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8 Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaigns We Love

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8 Valentine's Day Marketing Campaigns We Love


Love, flowers, chocolate, blah blah blah …

Where are the marketing results?!

Okay, probably not what your Valentine’s date cares about. But if you’re a marketer, you might be interested in merging the most lovey-dovey of days with your marketing. But how?

Well, these companies have figured out some creative ways to leverage the warm and fuzzies (or unadulterated rage and crushing loneliness … whatever) that Valentine’s Day instills in people.

If you don’t have a marketing campaign planned for the 14th, maybe some of these will inspire you to get in on some last-minute Valentine’s Day action.

8 Effective Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaigns

1. Ranch Dressing’s Customized Bottle

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like giving someone a bottle of — Ranch Dressing?

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In 2021, while flower companies and B2C brands were highlighting the romantic gifts partners could give to each other, Hidden Valley took a funny approach to this strategy by offering audiences customized Valentine’s Day-themed bottles of Ranch salad dressing.

Ranch Dressing Customized Valentine's Day bottle

While this seems like an odd gift to some, Hidden Valley knows that they have fans out there that just love to cover everything they eat with Ranch dressing. To those audiences, this gift is funny, personalized, and potentially useful.

2. Pandora’s Little Acts of Love

A common pushback people give for Valentine’s Day is that appreciation for loved ones should be shared all year round. Jewelry company Pandora emphasized that small acts of love are suitable anytime with their “Little Acts of Love” placement in 2022. 

The ad shows couples displaying acts of kindness towards one another that would be appreciated any day of the year. This ad reminds us all that thoughtful gestures can go a long way.

3. 1-800-Flowers’ Galentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for significant others, and 1-800-Flowers wants friendships to be celebrated as well.

This ad depicts two friends talking about how they established their friendship, reminding the viewer that platonic love also deserves to be celebrated. The two friends in the ad ask each other thoughtful questions about their friendship and how much they mean to each other. 

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It’s an emotional ad that will inspire you to call your best friend, and maybe send them some flowers.

See also  10 Top Advertising Campaigns & Why They Work

4. Hallmark’s Tell Them They Matter This Valentine’s Day

A Valentine’s Day ad with an important message — everyone deserves to feel like they matter. This ad depicts a young woman who is inundated with negative messages from peers on social media. The messages are pretty bleak and would be hard to hear for anyone. 

At the end, she finds a Valentine’s Day card in her locker from her best friend reminding her she matters and is loved, which helps drown out the negativity of the messages at the top of the ad. Though more series in nature, this heartwarming ad shows how powerful our words really are, and inspires us to show more kindness to one another.

5. Target Valentine’s Day Haul Instagram Post

Many people have experienced walking into Target without a list, relying on Target to tell them what they need. This user-generated post on Target’s Instagram account captures the spirit of what we all love about Target — how easy it is to load up on fun items (though our bank accounts may not share the love). 

In the video, the original poster fills their cart with festive Valentine’s Day merchandise at their local Target. Though it isn’t a traditionally produced ad, it’s a relatable post for Target shoppers who may have been inspired to visit their local store and pick up some of the items they saw featured in the post to celebrate.

6. MeUndies Match Me Valentine’s Day

This relatable MeUndies ad from 2021 captures the spirit of communicating via Zoom that many people have become familiar with since early 2020. 

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In the ad, couples talk about some of their pre-pandemic plans including travel, and weddings. Though many of those events didn’t go as planned, the couples talked about ways they’ve grown closer despite the challenges and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic all while wearing matching merch from MeUndies.

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7. Winc’s Be Wine Instagram Post

Wine is a popular Valentine’s Day gift that is up there with roses and chocolate. Wine subscription company Winc typically devotes real estate on their social channels for Valentine’s Day-themed posts in the weeks leading up to the holiday. 

In 2021, the Winc Instagram account had a series of posts consisting of unique and user-generated content related to Valentine’s Day. The “Be Wine?” post was among the most popular. We loved the punny caption and heart-themed visuals.

8. OpenTable’s Millennial Experiences

If you’ve ever marketed to millennials, you may know that millennials value experiential gifts. Or, as OpenTable says in this 2020 ad, dates. 

In 2020 OpenTable released 14 ads as part of a two-week countdown to Valentine’s Day, encouraging customers to make reservations early to avoid the holiday rush.

Each of the ads targeted a different audience that could benefit from using OpenTable to make Valentine’s Day reservations, with a clear call-to-action and messaging that appeals to the ideal viewer. 

Honorable Mention: Match.com’s “Match Made in Hell” campaign.

Technically, this campaign wasn’t created for Valentine’s Day specifically. But, many of our marketers thought it had all the perfect elements of a great Valentine’s Day campaign. Because of this, we wouldn’t be surprised if it sees a lot of circulation in February.

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In the commercial, directed by actor Ryan Reynolds, Satan sits in Hell using Match’s app when he sees he’s matched with a woman named 2020. When he meets up with her on Earth, he nervously says “Hi 2-0-2-0.” She replies, “Please, call me 2020” — pronouncing it like the year. 

As the commercial continues, 2020’s character appears to be the epitome of everything that happened in 2020.

For example, which launched in December, shows Satan and 2020 causing mischief, stealing toilet paper from store shelves, having a picnic inn empty stadiums, and ultimately posing for a selfie in front of a dumpster fire.

