Valentine's Day ads encourage shopping outside the candy aisle
Marketers want lovers to dream up unconventional gifts
Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday this year, and with a full day to play with, marketers hope shoppers will move beyond cards, chocolate and flowers, and discover innovative ways to spend money saying, "I love you."
That ad features the Dublin Gospel Choir performing pick-up lines. Cadbury Creme Egg's social media fans submitted lines like, "There's something in your eye. Oh wait, I think it's a sparkle," and "If you were a tweet, I'd favourite you." Then Cadbury got the choir to perform the lines live and on YouTube, generating huge attention and sales.
Equally innovative was this Valentine's promotion from U.K. cellphone company Orange. People were encouraged to tweet Orange their love stories, then the best ones were animated so they could be sent to loved ones in time for the holiday.
A little cheesier was this social media campaign from Mr. Peanut.
You could send your loved one this Valentine's video card showing Mr. Peanut holding his or her photo while reclining in front of a fireplace.
Why would marketers make such an effort for such a trivial holiday? U.S. consumers spent $17 billion on Valentine's Day last year. While candies accounted for 49 per cent of that spending, flowers were second at 37 per cent.
Here, a young man realizes he's forgotten his girlfriend on Valentine's and calls Uber to make it right. With ads like this one, marketers are hoping more consumers will move beyond the expected this Valentine's Day.
That's how Victoria's Secret gets men thinking about lingerie as a Valentine's Day gift.
While in this commercial, we see a man thinking enough ahead to plant bulbs so when they come up on Valentine's Day, they'll spell "marry me" in blooms.
All to motivate women to use Nectra Color to dye their hair.
Turns out the young man is waiting for his husband who's returning from military service. They embrace and we see the words "Happy Valentine's Day" along with the logo for Gun Oil personal lubricant.
This year, look for Valentine's marketers to promote an ever wider choice of products to an ever more diverse range of target audiences. Because no matter who we are, no matter who we love, we all have perfectly good money to spend.
Bruce Chambers is a syndicated advertising columnist for CBC Radio.