love stories set in the City of Light [and] three ways to make time stand still and say ‘I love you.’”
Since it was posted February 2, the video has 1.5 million views.
Digital marketing agency 360i says it has created “stories about awkward, unexpected romance” in a series of goofy video shorts for Red Velvet Oreos.
More specifically, the brand says it will release six short videos “highlighting the effect of Red Velvet on everyday situations that could use a little love,” like “the dreaded middle seat on an airplane, or a crowded city bus – but, with a light-hearted change in perspective, become much more manageable and even at times interesting.”
360i says the campaign “centers around the idea that Red Velvet seems to have a certain ‘effect’ on people, no matter their age, personality, or relationship status” and the campaign targets “everyone – especially skeptical millennials who aren’t exactly enthusiastic about the holiday.”
The video content is housed on YouTube with additional GIFs and Valentine’s-themed messaging on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr where, 360i says, Oreo is “inviting fans to ‘feel the feelings.’” The campaign is further supported with paid media across social targeted at Oreo fans and less enthusiastic millennials with non-Valentine’s Day plans, 360i says.
Per Topsy, the hashtag #RedVelvetOreo has generated 18,000 tweets in the past month.
The fabric softener brand is promoting what it calls the “snug,” or “a hug, but with more love,” with snug-related content from its spokesbear, including snuggling tips and Snuggle Valentine Video Cards, which allow consumers to choose from more than 400 names spoken by Snuggle Bear and five different video messages shareable on Facebook and Twitter and via e-mail.
The brand is also dispatching “a roving SnugMobile” in New York on February 13 to attempt a Guinness World Record title of the “most hugs given by a puppet in eight hours” which, the brand notes, “comes at a time when more and more people are looking to connect by snuggling up to each other. Professional cuddling services and even social media apps and online matching services are emerging that connect people through their mutual interest in hugs and Snugs,” Snuggle says.
In a prepared statement, Bibie Wu, Snuggle’s vice president of marketing, added, “Snuggle’s mission of making the world a softer place is more relevant and important than ever, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate it with a Snug.”
Cosmetics company Revlon has teamed up with Google to launch an animated, personalized shareable Valentine’s Day GIF e-card program.
According to the brand, consumers can “send bespoke messages of love to someone special, making each consumer part of Revlon’s worldwide Love is On movement.”
onsumers can participate by engaging with any of the Revlon expandable engagement ads across desktop, tablet and mobile on the Google Display Network. Additionally, consumers can visit the Revlon website to create their photograms, the brand says.
Per Brian McDevitt, industry director of home and personal care at Google, this marks “the first time a brand has invited users to upload to and create content directly within an engagement ad.”
Using Google technology, consumers select their favorite Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick Color, upload an image and “watch as the perfect kiss – the physical symbol of love – is placed directly on their cheek,” resulting in a shareable .GIF, with a special love note. Consumers are also encouraged to use the hashtag #LOVEISON when sharing on social media for a chance to be featured on the Revlon Global Love Beacon in Times Square. Per Topsy, the hashtag has about 5,000 mentions in the past 30 days.
“When we started the Love is On movement, we knew that Valentine’s Day would be an important date for Revlon as it is a global celebration of love,” said Martine Williamson, SVP of Global Marketing for Revlon Color Cosmetics. “Working with Google on this innovative .GIF is the perfect vehicle to spread the Love is On message in a personalized and special way.”
Match.com and Starbucks
Starbucks and Match.com say they are offering singles new opportunities to connect at Starbucks this year.
According to Match, more than 3 million members list “coffee and conversation” as one of their interests and, as of January 29, these members have been able to use a new Meet at Starbucks feature “to more easily reach out and make that first coffee date” by sending an email to someone they might like and finding a convenient Starbucks location.
Additionally, on February 13, in participating Starbucks locations, customers are invited to join the World’s Largest Starbucks Date. Participating markets include the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, India, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam, a Starbucks rep says.
Per Starbucks, from 2 p.m. to close, a special pairings menu “will be complemented with in-store experiences designed to facilitate connection and celebrate love, including special in-store music playlists chosen by Starbucks partners (employees), and photo props to document and share your #StarbucksDate.”
The Starbucks rep declined to share data regarding the number of participants. However, Topsy says the hashtag has been used 6,000 times in the last 30 days.
“There’s no better time to celebrate meaningful moments of connection, and encourage new ones, than during Valentine’s Day,” said Sharon Rothstein, Starbucks global chief marketing officer, in a statement. “For more than 40 years Starbucks has been a place to connect over a great cup of coffee.”
Pen brand Pilot notes that great love has been commemorated with handwritten love notes for centuries, but it is often difficult to sit down to pen and post a Valentine’s Day message in this busy digital age.
That’s why the brand created its Pilot Love Guru, which, for the third year in a row, will “brings the heartfelt written word into the digital space by creating custom one-of-a-kind handwritten notes to send to those we love through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”
The brand says the #PilotLoveGuru has “already played cupid for hundreds of lovers and friends.” A Pilot rep says the brand has seen a 20 percent increase in notes each year and expects to create more than 200 notes this Valentine’s Day.
