Love Campaigns for Valentine’s

There are many stories and legends that provide a perfect backdrop for the month of love or Valentine’s Day, just as there are many marketing campaigns that build on this themed event.

Here are some cases on how companies from different industries offered different types of promotions to celebrate love as a unique service on Valentine’s Day (or for some, for a limited run even outside Valentines).  These cases have been designed for different target markets such as the lovers, the single people, the widows or widowers, and even the exes.  

  1. Lake Shore Funeral Home in Waco, Texas hosts an annual Widowed Men & Women’s Valentine Luncheon as a fellowship for those who have lost their partners so they have a chance to be with other people in the same situation. After all, as it is often said, when a chapter ends, another one may just be beginning.
  2. Clorox promoted the benefits of kissing such as losing 6.4 calories per minute of passionate kissing, about the possibility of men living five years longer when they kiss their wives in the morning, among other things.  They then ended with an offer to their consumers to visit their website to learn on how to remove lipstick stains and more. They were able to link their brand with the much celebrated occasion, maybe even losing additional calories trying to wash off those stubborn stains.
  3. Wal-Mart piloted their supermarket as a meeting site for single shoppers on Valentine’s day. Interested shoppers had to simply put a ribbon in the handle of the cart and those with ribbons can talk to each other and exchange numbers. They discovered two things with this campaign:  1) Sales value increased because singles wanted to improve their image to the opposite sex through the contents of their shopping cart, and 2) The campaign attracted singles from other geographical areas normally beyond the usual coverage radius of a retail store. Talking about hitting two birds with one ribbon! While this was a successful campaign of Wal-Mart in Germany, unfortunately, the company has already withdrawn from the German market, but that’s another story altogether!
  4. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines launched the “Meet and Seat” program that allowed passengers traveling to either Amsterdam, New York or Sao Paulo to view and sit beside fellow passengers who also opted in, based on the social profile match. Through this, they can arrange to have coffee before their flight, select adjoining seats or decide to share a taxi afterwards. Passengers can only see other Meet & Seat participants after linking either their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles prior to their flight. They also control what personal information they would like to share with other passengers. While there are strict precautions on handling data (like information purged within 48 hours), data privacy is something consumers, as well as governments take more seriously nowadays.
  5. Burger King in Israel promoted a limited edition Adults Meal, which consisted of a combo meal plus an adult toy that was made strictly available only after 6pm, and to those 18 years old and above on Valentine’s Day. Market segmentation at work! 
  6. El Paso Zoo in Texas launched an anti-Valentine campaign called “Quit Bugging me.” Visitors can name a cockroach after their ex and then feed them to the meerkats and other animals. They can finally have their revenge in a “peaceful” and indirect way. The campaign went viral! 

What about your industry? How have players maximized the big fuss during Valentine’s Day? What about your company? 
Analyzing the above cases, we find commonalities and patterns of how these marketing campaigns work.   

In the past, companies set their sights on attaining three key performance indicators (KPIs) in their marketing campaigns – – effectiveness, efficiency and equity building, collectively known as the 3Es.   Effectiveness refers to attaining or exceeding the results planned. Efficiency means spending within budget while attaining revenue target. Equity is all about enhancing brands, especially reinforcing their brand association.

Today, more progressive marketing companies have added three additional elements in these promotions, collectively known as the 3Os, i.e., these campaigns must be Original, Ownable and Open. Original means that it must be something never done before not just in the company but in the industry. Ownable refers to the ability of the company to be associated with the campaign, even if others will try to imitate them. Being Open signifies being honest about any product claim, and so it should not be a campaign made just for the sake of coming up with one for virality’s sake.

The same 3Es and 3Os can be used to plan or evaluate marketing campaigns as a template for what makes a successful campaign, or maybe even the criteria for choosing a Valentines’ date.


Josiah Go is Chairman and Chief Innovation Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc. 

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Josiah Go features the movers and shakers of the business world and writes about marketing, strategy, innovation, execution and entrepreneurship


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