3 Valentine’s Day PR Campaigns to Get You in the Mood for Love
It’s fast-approaching the time of year where sickly sweet cards, heart-shaped chocolate boxes and oversized helium balloons fill the shops, and restaurants hike their prices three-fold. Yes, Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. And each year, brands, big and small, pull out the PR stunts to win over customers and the media.
Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, there’s no denying it’s one of the best times of year for PR fun. Here are our top three V-Day successes:
Last year, Virgin Trains played Cupid with its very own Valentine’s Day PR campaign, which invited customers to take a trip in a singles-only ‘Love Carriage’.
Twenty-four competition winners were invited to board a specially chartered train from London King’s Cross to York, for a unique speed dating experience.
Once on board, passengers were showered with red roses, prosecco and a three-course dinner, courtesy of their host, First Dates personality Fred Sirieix. After some ice-breaker party games, the dating started and participants switched seats throughout the journey for a chance to meet their potential love interest.
The grandiose PR stunt, which attracted huge amounts of press coverage, was promoting Virgin’s £42 million investment in its East Coast Trains service.
This was an effective PR campaign, as it was true to brand, and prompted plenty of follow-up stories. Check out the video here.
To celebrate the international day of love, online antiques marketplace LoveAntiques last year organised an innovative PR stunt, aimed at engaged couples.
The company hid cryptic clues around ten of the capital’s most romantic statues, forming a treasure hunt. But this was no ordinary treasure hunt, as the ‘treasure’ was an antique 200-year old Art Deco engagement ring, worth £1,000.
At 10am on the day of the hunt, participants were emailed the location of the first statue. The clues, all in the form of rhyming couplets, included: “To win a princess’ hand, this saintly man made a stand,” which pointed the way to the St George and the Dragon statue in St John’s Wood.
Participants had to take a selfie at each statue and tweet it to LoveAntiques, which prompted the next clue, or a message saying they were in the wrong place.
The first couple to reach the final statue were greeted by a member of the LoveAntiques team, who handed over the sparkly prize.
With such a valuable prize at stake, the stunt caught the attention of lots of young couples, sending their website into meltdown. And the story was covered by pretty much every online news channel and major print publications including Metro.
Ann Summers, the nation’s favourite lingerie retailer, ran a multi-channel PR campaign to find a ‘real woman’ to be the face of the brand, for Valentine’s Day in 2012.
The retailer used their existing social media platforms to launch the campaign, which received 4,000 entries, and a ton of media coverage, both on and offline.
The 10 finalists were revealed in a steamy advert, screened during the final episode of ITV2’s The Only Way is Essex, and viewers were encouraged to vote for their favourite model via a dedicated website.
The competition created a lot of buzz and received over 30,000 votes. Student Lucy Moore was revealed as the winner in early January. The retailer used images of her in its store windows, on the website, and on the front cover of the Ann Summers Valentine’s Day catalogue.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen a brand use ‘real women’ as the focus of their campaign, but it continues to be a winning formula, as proven by Ann Summers. The on-brand campaign reached multiple consumer touchpoints and provided an interesting angle for its first ever TV ad.
How’s this for capturing journalists’ attention? Last year, condom brand Durex celebrated Valentine’s Day by sending journalists ‘lube bouquets’, instead of red roses.
This was a fun way for an established brand to tag itself on to Valentine’s Day without coming across as too desperate. Good job, Durex.
If you want to create a stand-out PR campaign call me on 020 8274 0807 to find out how.