To participate, consumers can tweet, tag, comment or share their valentine’s name with the hashtag #PilotLoveGuru on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Pilot says its “specially trained Love Gurus” will hand write a “personalized and heartfelt note and send it to your valentine via the selected social network.”
The rep says each of the messages is customized based on the consumer’s original message to Pilot.
“Some followers give very specific messages and some just give names. We’re happy to help craft a love note based on either,” the rep says. “We look at the year and pinpoint strategic time-periods when the written word is most impactful. Obviously, the emotional value of a hand-written note on a day that is all about passion is very powerful and Pilot wants to give everyone the opportunity to share a hand-written note, even if they’re not sure of what words to say.”
In a press release, Ariann Langsam, director of consumer marketing at Pilot added, “There’s a unique magic that happens when pen meets paper, and we want to make it simple for our followers and friends to share that magic in the digital realm.”
The online florist dispatched the #Cupidrone, a “real, fully operational drone” that “[searches] for targets armed with a red rose.”
The Cupidrone was released over the streets of Verona, which it says is home of the world’s most famous couple, Romeo and Juliet, and is also where the brand says it looked for “enamored couples and lonely souls who are looking for love.”
Also per FunnyHowFlowersDoThat.co.uk, when Cupidrone spotted his target, he dropped a red rose “delivered by stealth.” A YouTube video of the stunt has 116,000 views.
Sour Patch Kids
The candy brand is asking its followers to share #SPKSAD stories for #SinglesAwarenessDay on Twitter, which, per Topsy, has about 2200 tweets overall. That includes a partnership with platform Wattpad, which says it connects people through words, to read and write “sour then sweet love stories.”
For its part, advertising agency McKinney is asking fans to Instagram or tweet an image of their exes to @ShredYourEx with the hashtag #ShredYourEx and then visit ShredYourEx.tv to watch what it calls “a live feed of your photo printing directly into a paper shredder above a digital fire.”
A McKinney rep says the effort is part of McKinney’s Ten Percent, a program that encourages employees to set aside 10 percent of their time focusing on new applications of creativity and technology. As a result, McKinney hacked the printer API to take Instagram and Twitter information from the Web directly to a printer. A thin PHP wrapper checks Instagram and Twitter user information for three things: mention of the @ShredYourEx handle, the hashtag #ShredYourEx and one image. If a post contains all three, ShredYourEx sends the image directly to the printer, the agency says.
“Here’s a way they can warm their cold hearts with the healing power of sweet destruction,” McKinney says. In addition, when Valentine’s Day is over, the shredded paper will go to an animal shelter to help keep puppies and kittens warm, the agency says.
A McKinney rep says the agency will share numbers “most likely” today as Valentine’s weekend gets started.
Whole Foods, which calls itself America’s most romantic grocery store, has posted a tongue-in-cheek video, How to Be Romantic, which, as of February 12, has about 2,600 views.
“At Whole Foods Market we are building a business in which high standards permeate all aspects of our company, from the products on our shelves to the people you’ll find strolling through our aisles,” the brand says on YouTube. “That’s right. We guarantee you will find the highest quality and best selection of single people in the entire country. Shop here and you’re bound to find your dream lover. And when you do we’ve got your back.”
According to ConAgra Foods’ Dining In Survey, 52 percent of millennials think cooking at home is more romantic than going out to eat, but 84 percent say they lack recipe ideas for a romantic evening at home.
As a result, ConAgra Foods curated Valentine’s Day recipes featuring its brands like Hunt’s tomatoes, Alexia Foods and Reddi-wip and partnered with Internet cooking show host Laura Vitale and grocery delivery service Instacart.
Vitale will post two how-to cooking videos on her YouTube channel. Consumers will also be able to add ingredients for the recipes to a virtual basket and Instacart will deliver everything to their doors, ConAgra says. In addition, the brand is encouraging couples to post a picture of their Valentine’s Day meals with the hashtag #VDayIn.
Car rental brand Hertz says it is giving customers the chance to win “the ultimate date do-over” in its Dream Date Rewind promotion, which asks consumers to submit a photo or video with a description of a bad date experience on Facebook or Twitter.
Winners will receive a luxury Hertz Dream Car rental. Hertz’s Dream Car collection includes makes/models like the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Bentley Continental GT, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Tesla Model S.
“At Hertz we are always looking for new ways to tap into the fun of driving, and nothing sets the tone for a great date night like an impressive vehicle,” said Bob Stuart, executive vice president of global sales and marketing, in a statement. “The Hertz Dream Date Rewind promotion will give deserving customers the chance to experience a luxury Dream Car rental to help erase those memories of a date gone wrong and replace them with memories of a dream date come true.”
White Castle and Waffle House
Much like quick service chain While Castle has long done in its Valentine’s Day Love Castle promotion, for the eighth consecutive year, Waffle House says it will “roll out white tablecloths, light truckloads of candles and craft tailored menus to set the stage for a one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day experience.”
The brand encourages customers to find a list of participating locations on its website and call for reservations, as well as to share photos from their Valentine’s Day visits via Instagram or on the Waffle House Facebook page with the hashtag #waffles4lovers.
“Whether you’re out with friends, family, or your significant other, a heaping plate of hashbrowns is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face,” says Waffle House.