How brands spiced things up for Valentine’s Day



How brands spiced things up for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day or not, it can be nice to add variety into the usual mix. I did some digging to see how advertisers capitalized on the retail holiday this year. The biggest theme I saw involved brands taking a nontraditional approach. Whether it be diverting from social norms or from their own reputations, here are some examples of ads that got it right:


Credit: Twitter

These out-of-home ads for Twitter are a big ol’ box of Valentine’s Day bitterness. Example tweets from disillusioned users could be found at subway stations and as billboards in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Twitter earns points for the simplicity and authenticity of these ads. Seeing as they literally pulled crowdsourced content from their website, there’s nothing that can be said about a lack of transparency here.

I think the cynical tone of the campaign effectively speaks to those who are skeptical of romance, Twitter, and advertising itself.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Big Bowls

This campaign is one of the only two I’m including that’s actually directed to people in relationships. The strategic insight is relatable based on what I’ve heard from friends with kids. The tagline “Get’em Fed, Get’em To Bed, Get It On” creatively presents mac and cheese as a conduit for sexual satisfaction, a sentence I never imaged myself ever typing.

This promotional push is also intriguing considering the recent news that Kraft Heinz is slashing their agency relationships by half. What an inopportune breakup.


Credit: Ilyse Liffreing

Wait, what?! Okay, hear me out. PH did a pop-up store in Soho, and it wasn’t what you’d expect. They doled out teddy bears, conversation hearts, and bouquets of roses. But yes, they did provide a free month of Premium content with every purchase.

This attempt to soften their brand image acted as a vehicle to lure people into eventually subscribing to the site’s Premium content. Due to the behavioral economic principle of virtual ownership, which, in Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely calls a “mainspring of the advertising industry,” once you’ve experienced good, you won’t settle for less.

By extending their offerings into the realm of romance, PH could attract new patrons whilst maintaining their aura of pleasure. Because, after all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Coors Light

Aw, a puppy!

This campaign’s tagline: “The official beer of skipping cuffing season” works wonders for encouraging people to opt out of the crowded, fancy dinner and kick back with a cold brewski. This is the ultimate anti-Valentine’s Day dig, and can be used for the remainder of winter as well.

Not super sure what the strategy was on this one, unless it was about drinking alone.

Maybe I just like the dog.

“Connected Underwear” for Deutsche Telekom
Credit: Saatchi & Saatchi

This one’s definitely my favorite. The original ads are in German, and you can probably get the gist from watching those, too.

Research found that a large portion of people were upset about how much time their partner spent on their phone. Here, advertisers saw an opportunity and generated the main idea that underwear could be connected via bluetooth to your partner’s phone. Perks of this include the ability to turn off wifi, silence notifications, and play mood music, decreasing distractions and increasing libido. Props to this coming from a telecom company.

Overall, an interesting mix from brands this V-Day. Both companies with ads geared toward couples bring our attention to a relationship issue and offer themselves as the solution. Twitter and Coors position themselves as an alternative to love. And Pornhub tried to combine sex and love. Let’s hope everyone else caught feelings as well.


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