Campaigns we love for Valentine’s Day

Author: Catherine Marsden
Bouquet of red roses laying on a wooden plank with red heart-shapes

Campaigns we love for Valentine’s Day

Sourcing the perfect gift.


According to recent research, it seems likely that you can look forward to a nice gift this Valentine’s Day.

Data from the U.S.1 shows that spending on gifts is expected to increase this year, with Americans spending an average of $87.94 on their loved ones, up from $78.09 last year.

It’s also interesting to know that the appreciation won’t stop there.

More surprises

This predicted increase in spending on gifts is definitely encouraging for the high street, and will hopefully prove a positive sign for consumer sentiment in 2015. However, on the back of a long period of caution, we fully expect to see many shoppers continue to look for ways to cut costs where they can for seasonal events such as Valentine’s Day, as they do in their daily life.

In terms of Valentine’s Day gifts, people often stick to tried and tested products of chocolates, flowers, jewelry, and underwear. So the trick for retailers and brands to stand out from the competition is to offer something slightly different and unique, both in terms of product choices and in-store experiences. At HH Global, we’re firm believers that marketing should be aligned with the needs and personal situations of your customers to really mean something to them, and should be designed not just to create an immediate sales uplift but also to help raise long term awareness and relationships.

So who is doing it well?

Link offers, such as meal deals, have been successful for many years. These offers displayed in M&S, Sainsbury’s, and Asda can entice the customer to spend more with the retailer. For the customer, it offers a convenient gift solution all in one place – everyone’s happy!

Social media can be used to create fun campaigns, re-engage with followers, and increase their social noise. The example from Evian in 2014 “# I love you like” asked followers to complete the sentence with their ideas in order to win Valentine’s Day treats. It gives the premium brand a more fun feel, but still maintains brand identity.

Experiential marketing campaigns are a great way to involve people more directly in campaigns, and as people love to share experiences it can generate advocacy of  one person telling 20 others of their experience (Mintel 2014). McDonald’s developed a topical campaign in the run up to Valentine’s Day this year in which the U.S. customers will be able to pay for their fast food in a very unique way – through “Lovin”. To get prizes such as free meals in the “Pay with Lovin” competition, participants have to perform random “acts of love”, which can range from giving family members a call to tell them they love them, giving hugs, or even performing a dance routine. Supported with TV advertising during the Super Bowl, it will no doubt bring McDonald’s huge numbers of extra customers, all hoping they'll hit the jackpot with a free meal.

Bringing a modern spin to Valentine’s Day and ensuring activity is completely relevant to their products was this experiential activity by Wilkinson Sword last year. The “Beards for Bouquets’” campaign featured a pop-up of a makeshift barbershop and florist in London’s Kings Cross station, which offered men the chance to shave their facial hair in exchange for a bouquet of flowers to take home to their special someone. The amount of facial hair removed acted as currency for the amount of flowers participants could receive. A few days stubble would get a smaller bunch than a large full beard. This is a fun promotion, giving a nice gift, but at the same time cleverly allowing an experience of the benefits of Wilkinson Sword product to hopefully increase future purchases.

Augmented reality (AR) is excellent for bringing products and experiences to life. An example from M&S is a few years old, but we think is a great example to feature. The augmented reality-enabled ad was placed on a giant billboard at a London commuter station, designed to lure men stuck for gift ideas to its mobile site.

The placement was perfect for busy men on the move and last minute gifters, as stats show that 37 percent of men don’t actually buy their gift until Valentine’s Day itself (compared to 28 percent of women). To activate the AR experience, customers are invited to hold an enabled phone or tablet device over the image, then could then see the model in the ad providing gifting inspiration from the M&S’ flower and lingerie ranges, before signposting customers to purchase online from their phones.

We’ve seen many campaigns devised to fit in with customer lifestyles and this technology, along with location in a commuter hotspot, certainly provides that convenience. This interactive experience also helps the brand standout and could attract new customers to the brand.

So, remember when planning your future seasonal campaigns that it’s like buying gifts; putting in extra thought can create a much better experience and reaction from your audience.

If you want to know more about how HH Global can help you deliver the most effective and engaging campaigns, for increased standout, footfall, engagement, and sales, please get in touch here.

1 U.S. National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey