Love is in the Air: Brands and Valentine's Day 2019

Category: News
12 Feb 2019
Read time: 3 MIN
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner -- a day of romantic clichés and cringe-worthy marketing ploys.
Written By
MOF Team
MOF Team

Nevertheless, the commercially manufactured holiday will likely capture a growing consumer spend, especially as people celebrate Valentine’s in increasingly unorthodox ways.

Valentine's Day gifts sales across the UK hit a record high of £650 million in 2018, that’s up by £30 million the previous year. Following January frugality, Valentine's Day proves a perfect push for retailers to drive sales and encourage generosity. So how can retailers capitalise on this potential revenue boost?

In this article, we spotlight the most innovative of Valentine's Day campaigns, some with unique value propositions, others unlikely brand partnerships, and ask exactly how they were able to successfully drive brand awareness.

Happy Anti-Valentine’s Day!

Anti-Valentine’s Day is on the up - a movement against the lovesick followers of commercialised Valentine’s and a reclamation of the power of self-love.

Candy Crush Saga, the popular mobile game franchise, is on a mission to make this Valentine’s Day “sweeter than ever for solo diners -- and anyone else who deserves to treat themselves to a little ‘Me Time’”.

In partnership with popular NYC restaurant, Dirt Candy, ‘SWEET’N SOLO' will open for one night only ft. a multi-course Candy Crush inspired dinner, an edible candy wall and a candy tree with pickable treats. Experiential dining at its sweetest.

In a similar vein, Everyman cinema has embraced Galentines Day. Heralding the importance of ‘galpals’ this Valentine’s the cinema will screen the iconic Mean Girls and Legally Blonde. The cinema has perfectly aligned a traditional Valentines date with non-traditional values to create a one-off experience with exceptional delivery -- viewers are encouraged to get together, drink complimentary cocktails and forget completely that it’s even Valentines Day.

Meanwhile, a zoo in Texas has taken anti-valentines to extremes with an unusual way to get back at your ex. In an event called ‘Quit Bugging Me”, the zoo will name a cockroach after your ex and then feed it to hungry meerkats live on camera. Slightly too much?

Sydney Zoo has gone one step further. Their website reads;

“Is your ex a snake? If so, now is your opportunity to cement their ‘snaky status’ this Valentine’s Day… “

Visitors can enter a competition to name one of the world’s most venomous reptiles after their ex for $1 -- the perfect balance of twisted irony and dark humour to push a Valentine’s Day campaign viral.


Digitally Activating Valentines Day

All successful Valentine’s campaigns must trigger conversation, often best achieved through innovative digital campaigns and the launch of a strong hashtag.

Last year, Bumble drew on live activation to encourage social media users to write their own definition of love with the hashtag #LoveEquals.

To boost exposure, the dating app also ran a Shazam Brand Takeover turning Shazam yellow on Valentine’s Day. If Shazam couldn’t identify a song, users were redirected to a screen that said "Shazam couldn't find a match, but we can” and were connected in new ways via the music site.

Similarly, introduced a ‘Meet At Starbucks’ feature encouraging people to “reach out and make that first coffee date” at the high street chain. It was the first branded product feature within the site allowing members to directly invite other members on a date at a local chain using a store-locator tool. Using daily social media updates to build anticipation, the two chains set the record for the ‘World’s Largest Starbucks Date’.

These two campaigns capitalised on user-generated content to create a buzz that people could directly interact with. The campaigns were optimised for mobile and tablet with seamless user interface and therefore elicited strong customer engagement.

One flower company, 1-800-Flowers, is even leaning towards artificial intelligence to aid what is usually the busiest day of the year. The brand will personalise the customer journey with the power of an AI-powered virtual gift concierge, GWYN (Gifts When You Need). Powered by IBM Watson, GWYN asked customers questions to guide them toward the perfect gift.


Whether you love or loathe Valentine’s Day traditions, the holiday offers potential revenue in a multitude of forms exemplified by Morrisons most recent campaign. The food chain hit the mark with the launch of a ‘Rainbow Rose’ in partnership LGBTQ+ youth homeless charity The Albert Kennedy Trust. Not only is this campaign beautifully innovative but most importantly garners essential support for an incredible charity.

Building a Valentine’s Day buzz is all about knowing your audience. Retailers can push their campaign to the next level by partnering up with an unexpected brand to create a conversation buzz lasting well past the 14th of February...


MOF Team

Published by MOF Team

We are a London-based Brand & Experience Design Agency delivering second-to-none experiences for forward-thinking luxury brands with something to say.