How brands can find love on Valentine’s Day

In this guest posting, Matt Kemsley wonders how brands can find consumer love on Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you all.

Now IBIS World reckons that Australians will spend $1bn on Valentine’s Day. Half this morning saying ‘I love you’ and half tomorrow morning saying ‘I’m sorry I forgot.’ Now if you sell flowers, greeting cards, chocolates, lingerie or condoms then today is your Everest. Restaurants will also have a big day.

My advice if you’ve left it too late to get a table… Bistro Moncur in Woollahra, because you can’t book there. Now most advertising for the aforementioned categories are normally retail ads, designed to drive business. But there are exceptions.

The Herald Classifieds NZ press ad would stand out when surrounded by a tsunami of roses and chocolate.

In the old days flowers did the job. The mere fact that you had remembered was enough of a romantic gesture, but now the flowers have to be the right sort of flowers. Pro flowers USA shows what the wrong flowers say about you. Whereas their flowers ensure the relationship blooms.

Now that was a shocking pun, and topical advertising opportunities often throw up shocking puns. None more so, than last years Ann Summers Viral. Classic Ann Summers. I certainly would.

Now often the most interesting communications (ads for the old school) come from brands that maybe you weren’t expecting to see play in this love nest.

A few years ago Valentine’s Day fell on a Saturday. Now February is midway through the English premiership football season and most games are played on Saturday afternoon. Football or Romance (the same thing surely). But Puma’s answer was to create an online Valentine’s Day card with a difference. Designed to get her indoors to let you get outdoors and watch the game.

Thrifty Car Rentals using Valentine’s Day ingenuity as another example of ‘Thrifty Thinking’.

Today many brands will play online. Scandinavian design brand ISAK in Europe incurred the wrath of The Daily Mail (blue rinse brigade) for encouraging people to send in half naked photographs of themselves to the brand’s Facebook page. I doubt that ISAK really care about this reaction. The Daily Mail newspaper doesn’t really believe in Valentine’s Day because it requires compassion, tenderness and understanding.

But there are more brands that could be taking advantage of the love bug. Just as there are there some that just shouldn’t dress up in a thong and clasp a rose between their teeth before leaping into the hot tub.

The learning for me is that whatever the occasion, whether it’s a bit of fun or something more serious, the brand that challenges the traditional, clichéd approach in this case to Valentine’s Day is more likely to seduce the consumer and get their leg over.

Matt Kemsley is the founder and creative director of JMK



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