Valentine’s Day: “It’s Complicated,” but it Shouldn’t Be

February 10, 2016

It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest opportunities to connect with your customers through fun and creative marketing campaigns. Whether you take an anti-valentine stance to appeal to those who hate the holiday in all its commercial glory, embrace its mushy and heart filled potential, or write a blog post about its marketing like us, ignoring the day is not an option.

Nonetheless, so many brands get stuck on the traditional cliche that they pass up opportunities to obtain high engagement, strengthen relationships, and satisfy their consumers with content that actually speaks to their sensitivities. The key here is to deliver an inclusive concept that doesn’t leave out any part of your audience. When it comes to Valentine’s Day our customers all have different takes and feelings on the matter.

Valentine themed advertising has left out a lot of modern conceptions of romance, or lack thereof. Of course, if your business is very “Valentine” in nature, for example: a jewelry store specializing in engagement rings, feel free to disregard this message. For the rest of us, where are the ads for those who have labeled their relationships “It’s complicated”? It always targets one of two groups: people in relationships (meaning they are active participants of the day’s traditions), or people who are single (meaning they hate anything related to it.)  Brands like Uber have maximized this to their advantage, relying on millennials affinity for humor and well known traits. Uber catered to the first group with their campaign, but in a way that captured its young audience demographic — and gave an ever so slight nod to the “complicated” ones.

Uber succeeded with one segment of their audience. The ones that have managed to include a wide scope of people of all ages and relationship statuses are few and far between. But, some have done this right, making sparks fly and shooting chocolate covered arrows right into the fuzzy-teddy bear hearts of the audience.

Why don’t we expand the meaning of Valentine’s? Like any other big timely marketing occasion Valentine’s Day is — or should be about taking a main idea, in this case: love; and relating it to something the audience can also relate to Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be corny with rose cheeked cherubs in every communication, but that doesn’t mean your campaign has to hate on all of it.

Oreo (who else?) mastered this elusive idea last year with their release of Red Velvet Oreos. They published a series of animated videos, all part of a campaign making fun of everyday situations “that could use a little more love.” In this case “a little more love” translated into a red velvet oreo, but their concept was right on target and it addressed their whole audience, giving all of them a way to participate in the holiday and relate to the brand.

Basically, even though Valentine’s Day is a marketing extravaganza, so few of us actually exploit its full potential. Even if it you’re not trying to sell anything, this holiday is the perfect moment to hear back from your audience, building on the relationship you share. So, this Valentine’s Day romance your customers with their real needs in mind and give them something that says you care. <3