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I’ve discussed how holidays can help trigger brand interaction before. It is no secret that the urge and anticipation to celebrate triggers quite a few purchase decisions. Think about Valentine’s Day for a minute. How does it make you feel? Don’t you immediately associate all sorts of products and services like flowers, chocolates, fancy dinners, jewelry? Now that you’ve thought about them, in the context of Valentine’s Day, aren’t there a few emotions that come to mind? Joy, excitement, “togetherness”, love, romanticism? (I’ll leave Valentine’s Day grinches out of the conversation for now, and pick them up in tactic #7).

Here’s what’s happening: Valentine’s Day, like other holidays, represents a unique opportunity to associate your brand with desirable emotions. These emotions, in turn, can help boost brand engagement, awareness and purchase intention.

Let’s get to work. Here are 7 tactics inspired by this year’s most successful Valentine’s Day social media campaigns. Nothing to fear: you can implement these today for little or no money.

(Except the diamonds campaign—we may want to rethink that one. You can always think of a more accessible giveaway).


1. Uber’s Little Things (#LittleThings)

Every rider who takes an Uber on the 14th of February (Valentine’s Day) will have a good chance of getting a rose or a special ProFlowers card during their trip. This campaign is a result of a partnership between Uber and ProFlowers that helps promote both brands’ promises: Uber’s commitment to a unique, detail-oriented experience, and ProFlowers’ idea of putting “beautiful bouquets at your fingertips”.

Why it works: Uber engages its riders, boosting brand loyalty. ProFlowers increases brand awareness among a young, trendy demographic.

How you can pull it off: Create a brand partnership that makes sense for both companies and quickly roll out a campaign in celebration of Valentine’s Day emotions.


2. Heineken’s Date in a Box (#DateinaBox)

Heineken picked up on the fact that men rarely display their romantic emotions publicly. As in publicly sharing a love-related picture on Instagram. This year they decided to mix things up a bit with the #DateinaBox campaign. You can tweet at @Heineken_US to request a red box that contains an amazing, prepaid date for two. To unlock it, the guy in the relationship has to go public about his feelings. You read that right: they must share a picture of the #DateinaBox using Instagram.


Why it works: It taps on couples’ need to find fun (and affordable) date ideas for Valentine’s Day, positioning Heineken as a problem-solver.

How you can pull it off: Think of your consumers’ needs for such a special date. Have them generate some type of content to earn a solution to one of their needs—ideally one that resonates well with your brand promise.



3. Purity Vodka’s Perfect Cut (#PurityPerfectCut)

This is the one with the diamonds. (Feel free to replace that with a more accessible giveaway prize). This is how they describe it: “The heart of Purity Vodka is distilled 34 times – the finest 10%. Now Purity Vodka wants to find the perfect pic that shows your heart.” All you have to do is to Instagram you and your sweetie using #PurityPerfectCut and follow @PurityVodka, and you could win a $15K Lazare® diamond.

Why it works: Women love diamonds. Period. (And this is a premium brand, for which it makes sense to build luxury-related associations.)

How you can pull it off: If you are trying to position your brand as premium, try finding a giveaway prize that reflects that positioning and organize a contest that can help generate online word-of-mouth. The advantage to selecting a deluxe prize is its organic ability to get people talking (and sharing).


4. Starbucks’ Love Your Latte (#LoveYourLatte)

Only on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14, from 2pm to 5pm) you get a free second handcrafted latte when you purchase one. The idea here is, of course, for couples to try Starbucks’ handcrafted espressos and tea lattes in the context of an overall joyful holiday. A match made in heaven.

Why it works: Consumers associate Valentine’s Day with feelings related to emotional “warmth” and “togetherness”. These feelings are directly related to Starbucks’ brand promise and their association with them will be strengthened thanks to this campaign.

How you can pull it off: Is there a way for you to create a 2-for-1 offer for your product or service on Valentine’s Day? If there is, go ahead and make a couple happy. (They’ll thank you later).


5. Pinterest’s Send a Valentine

This year Pinterest rallied designers to create handmade Pinterest-inspired Valentines that you can “send to anyone from new friends to eternal flames”. They built a board where you can pick up your Valentines and share them.

Follow Pinterest’s board Send a Valentine on Pinterest.


Why it works: Pinterest is leveraging its own platform to show users how creating a board can help them build communities. At the same time, they are also putting forward their brand’s strong appreciation for “handmade” and authentic design.

How you can pull it off: Is there a product functionality that you can display, while helping spread the Valentine’s Day spirit? If your product allows users to create or publish a piece of content, how can you leverage that for Valentine’s Day gifting?


6. Pizza Hut’s Greatest Proposal Ever (#CommitToGreatness)

Apparently, people were proposing to Pizza Hut. YES. As in actually asking them “Will you marry me?” The Pizza Hut team picked up on it and decided to play it up for Valentine’s Day. To start, they created a profile in OKCupid (a well known dating site) and asked users to go check it out. Here comes second base: users had to send Pizza Hut their most awesome proposal ideas and the team will select the best. The winner gets free pizza for life.

Why it works: Pizza Hut jumped on an existing (organic) social media trend and amplified it. Because people themselves had (somehow) come up with the idea to propose to a pizza restaurant, the natural next step was to open an online dating profile and select the best (Why not?). This campaign helps personify the brand, making it more relatable.

How you can pull it off: Is there something that people are already saying about you? Asking from you? Celebrating about you? Use that and build a campaign where you leverage Valentines’ Day to have your brand become a closer “friend” (or love partner) to your followers and customers.


7. TGI Fridays’ Thank Your Wingman Sweepstakes (#ThanksWingman)

In a smart play with words, TGI Fridays’ released the #ThanksWingman campaign, where you send a tweet full of gratitude to make your favorite wingman earn free wings. The interesting Valentine’s Day twist is that someone finally recognized the wingman as a cupid-like figure that is, more often than not, essential to dating. 500 lucky wingmen will get their wings.

Why this works: There is always an unrecognized, underrated character in most holidays. Redeeming him/her places a brand in a heroic position that customers will relate to. It also helps brand communications break through the clutter because, you guessed it: nobody else is talking about the underdog.

How you can pull it off: Is there someone left out of the Valentine’s Day celebration that you can help? What would be an exciting way to redeem the V-Day Grinch, the single man/woman, the friend with benefits, Mr. or Ms. Cupid?