Unconventional love – brands capitalising on Valentines Day by doing it differently


Valentines day, a day of worldwide polarisation, singles vs couples. A day when my Facebook newsfeed is hijacked by proud photos from those who have cleaned up in the V-Day stakes, and bitter statuses from those who haven’t. Come on guys, you aren’t fooling anyone with your ‘so glad I’m not in a relationship today’ and ‘I hate roses anyway’ posts. But regardless of whether this day brings you blissful reminders of your loved-up happiness or seems to be spitefully rubbing your face in the fact that you’re going solo, you have to admit it can definitely be a little cringe-worthy at times. So, in a refreshing move to bring Valentines Day back from the brink of being nothing more than a tacky cliché, some brands are breaking the mould and trying to capitalize on this commercial extravaganza in new and unconventional ways.

This new territory is proving to be somewhat difficult to charter, with some brands not quite finding the right angle. Anyone who has seen recent Tampax ads will know what I’m talking about (if not review below).


It would seem that there are some brands that should never be associated with Valentines Day. One of the angles that does seem to be working, however, is targeting the Valentines Day haters, a largely untapped and growing market. American Greetings has an entire range of anti-Valentines Day cards, with lovely sentiments such as:


Some restaurants are also making the bold move of joining this crusade, advertising February 14th as a singles celebration. One Manhattan bar cleverly revamped its drinks menu with specials on particular drinks such as the ‘single’ malt whiskey. Some of the attempts at doing an anti-Valentines Day events have admittedly been a tad tasteless, with one restaurant offering a fabulous door prize of a 3-month membership to match.com, and another having a special cocktail on the night named the Bitter Betty Martini. Ouch.

The Melbourne Central complex also had a 2-day ‘singles event’ for the first time this year on the 13th and 14th of February, with discounts offered in most major stores as well as giveaways and activities throughout the mall. As an unsuspecting shopper, I was shocked at the sheer volume of the foot traffic at a time where retail can be quite slow. It all goes to show that, when done right, joining the anti-Valentines Day movement can mean big business.

Another tactic that brands are utilising to get their slice of the Valentines Day pie is advertising ‘unsexy’ and seemingly irrelevant brands with a romantic twist, often making for something with a more comedic edge. This Thrifty ad is an example of how something as unsexy as a car rental brand can be involved in the festivities too.


Another brand that took a more literal approach and focused on the mascot of Valentines Day, the heart, was MegaRed krill oil. Their Valentines Day campaign aimed at promoting heart health and had an extensive social media campaign in the lead up to the big day.

The more creative Valentines Day campaigns that we are seeing are making light of a day that some people would rather ignore, and I believe it is a smart move to extend the reach of a campaign by not excluding large segments of the population with mushy Hallmark-style ads. Brands are seeking to remind single people that this can be a day for them too, and I welcome the attempt to expel the bitterness from the air!

Tessa Cowley
Brand Account Executive

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