Will you be my Valentine, or how brands helped lovers this year

Valentine’s day – this one day of the year drawing very mixed feelings: a lot of blaming for being a marketers’ trick to get to your wallet, a little beet of guilt as you still haven’t found a gift for your loved one, and happiness because it somehow appeals to your slightly romantic and cheesy side… No matter your point of view, you may have noticed this year that brands were trying hard to get to you! And so should they. Valentine’s Day is a perfect occasion for luxury brands to get closer to their consumers and advise them on gifts among their product lines. Still, just giving advice is not enough, especially for a romantic holiday. Brands must inspire consumers, make them feel that love is in the air and that brands love their customers. Therefore they were helping them with genuine advice extending beyond gifts. There you find a perfect occasion for branded content. Think articles on how to prep for Valentine’s Day, ideas about how to dress up, etc. Some brands did this, others merely promoted their products, but overall they tried to inspire positive feelings about themselves.

Let’s start with the obvious medium: social media. I don’t know if you follow brands as I do, but my Facebook newsfeed was invaded by brands’ posts about perfumes being great for a Valentine’s day gift,  makeup that would look great on you for your date night, outfits ideas for your candlelit dinner, and even little items you could get for your single self. Luxury brands took a chance to promote their more accessible (think cosmetics) products, as well as premium jewelry and watches, handbags, and all sorts of gift ideas that were just a click away from you. Efforts started as early as in January, and were reinforced the week before Valentine’s Day for the numerous late buyers. Dior for example, leveraged its new Miss Dior campaign to increase its sales. Let’s not forget about Instagram. Quite a paradise for marketers as it enables brands to promote visual contents (which are extremely powerful to bring out an emotion). Customers’ newsfeeds were filled with romantically-filtered photos of gifts, flowers, scenes of romantic gestures… Captions often included a direct link to a product’s e-commerce page, or information about a limited edition, online exclusives, special bundles in nice little boxes, etc. Other social media were used as well, including Pinterest, but Facebook and Instagram are the ones where it struck me the most.

Screenshot from The Cut x Tiffany & Co.'s Valentine's Day: Countdown Calendar

Screenshot from The Cut x Tiffany & Co.’s Valentine’s Day: Countdown Calendar

Brands also promoted their advice for gifts picking on their own channels, such as their e-store. Take Ferragamo. This fashion brand revisited its website with animated attractions setting the tone for a romantic Italy inspired holiday and jewelry-based gift giving. These animations were shared on social media with the hashtag #FerragamoValentine, linking them to a whole campaign. Finally, Tiffany & Co. had a pretty genius idea: a 14-day advent-inspired calendar in The Cut, a New York magazine. This Valentine’s Day: Countdown Calendar featured gift ideas such as Tiffany & Co. jewels, as well as other brands’ candles, spas, chocolates, etc. Starting February 1st, it offered a complete guide to Valentine’s Day’s spirit, and went on for 14 days. This operation leveraged both consumers’ curiosity and impatience. It was a great way to target the brand’s customers as well as the magazine’s readers with useful -yet branded- content.

I will not explore the web further to find millions of other examples as I believe you have by now understood that luxury brands can use many different ways to relate to their customers and help them in their struggles, including Valentine’s Day gift giving.

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