Brands have started to look beyond love and romance for their Valentine's Day marketing. We analyzed our favorite Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns that painted the real picture of love – celebration, sharing, and honest conversations.

Valentine’s Day, February 14, is a day to celebrate love, and brands get creative to engage customers and appeal to their emotions. For the past few years, the Valentine's Day marketing trend has been to transcend romance, be more inclusive, and explore different relationships and perceptions of love.

Diversity should be top-of-mind for marketers this Valentine’s Day. Our world is forever evolving; people have the right to love who they want and to celebrate that love however they should desire. — Nickolas Rekeda, CMO, MGID, exclusively to MarTech Advisor

This year, Galentine's Day gained popularity, and Twitter saw much love and support for the women friendship day celebrated on February 13. Brands across industries, from flower boutiques to restaurants and pubs created campaigns for the day. Celebrities, publishing houses, organizations, and media channels also took to Twitter to celebrate women's friendships and sisterhood.

For Valentine's day, brands got creative and delved into varied dimensions of love. Here are our favorite Valentine's Day marketing campaigns of 2020 and what we learned from them.

1. Creating Experiences and Spreading Love

Valentine’s Day is incomplete without a unique gift for your special someone. If you can top that by reaching out and sharing your love for those in need and the less privileged, you have the perfect Valentine’s Day celebration.

Pip & Nut’s Love Lab Valentine's Day marketing campaign in Shoreditch from February 13–16 is a bookable workshop. Customers can create their personalized version of peanut or almond butter jars. They can choose from a selection of romance inducing ingredients, such as strawberries, vanilla, and chili, to whip up a blend and dedicate the personalized love jars to their partners. They can also create custom love notes by an on-site calligrapher and take home a Love Lab goody bag. In exchange, Pip & Nut will gift a jar of peanut butter to Hackney FoodBank for every Love Lab edition made.

Takeaway: Valentine’s Day is all about spreading love. Pip & Nut has been successful in crafting an experience that adds a personal touch and helps every couple make a difference in the lives of people who are facing a food crisis. By doing this, the brand created a memorable experience for users and gave back to the community.

2. For the Love of Wings

2020 has turned into the year brands are increasingly shaking things up and using humor to engage customers and create memorable experiences. A theme has emerged where brands are going against the usual road down romance-ville with hilarious, quirky campaigns.

Hooters is giving away 10 free boneless wings with the purchase of any 10 wings when customers share a photo of an ex to dispose of in the best way possible, "so the healing can begin."

Takeaway: Giving customers freebies in exchange for something to look forward to can work like a charm, if you find something that users can relate to and that would bring them joy. Also, since food is a common bonding ground, you can use the shared love to celebrate this day with just about everyone.

3. A Dash of Humor and a Pinch of Reality

Transparency and authenticity are emerging in the conquest of customer experience and customer engagement. Marketers are beginning to see value in being true to the brand voice and genuine to get user's attention and loyalty.

Twitter’s Valentine’s Day marketing campaign Love Twitter gets real with love conversations in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and London. Billboards and subway ads in this Out of Home (OOH) campaign display user tweets about what they ‘really’ think about love. The campaign highlights good, bad, and cringe-worthy tweets on topics like dating apps, deal breakers, dates, and marriage from users' everyday raw and relatable experiences.

Takeaway: Twitter sheds light on the most real, hilarious, and honest accounts of love, dating, and marriage, easing the pressure of unrealistic expectations of dating around this day. Appealing to the little things of everyday love is a sure-shot way for people to take notice and talk about your brand.

Showing you care about your customer is about more than just offering a good product, it relies on excellent customer experience that includes demonstrating your understanding of their needs. Just like a Valentine’s Day gift, the way you treat a customer needs to be thoughtful and personal, demonstrating how much you value them while respecting their privacy preferences. — Darren Guarnaccia, CPO at Crownpeak, exclusively to MarTech Advisor

Here are our key learnings from this year’s Valentine's Day marketing campaigns:

  • Spread the idea of 'sharing is loving'. Valentine's Day marks a perfect opportunity to spread love to people who need help.
  • Craft personalized experiences to help create memories and improve brand recall.
  • Explore various dimensions of love to include romantic partners, family, friends, pets, etc. to make this day special.
  • Take the pressure off people about Valentine's Day and engage them in authentic and real conversations.
  • Use humor, everyone loves a good laugh.

Valentine's Day marketing campaigns with a fresh perspective get brands closer to customers. People are looking beyond romantic partners, more than ever, to celebrate this day, and it's essential to be relevant, inclusive, and make room for different relationships.