Just in time for Valentine’s Day, greeting card company Hallmark has created the “Put Your Heart to Paper” microsite, which uses social sharing to drive engagement.
The microsite features short videos of many different types of couples sharing their “how we met” stories and then describing their relationships without using the word “love.” The goal of the campaign is to get customers to go beyond “I Love You” and personalize their Hallmark cards. The site also provides advice for writing the perfect Valentine’s message from top bloggers and Hallmark writers.
According to Jeanette Carter, vice president of integrated marketing at Hallmark Cards, the real goal of the sharable videos was to create engagement across social, rather than just push card sales. “We want to win the heart of our consumer, and digital gives us so many ways to do that,” says Carter. “Even if they don’t buy a card, we’ve still fulfilled the main mission of our brand.”
Winning the hearts of customers through digital marketing is no easy task, but Hallmark’s videos have more than 1.3 million total views on YouTube. Carter attributes this success to providing digital video content that helps customers express emotion without an overpowering sales objective. “It’s an outward-in versus an inward-out approach,” says Carter. “Our brand vision is all about helping people connect – and if we’re only pushing product content out, we’re not helping them connect and we can’t fulfill our vision.”
Leo Burnett, the agency behind the creative, says the key to helping these videos catch on has been tailoring teasers to paid social platforms to pique the interest of consumers and drive them to engage with all the “Put Your Heart to Paper” video content. “The more engaging the stories, the more social the campaign will be,” says Mark Wegwerth, senior vice president and creative director at Leo Burnett. “Shorter-form, teaser-like versions of the videos were created specifically for Instagram and Facebook to tell the stories the way we all use those platforms.”
Another key to driving social engagement was including couples of many ages, ethnicities, and sexual orientations, says Chris Cole, senior vice president and creative director at Leo Burnett. “There was a great deal of planning on the kind of couples we cast and the range of relationships out there,” says Cole. “We had over 15 hours of footage. We have a teen couple only dating a few years, a couple together over 50, and everything in between. Couples who have been together a long time, others who have only been together six months. Some who struggle in their relationships. Others who don’t seem to.”
But according to Cole, the most important aspect behind a successful Valentine’s spot is creating content that stays closely relevant to brand message. “Hallmark’s business is all about expressing emotion, so whatever we did, we knew our content had to give viewers an emotional reaction,” says Cole. “Great content, whether it’s heartfelt, funny or surprising is inherently social.”