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Valentine’s Day and Brands: What’s Love Got to do With It?

Money gets into everything. Even into love.

As dates in our calendars from Christmas to Halloween become ever more retail opportunities, DANTE looks at the funny and scary side of branding romance on February 14.

by  Kate Norton

 

The commercialization of Valentine’s Day is nothing new — lovers have shown their affection for each other with greeting cards, chocolates and flowers since 18th-century England. But it’s only with the advent of the mass-produced greeting card in the 20th century that the day has become big business – to the tune of $18.9 billion in the U.S. alone. That’s why it’s understandable that marketers from a raft of industries have long sought ways to capitalise on the occasion and boost sales for their own brands.

But the dawn of social media that has really ramped up those efforts, allowing companies of all shapes and sizes to devise more creative campaigns that are shareable and could go viral. Here are some of our favourites from 2015…

FORD

You don’t typically associate cars with February 14, which is part of what makes this a great campaign. The premise: men are filmed getting into the passenger seat of a Red (of course) Ford Mustang for a drive with a beautiful blonde. The hitch, as the unsuspecting men soon find out, is that their beautiful blonde “date” is also a professional sports car driver. All of which makes for interesting viewing. Since its release last year, it’s garnered more than 13.5 million YouTube hits.

CARTIER

This beautifully shot, six-minute short, dubbed “The Proposal”, works because it has romance written all over it and really tears at the heartstrings. In three separate vignettes set in Paris, we meet three couples: one, in which a woman’s lover leaves her mysterious clues on her smartphone indicating where to meet him in at a museum – the final clue being a red Cartier box tucked into a statue’s arm with an engagement ring inside. In another, we meet a woman who is waiting for her date, finally gives up and enters a lift going up, only to see him as the doors close. He heads for the stairs, seemingly in vain, but then he meets her at the top where, as the doors of the lift open, he is standing there, holding a red Cartier box for her. And finally, we meet a married couple: he slips her passport of her handbag to prevent her from taking a flight. When he offers to help look for it in her handbag, he pulls a red Cartier box out of his pocket. “I love you so much, I could marry you again,” he says as they embrace. Since its release last year, the video has notched up 6.5 million YouTube hits.

 

Whole Foods Market

The organic grocer’s commercial does a satirical turn on “How to Be Romantic,” starting out by claiming it has the “highest quality and best selection of…. single people on the entire planet.” After you’ve found your dream lover shopping at Whole Foods, it then instructs you on what you should do, using items sold at Whole Foods. This may be my favourite of the lot because I wasn’t expecting it to make me laugh out loud, but it did.

 

 

Snuggle

Snuggle is just a fabric softener, but it didn’t let that get in the way of trying to cash in on Valentine’s Day last year. It released a series of videos (one of which is below), all featuring its cuddly bear mascot, who encourages viewers to “Share a Snug” with someone on Valentine’s Day. It works because it’s cute and is an effective play on words.

 

Though the jury’s still out on this year’s bumper crop of campaigns, if 2015 is any indication, the success of some 2016 marketing efforts will far exceed anything we’ve seen before. One has already garnered plaudits and the coveted “Ad of the Day” accolade from AdWeek: Teleflora’s “What Is Love?” campaign. In a short film, the flower delivery service attempts to answer the question by looking at the diversity of love of all types and at all life stages – from romantic love, to fledgling classroom love, to the love between a mother and her child and the love between friends. It shows us that love doesn’t discriminate by race or gender – just that it exists in all its glorious forms. This is another one that really tears at the heartstrings.

 

 

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