Opinion: Valentine's Day for marketers
By Ally Lee-Boone, Content & Engagement Executive
With over 22 million adults in the UK exchanging Valentine’s Day cards, according to recent research by Royal Mail, Valentine's Day is a great example of marketers driving consumer behaviour. Indeed, it was marketers who brought Valentine's Day from the cultural margins to mainstream consumers.
Marketers are now working to keep the day relevant by adapting to suit changing consumer habits and attitudes. Valentine’s Day has transformed from a day for couples to a date that everyone can celebrate. With the rise of Galentine’s Day, pioneered by hit US TV show Parks and Recreation, which has now transcended the television screen and become embedded in everyday culture, nonofficial holidays such as this are usurping traditional notions of Valentine’s Day.
However, organisations that do choose to launch marketing campaigns in conjunction with the romantic season, are increasingly looking outside the box to attract consumer attention. For example, on Valentine’s Day this year, Netflix series Black Mirror launched coach.dating, a website based on season four episode, ‘Hang the DJ’, set in an alternate reality where relationships are given an expiration date. On the website, visitors can send a URL to their partner, which reveals how long their relationship will last for. This dystopian view of relationships might be a far cry from chocolates and flowers, but it captured over 15,000 interactions on Twitter.
In a similar vein, UberEats were offering single people free kebabs on Valentine’s Day – perhaps less of a marketing ploy, but still feeding into the notion that Valentine’s Day promotions that focus on consumers who are not in a relationship are growing in effectiveness. This can also be seen in the inception of Singles Awareness Day, celebrated by many on 15 February.
Marketing campaigns with a clear focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR) have also succeeded this year in breaking through the noise, particularly with consumers who are increasingly savvy to outdated, sexist or insulting content. Moonpig.com led the way in launching its range of Valentine’s Day cards in support of the NHS Organ Donor Register, with the aim of starting 6,400 conversations – one for every person in the UK on the waiting list for an organ transplant. With socially-conscious initiatives such as these, organisations can successfully break through Valentine’s Day stereotypes and create positive and powerful narratives that resonate with consumers.
Perhaps it is these new angles of marketing Valentine’s Day that keeps it a successful and enduring date in consumers’ diaries. Nevertheless, from light-hearted Galentine’s Day to Black Mirror’s dystopian view of relationship longevity, brands are continuing to reach new audiences and redefining what it means to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
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