Marketers and consumers love love, especially in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. But love is a tricky thing to sell. If you go over the top in your campaign, you might be seen as disingenuous. Be blasé, and your shoppers might jump ship to a more exciting offer by your competition. To find the happy medium and win over the hearts of Valentine’s shoppers in an already saturated digital landscape, you need to strike a balance that is creative, memorable, and distinct.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the revenue-generating capacity of this love-themed holiday and then review eight brands that created particularly effective and engaging campaigns this year.
Valentine’s Day by the Numbers
Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest days for brands and retailers early in the year. It has long since ceased to be a day only meant for lovers — friends, family members, and even coworkers can show their appreciation and admiration for one another through gifts and experiences on this special day. In fact, 45% of Valentine’s Day purchases in 2021 were bought for non-romantic friends, family members, and others.
This year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that more than half (53%) of U.S. consumers intended to celebrate the holiday and each shopper is expected to spend an average of $175.41 on gifts, up from $164.76 in 2021. Total spending on Valentine’s Day is predicted to hit $23.9 billion this year, a 9.63% year-over-year increase. The question now is: Where will these purchases be made?
Even with restrictions easing up and people getting used to life during the pandemic, online stores continue to be the most popular destination for Valentine’s Day shoppers – visited by 41% of consumers, compared to the 32% who went to department stores and 28% who shopped at discount stores.
8 Brands and Their Unique and Charming 2022 Valentine’s Day Campaigns
The key to a successful month of love campaign is to celebrate and include all kinds of love. Now, let’s take a look at eight brands that nailed it with creative strategies across multiple touchpoints.
- MeUndies: Matching fun with authentic engagement
The subscription underwear company started its Valentine’s Day campaign early in January with new love-month-themed products, discounts, and giveaways. One of the brand’s biggest V-Day draws is its MatchMe service which makes it “easy to match your bottom half to your better half”, enabling couples and loved ones to wear matching underwear and pajamas. The brand has also been focused on publishing relatable user-generated content that encourages organic engagement. For example, MeUndies has a series of ‘relationship truths’ on social media and the V-day collection features ‘real-life’ couples with their own back stories.
- Pandora: Celebrating every type of love
Pandora’s approach to Valentine’s Day this year is to address the needs of each different type of shopper – whether they’re buying in-store or online. To do this, the brand creates unique experiences targeted to different personas such as husbands, significant others, new flames, a group of friends, gal pals, and more. Digital buying guides also feature in-store associates with hot picks and tips, and interactive features on social provide a platform to receive immediate feedback from other shoppers.
- Panera Bread: Exclusive baguette ring sweepstakes
Panera Bread is known for its tasty bread bowls, but this Valentine’s Day it’s not their typical baguette that’s drawing attention — it’s a baguette you can admire on your hand. From February 14-18, the restaurant chain is giving customers the chance to win a baguette-cut diamond ring served up in a special bread bowl box. To qualify, all you have to do is post a photo on Twitter or Instagram of you and a friend or significant other enjoying your favorite Panera product with two specified hashtags. Of course, the prize is not just in the jewelry pun – the lucky winner will also receive a one-year subscription to Panera’s Unlimited Sip Club, which gives members unlimited access to various hot and cold drinks.
- Gucci: Limited zine provides unique product discovery experience
For Valentine’s Day, Gucci enlisted the talents of visual artist Ariana Papademetropoulos and created a limited-edition zine to encourage product discovery through a love story. Ariana plays a tiny fairy who seeks love in her size after feeling she is incompatible with a giant. In her journey, she meets creatures with Gucci’s love-themed clothing and accessories designed by Alessandro Michele, the fashion house’s creative director. The story, which is available both digitally and offline, ultimately reminds luxury shoppers of an important lesson in love.
- Macy’s: Unlocking new audiences in the podcast space
For Valentine’s Day, Macy’s partnered with two popular podcasts – Giggly Squad, a podcast on pop culture, and Naked Beauty, a podcast on beauty trends – to spread the spirit of love. In doing so, the famous department store retailer was able to access the podcasts’ mostly women-under-40 audience and encourage them to shop for the holiday through branded content segments, such as hosts sharing what Valentine’s Day meant to them, what their best and worst memories of the holiday included, and to bring it home, the show hosts also discussed their V-day outfits (bought from Macy’s, of course) and posted photos on Instagram.
- Cadbury Chocolate: Humor-based island escape campaign for singles
Cadbury Chocolate is targeting singles this Valentine’s Day with a campaign that’s meant to make you laugh. In a well-done video, the brand paints the picture of a dreaded event: being asked what your plans are for the holiday when you have no plans at all. Instead of being embarrassed, Cadbury’s 5 Star chocolate bar gives customers an alibi. You can simply say, “I’m not in town…I’m going to my cousin’s wedding,” and it’s not exactly a lie. The chocolate company took over an island off the coast of India and renamed it “My Cousin’s Wedding,” advertising that it is “free of anything red or related to love.” Customers can win a chance to go to the Valentine-free island by scanning a QR code from their Cadbury 5 Star chocolate bar. Those who don’t win can still get a glimpse of the experience through virtual reality and film shorts.
- Williams Sonoma: Inspirational product collections & DIY crafts
Williams Sonoma secured its share of the Valentine’s Day market by being the go-to brand for the intimate parties or get-togethers that happen throughout February. This year, the kitchenware and home furnishings company partnered with actress Marlo Thomas for entertaining essentials and tips on how to set a beautiful table. To add more to the experience, Williams Sonoma created a series of virtual zoom backgrounds for customers to use during virtual Valentine’s Day celebrations. To acknowledge its DIY audience, the brand also crafted downloadable V-Day gift cards that users can easily personalize and share.
- Teleflora: Uplifting flower truck experience for women
A world where love is freely given and expressed out loud is a world where Teleflora wants to be. For Valentine’s Day, Teleflora has partnered with award-winning host and comedian Loni Love to encourage women to “Love Out Loud.” In the floral delivery service’s ad campaign, Loni Love takes the Love Out Loud truck to the streets of Los Angeles and gives women flower bouquets and compliments. This results in the women paying it forward to other women, lifting their spirits both in words and in flowers—just a few weeks ahead of International Women’s Day.
Unique Celebrations of Love Are the Driving Spirit Behind Successful V-Day Campaigns
Valentine’s Day is all about love – whether that’s between romantic partners, friends, or family – and the brands that embraced this inclusive approach were the ones who came out on top in 2022.
Today’s customers seek shopping journeys that are not only innovative and engaging, but also relevant and meaningful. That means catching their attention with campaigns rooted in positivity, humor, and unique product discovery experiences that all work together to strengthen your connection with your customers.