The weird and wonderful world of Valentine’s marketing

Maybe love is more evidently in the air this year or recession hit brands are trying anything to boost sales, but this Valentine’s Day appears to have inspired brands like never before with a plethora of Cupid-fuelled innovations being foisted on a love-struck nation. Here, Marketing Week picks out some of the quirkiest. We will let you decide best and worst.


Ben & Jerry’s

There’s nothing like a herd of singing cows to get you in the mood for romance, according to ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s. It’s one of the least Valentine’s-appropriate tactical campaigns this year, but Ben & Jerry’s has chosen today to send a choir of cows to serenade Londoners in the name of its Happy Cows campaign in aid of improving the welfare of the 23 million dairy cows in Europe. A tenuous link to the romance of the day comes in the shape of a Twitter competition to win romantic prizes. If nothing else, its sheer irrelevance to Valentine’s Day will help it stand out amongst the bunches of roses and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates on display elsewhere around the capital.


US prophylactic brand Trojan will launch branded ‘Safe Ride’ cabs in the Big Apple this Valentine’s Day with a complimentary trip that will also provide passengers with a lesson in sexual health.

Once inside the vehicle, passengers will be invited to participate in a condom trivia game with those that answer five or more questions correctly winning a Trojan Brand Condoms prize pack. Those who answer all of the questions correctly win a year’s supply of Trojan Brand Condoms.


Nothing says you care like saving on a penny or two when buying a present for your other half. Well that’s the message espoused by Cashback site Shopitize which is promoting its £1 cashback offer on a box of Ferrero Rocher ahead of Valentine’s Day.

Although Shopitize’s managing director and co-founder does acknowledge the potential for this to seem mean-spirited: “I’m not sure I would let on that I was claiming cash back on a Valentine’s Day present,” she says. “But the nation spends a ridiculous amount on flowers and chocolates each year so why should we not get some cash back in return?”


Ashley Madison

If Valentine’s Day is about love and romance, then the day after is all about illicit encounters and extra-marital affairs – well according to Ashley Madison. The ‘have an affair’ website has been promoting February 15th is its busiest day for sign-ups up for the last three Valentine’s Days. It is hardly the most original idea and devoid of any romance, which is kind of the point of a Valentine’s Day campaign.

HP Sauce

Love is in the air, and hopefully the only thing going viral this Valentine’s Day is this fun video viral from Heinz. The food company’s HP Sauce brand’s Manliness has returned to screens to remind viewers that overpowering musk, scented candles, and choosing gifts such as dart boards over novelty teddies, are the key to a woman’s heart.


As if it’s not bad enough that many sweethearts will endure Valentine’s gifts purchased in corner shops at the last minute by forgetful other halves, convenience chain Spar is taking the opportunity to do some anti Valentine’s marketing. It is giving an unromantic leg up to start-up, a firm offering apps designed to help heartbroken singles deal with their breakup. The apps, advertised on Spar’s in store radio yesterday accompanied by Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”, offer a 90-day break-up package including advice, songs and comfort food such as Spar’s Italian ranges, to help get through the heartbreak.

BT Tower of Love

The London skyline is a romantic setting regardless of what day of the year it is. All that concrete and smog and light pollution certainly stirs the old ticker.
Hence why BT is looking to liven up its own ticker around its iconic tower with messages of lurve.

“Hopeless” [hapless] romantics have been invited to tweet their Valentine’s messages with the #BTTowerofLove hashtag for the chance of winning a view of the tower complement by a bottle of bubbly at the Paramount Bar at Centre Point to surprise their partners with their tokens of love.


Creme Egg

Cadbury is encouraging promiscuity this Valentine’s Day, inviting Facebook users to post pictures of their illicit affairs with Creme Eggs on the brand’s Facebook page.
Singletons around the country can promote their lack of a relationship status by posing with a Creme Egg in the hope of winning personalised friendship bands, mugs or commemorative plates so they can immortalise the day they publicised the first time they licked out the innards of the chocolately treat with their tongue forever more.



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