Is it OK to hijack Valentine's Day?

Cannings Purple 14 Feb 2018
3 mins

It’s Valentine’s Day (again), where singles, lonely-hearts and lovers turn their thoughts to … shopping. Emma Britton looks at the hijacking of yet another memorable day. 

Like it or not – Valentine’s Day is upon us and unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably received many subtle (and not so subtle) hints to buy that certain someone something that warms the cockles of their heart. Something that says “I love you” or “be my #bae”. Haven’t met that special someone yet? You may have noticed a flood of advertising for travel, luxury goods and comfort foods all advising you to #treatyoself.

Tailoring your brand’s conversation around certain occasions and targeting specific groups is one way to break through the noise on social media. The first step is to think about the significant events that matter to your stakeholders and ask yourself whether you are making the most of those opportunities to engage with your audience.

But be smart about how you do it; there are opportunities to align your messaging and social content with events and news, but there are also risks in associating your brand with a potentially insensitive or politically divisive topic.

Know your audience:

Research by Facebook IQ regarding Valentine’s Day related conversation on Facebook and Instagram in 2016 gave an insight into who was saying what about the commercial holiday. In the US, women led the Valentine’s Day conversation on all topics, including gifts and food and drink. Men certainly lagged behind, but topics they talked most about were anti-Valentine’s Day, proposals and relationship statuses.

The biggest takeaway from the report is to remember who your audience is and what they are talking about. Your strategy needs to be different depending on the audience’s demographic profile, so researching your audience is a must. What will resonate with one group of people might not resound with another group, so tailor your message accordingly.

Find the connection:

Timing is everything, predicting the type of advertising your audience would like to see before they even know they want to see it is a true art. Facebook has produced some interesting data in its Moments That Matter series regarding the behaviours of Facebook user in the lead up to a change in relationship status and immediately after. For instance, people who have just gone through a breakup are more inclined to book travel, focus on exercise and their health, take up a new hobby and socialise with friends. Marketers can use this information to “be a part of the journey and help mend people’s broken hearts” as described by Facebook IQ, by targeting their Facebook feed with inspiring travel destinations, wonder body e-books and, let’s not forget dating apps.

Valentine’s Day winners and losers

Brands that have utilised the holiday well have kept the right mix of romance and humour.  Deadpool used Valentine’s day exceptionally well to market the box office smash hit.

Another brand which jumped on the Valentine’s Day marketing bandwagon was NAB. It announced the break up with the other main banks through a tongue-in-cheek campaign around Valentine’s day with catchy slogans like “Dear Commbank, ANZ and Westpac, sorry it’s over. Sincerely NAB.”

However, the result wasn’t as effective as it had hoped. Sure it caught interest, but many critics said it was a risky move for NAB to appear like the jilted lover.  Other big banks came out in response to the NAB campaign to reaffirm their position, and as a result, NAB’s campaign wasn’t as effective as it might have hoped.

What does this mean for business?

Think about significant events that are important to your business, clients and customers. This could be AGMS, end of financial year, boxing day sales period, a client’s or customer’s birthday, an employee’s work anniversary, the lead up to the state election, the aftermath of the election, religious holidays, public holidays…… the list is endless.

Try keeping a calendar of events that are important for your business. Include conferences, exhibitions, events, holidays, elections, anniversaries, industry-specific dates and important milestones for your business. From here you can start to plot the time, dates, suggested content and which channels to use.
But avoid the perils of aligning your social message with events or news that may be seen as crass. Think about whether your brand’s input into the conversation would be seen as insightful and smart or inappropriate and tasteless.

Whether its Valentine’s Day, Anzac Day or your company’s 25th anniversary, your messaging needs to be on point and to the right audience.