It’s Valentine’s season, a time when brands hope that all the love in the air will rub off on their image, and most importantly, boost sales.
To achieve this, brands the world over are offering special valentine’s day sales, bonanzas, discounts, and giveaways to romantic consumers. Meanwhile, some other more adventurous brands shifted their campaign lens from the usual stereotypes of Valentine’s day promos to more thoughtful and emotionally charged campaigns in order to forge stronger bonds with their customers and make some impact in the larger society.
Here are a few that we found interesting:
INDOMIE (NIGERIA): THE UNLIKELY UNION
This Valentine’s season, Indomie, a popular brand of instant noodles in Nigeria, decided to subtly throw its weight behind love unions which the society deems strange or questionable.
The brand, which has been encouraging consumers to explore other methods of preparing Indomie noodles with its #MyIndomieMyStyle campaign since last year, first announced on its Instagram page a very unlikely marriage union between a groundnut and an onion.
The union generated instant reactions on Instagram, with Indomie fans declaring their surprise at the weird combination, and many arguments for and against. The discussion was fueled by Instagram celebrity influencer, Lasisi Elenu. On valentine’s day, Indomie released a wedding video, in which the two ingredients were successfully joined in “delicious matrimony.”
With this, Indomie officially announced its #MyIndomieMyLove campaign for the valentine’s season. As part of the campaign, Indomie lovers were encouraged to prepare their favorite Indomie recipe with two unlikely ingredients they love, and stand a chance to win cash prizes amounting to over 1 million naira, with winners emerging daily for two weeks.
According to Indomie, the underlying idea behind the campaign was to “let love rule on your plate between the ingredients you love, irrespective of what society thinks of the combination.” Looking at the bigger picture, the brand is also sending a message to lovers this valentine’s season, encouraging them to take a stand against stereotypes, ditch society’s idea of what a perfect or acceptable union should look like, and just do their thing.
GTBANK (Nigeria): THE THIRD WHEEL
While most of the focus on Valentine’s day is on people who are currently in relationships, GTBank decided to shift its focus to the less celebrated people: the third wheels.
With its #GTBankThirdWheel campaign, it argued that despite the agonizing awkwardness of the situation, being the third wheel on a date could actually be a good thing. The bank encouraged people to share photos or videos accompanied with a story from an incident in which they found themselves to be third wheels. The funniest and most relatable third wheel story would win a cash prize of 50, 000 naira, using the #GTBankThirdWheel hashtag.
KFC ASIA: FOR THE LONELY ONES
Loneliness is a common feeling among single folks on Valentine’s Day. But, according to KFC Asia, the feeling called love is just a chemical reaction caused by increased levels of dopamine in the brain: a feeling which can also be replicated by eating KFC chicken. So, the brand came up with Lonely Valentine Specials: individual chicken meals specially designed to optimize happiness levels in single folks, at least until they finally find love.
GOOGLE (Indonesia): MOVE ON!
One of the most frequently searched phrases on Google in Indonesia is “cara move on” (how to move on). Furnished with this information, Google came up with a Valentine’s Day campaign for people who need to do just that.
The campaign, called ‘Yuk Move On’ (‘Let’s Move On’), executed by creative agency Superson, was targeted at singles, with special focus on those who had recently suffered heartbreak from failed relationships.
The campaign released a short film starring Vanesha Prescilla, a star actress known for her lead roles in Indonesian heart-break dramas. The film shows the different ways which Google services can help users move on with their lives after a relationship hits the rocks. For example, Google Photos’ facial recognition could help the victims identify all photos of their ex-partners so they can quickly delete them, and never come across them again. Google Files could help them rid their devices of all the cute love songs and memes that are now a source of pain, and Google Assistant would always be by their side even after they have been deserted by their ex.
As part of the campaign, Google also held a story submission contest which encouraged singles to share their stories of failed relationships on social media. The winners of the contest were invited for a group therapy session led by a mindfulness coach, where they were further equipped to move on.
