For brand marketers, holidays are about utilizing digital media's most desirable technologies to boost interest in their products. Here are a few brands that won't stand you up on Valentine's Day.
In this sliver of time between the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, the value of tying a brand to a popular sporting or cultural event has never been more clear. Brands that manage to successfully associate themselves with something that the masses share, be it a holiday, a trend, or some other occasion, reap the benefits of being timely and relevant. If they can make their message interactive, too, they'll leverage all that the event has to offer, from word-of-mouth to social cachet.
Valentine's Day doesn't typically generate much interest from advertisers beyond the candy and jewelry categories, but a few brands are hitching their wagon to the holiday with great success. Here are your top three Valentine's Day campaigns.
There's nothing romantic about Omega-3 Krill Oil supplements, and yet MegaRed's love-themed campaign, featuring the tagline, "Whose heart do you love?" manages to infuse its product with emotion. In addition to featuring Valentine's Day, February is also National Heart Health Month, and at the heart of this campaign is social sampling.
Through its Facebook page and a custom-made application, MegaRed is inviting users who Like the page to request a free sample both for themselves and for a beloved Facebook friend. To generate interest, the brand's ad agency created a short animated video and posted it on YouTube. MegaRed also tapped female celebrities to share the campaign through Twitter - likely an easy feat, given the tie-in to women's heart health (if the campaign "reaches 100,000 hearts," the brand's parent company will make a $100,000 donation to the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease). Whether the brand will meet its goal remains to be seen, but interest in the campaign is strong so far.
A #Tweetheart of a Show
U.K. clothing and collectibles retailer Not on the High Street is hoping to drive additional product sales this year by bringing back its #TweetHeart Twitter campaign. By sending a tweet to the brand about someone special using the #TweetHeart hashtag or, alternatively, posting to the brand's Facebook page, participants could see their tweets turned into a customized show.
The campaign is decidedly local (in order to win, consumers must live in London), primarily due to logistics. The five winners will see the loved ones they mentioned in their posts receive an impromptu personal performance by musicians and artists, and Not on the High Street will record the shows wherever they happen to take place (at work, in a restaurant, at the park) to create "lasting, romantic mementos."
Although the brand decided to keep the campaign regional in spite of the fact that its site does ship internationally, Not on the High Street has found a way to engage those living outside the U.K. It will be posting the #TweetHeart-inspired videos on its e-commerce site starting on February 14.
Think your product doesn't lend itself to Valentine's Day advertising? Tell that to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which is bringing back its annual "Name a Roach" campaign. Promoted through its website and on the individual Facebook pages of the New York-based zoos it operates (the organization was formerly called the New York Zoological Society), the fundraiser invites consumers to name one of its thousands of Madagascar hissing cockroaches after a loved one in exchange for a $10 donation to the WCS.
Consumers are so accustomed to seeing traditional "hearts and flowers" Valentine's campaigns that a more unique initiative like this one is sure to make them sit up and take notice. It's also just the kind of thing they're apt to share. Because the WCS has ties to several zoos, many with Twitter pages of their own, it can extend its campaign reach to each zoo's individual audience of followers (@BronxZoosCobra alone has over 194,000 followers).
For brand marketers, holidays are about utilizing digital media's most desirable technologies - including video, communities, and social sharing - to boost interest in their products. If they can do it in a way that engages and entertains, it will be a very happy Valentine's Day indeed.
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Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.
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