The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: A Look Back at Valentines Day Marketing

Written by Run2.
· 4 minute read

There are two kinds of people in this world. The ones that enjoy Valentine’s Day and the ones that don’t.

February 14th. We all know the date. If you’re loved up then its Valentines Day and if you’re single, bitter and twisted, like me, then it’s a made up day by Hallmark to make money.

This time of year, however, does bring out the most creative in many of us. Whether you are trying to better your mate with a great gift idea for the missus or coming up with great marketing campaigns for the big day everyone is being creative.

And even if you are the scrooge of Valentines you have to appreciate some of the creativity in the field of advertising.

Below are some great and some not so great examples:

The Good: Orange – Love Stories Animation

In 2011, mobile network operator Orange launched a special Valentines Day multi-platform, interactive animation project. The idea was that followers of Oranges Twitter page would tweet a mini story of how they and their other half got together using the #feedlovestories hashtag and Orange would then animate that story and share it on their youtube channel.

In theory, this is by far the best ad campaign I came across. I say in theory because the idea itself was brilliant but such was the demand for it not all of the people who sent in their requests had their stories made.

Not all were requests were made. Naturally, thousands upon thousands were sent in and it can only serve as proof of how popular the campaign was.

Although not all video requests were made this is a brilliant example of social media synergy. The level of engagement on twitter using the #feedlovestories was remarkable and also the high level of traffic migrated to the youtube channel was also impressive.

The Bad: IKEA’s ‘Free Cot’ Coupon

This print ad may well be listed as bad but it is definitely one for the ‘so bad it’s good’ column. To be looked at with a bit of tongue in cheek, it certainly divided opinion of both consumers and other marketers.

Offering customers a free cot to any babies born on November 14th, exactly 9 months after Valentines Day, with the coupon. It’s clever, witty and attention grabbing.

What is universally accepted is that unique, clever and sometimes controversial ideas stand out from the crowd and are often the most remembered. This certainly did stand out from the usual lovey-dovey fluff that is synonymous with Valentines Day advertising.

I quite like this as it is some pretty creative marketing and it would be interesting to see how many people actually redeemed this offer on November 14th.

The Ugly: Hooters ‘No Ring? Give her Wings’ Campaign

In what seems to be universally accepted across the web as the one of the most truly awful Valentines Day ads out there, the Hooters No Ring? Give her wings campaign failed to excite consumers.

I’ve come up with the theory that as a brand they know that they are not the most romantic of restaurant chains so in the build up to Valentines Day they play on their reputation and just go with it.

Not a place likely to be packed with the rafters on Valentines Day, they took a gamble. While it wasn’t particularly well received, the old saying goes “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”.