ABSOLUT (USA): ALCOHOL AND CONSENT
With all the romantic vibes floating around this season, it’s easy for people to indulge their impulses, and throw restraint to the four winds. Considering this, the Swedish vodka brand Absolut decided to remind consumers of the importance of sexual consent (even after having a drink or two) with its Valentine’s campaign titled ‘Drink Responsibly, #SexResponsibly”.
The campaign uses hard-hitting taglines to highlight actions that must not be confused for consent, like sliding into DMs, buying someone a drink, sharing a ride to the next destination, or making out in a cab, with the overarching message that “Only a Yes to Sex is a Yes”. It aims to prevent consumers from using alcohol as an excuse to violate consent, while reminding them that any sex without consent is sexual assault. It includes out of home, print, digital and social media advertising.
“Perpetrators out there are abusing alcohol and using it as a weapon, and it needs to stop,” says Ann Mukherjee, CEO of Pernod Ricard (the company behind the Absolut brand) in an interview with Glamour magazine. “That’s the dialogue we want to create. Everyone’s been talking about ‘drinking responsibly’ forever. But now let’s put our money where our mouth is.”
The brand partnered with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the biggest anti-sexual violence group in the country, to amplify its message. And to make the campaign more engaging, Absolut announced that on Valentine’s Day, for every share or retweet of the campaign on social media, the brand would donate $1 to RAINN, in addition to its initial investment to kickstart the campaign.
TWITTER (London): THE DARK SIDE OF DATING
Meanwhile, in London, Twitter is also digging beneath all the pink-coated romantic cheer, to humorously bring the dark side of dating life to light. Using the Dating Twitter conversation thread, the social media platform offered Twitter users an opportunity to poke fun at the pitfalls, pains, and perils they have encountered in their search for the perfect partner.
The result was a slew of dating stories, ranging from mildly embarrassing to absolutely disastrous, accompanied by some unlikely advice.
One tweet read: 'My worst date will always be the one where I paid for the cinema ticket and snacks and my date reached out for the change from the cashier and put in his pocket'
Some of the best, most relatable tweets were then reproduced on billboards and posters in an outdoor campaign created by Flying Object. The campaign was run in selected London Underground stations, including Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus and Tottenham Court Roads. There was also some flyposting across strategic roads.
To further bring the campaign to life, Twitter opened a temporary pop-up store in London’s Covent Garden called the Dating Twitter Advice Bureau, which was open from the13th to the 16th of February. Installations at the Bureau, inspired by real-life tweets, include the Wheel of Misfortune, which visitors could spin to find out the nature of their next date; the Ghosting Graveyard, where flowers were laid in remembrance of prematurely terminated conversations; and the Gallery of Awkward Silences. It even featured a neon-lit adult section, where visitors could peep in on some x-rated tweets.
In the words of David Wilding, Director of Planning at Twitter UK: “The most hilarious, honest and real accounts of dating aren't those found in magazines, romcoms or on the apps, but within the Dating Twitter conversation. People come to Twitter to talk about what they really think about love and dating - the good, bad, awkward. We want to honour the true reality around the modern world of dating on Valentine’s Day, by bringing the most raw and relatable Tweets to life at the Advice Bureau, even if it’s not very helpful”.
PEPSI (US) VAYNER MEDIA: THE PEPSI RING
Pepsi celebrated Valentine’s day by launching a contest for its very own engagement ring: a 1.53 carat lab-grown alternative diamond infused with real Crystal Pepsi and crafted onto a platinum band. The tagline of the campaign declares it “A Ring with Taste”.
The soda brand called on its fans to compete for an opportunity to win the ring by tweeting the craziest, most creative proposal ideas they could come up with – using the @Pepsi, #PepsiProposal, and #Contest hashtags. The contest will end on 6th March, and the final winner would be announced on the 16th of March, in time for National Proposal Day (March 20th).
Crystal Pepsi was first released in the early 1990s, but it was taken off the market after unsuccessful sales. Since then, the brand has been appearing and disappearing from the market, most recently in 2017.