The couple frolics to the familiar sounds of Taylor Swift’s hit song, “Love Story.” which also sparks a sense of rom-com nostalgia for millennials. 

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On the same day of this ad’s release, Match and Reynolds also shared another commercial showing the pair explaining how they met in couple’s counseling.

In this video, Satan explains how he found 2020 on Match:

“I started by using the Match custom search filter. I filtered out joy, happiness, toilet paper, and reason,” Satan says in the video below:

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Although this didn’t launch in February, it was a very clever newsjacking example that many of our marketers say they enjoyed when they were asked to share their favorite Valentine’s campaigns.

While 2020 was a difficult year for many, Match and Reynolds identified a tasteful way to create content that audiences could relate to. At the same time, they still told an epic, hilarious love story with a pleasant, entertaining tone. Although they discussed a truly terrible year, they did so in a way that felt like escapism for the viewer.

Valentine’s Day Campaign Takeaways

As you create and launch Valentine’s Day campaigns, take note of these strategies many of the brands above used:

  • Grab your audience’s attention: Like with any holiday, marketers around the globe are churning out content around it. To compete with this overly saturated Valentine’s Day ad landscape, you’ll need to grab and keep your viewer’s attention with entertaining elements or valuable information.
  • Be relatable: Around this time of year, many people are inundated with high-budget Valentine’s Day ads that offer them no useful information or value. Even if you want to tell a mushy romance-fueled love story with your content, make sure it still feels relatable or authentic. To do this, you can leverage tactics like telling a story your audience will relate to, or leveraging user-generated content from your followers — like Twitter has.
  • Test out different platforms: While some companies on this list took to Instagram, others embraced physical campaign strategies like special products or billboard use. 

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in Feb. 2013, but was updated for comprehensiveness.

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MARKETING

Closing your team’s technical gap without hiring

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Closing your team's technical gap without hiring

It’s no comfort knowing you’re not the only one having trouble finding tech talent. Demand is high, supply is low. And everyone has teams and projects stuck in limbo.

What would be comforting is a solution. Well, here you go.

I’ve helped many marketing teams close the gap in their technical capabilities without writing a single job description. The reality is you have many more options than you can envision right now. All you need to do is expand your frame.

Expand Your Frame

When making a decision, framing helps you focus on the proper outcomes. The hard part may be setting the frame to the right size. Make it too small and you miss big chunks of the panorama. Too large and you lose the details. 

It’s also a fantastic way to think more strategically. While others are getting up in tactics, e.g., hiring, you can think of the outcome you’re hoping to achieve and determine the fastest way to get there. 


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The frame here is not that you need to hire someone, it’s that you need a certain set of tasks completed. Instead of hiring you should consider two other options: automation, i.e. no-code, and adjusting your team’s priorities. Looked at that way, you may already have all the skills you need.

No-Code & the New Engineers

The rise of no-code software tools is one of the most significant developments in the marketing world. No-code tools are meant to be used by non-technical folks. They have drag-and-drop interfaces and tend to be highly user-friendly. Examples include Zapier, Tray.io, and countless others.

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A huge problem for marketing teams is their technology is too complex. Doing anything significant means getting an engineer. Even sending emails requires technical help. With multiple no-code options in every category, there’s no need for this.

Instead of hiring someone to support marketing automation, find a software solution anyone can use. In practical terms, it means avoiding options like Salesforce, which requires in-house expertise, hundreds of pages of documentation and the proper alignment of the moon to make it work. Other solutions are drastically easier to use, though they may have less functionality. 

I tell my clients to prioritize the ability to connect their tools rather than just their raw capabilities. You may have the best email marketing solution, but it’s not as valuable if you can’t easily export data to a CRM. Be biased towards no-code, and you can avoid hiring.

I recently helped clients connect their Hubspot, Google Sheets, and a website using only no-code tools like Zapier. We were able to get everything done in a matter of weeks with no involvement from their engineers. In addition, the marketing team could send better-targeted emails and measure their performance better. All they needed were the right tools.

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Adjust Your Priorities

Think over how your team spent their time over the past week. Were they working on the highest impact tasks? Unfortunately, there’s a good chance the answer is no. It’s easy to fall prey to “busy work” or get stuck doing jobs that should be automated.

Bill Gates once said there’s no point hiring someone to do an inefficient process. You’re just scaling bad habits. Instead, clean up your processes before adding more bodies. You may discover plenty of time to research software tools and tackle new tasks.

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Read next: Broaden your marketing ops talent perspective

The fastest way to adjust your priorities is to run a time audit of your team. Ask each member to record how they spent their time over an average week. You can then work with them to figure out how to remove tasks from their plates. Low-hanging fruit includes manual input, work that no one sees or failure work—where tasks are redone multiple times. 

After running an audit for one team we found they spent way more time cleaning up data rather than using it. We figured out what was causing the errors and duplication, solving them through formulas and other measures. They were able to shift around 20 hours to other tasks. Many teams have similar hidden opportunities.

Digital-First Means Being Lean

Being digitally savvy isn’t about hiring as many people as possible. Digital channels offer the ability to be lean as you scale. Think of influencers who run channels with millions of views out of their parent’s basement. They have a lean but effective production. Years ago, the Instagram team had less than 100 people before being acquired by Facebook.

As you shift into digital, you have the opportunity to restructure your marketing teams and take advantage of trends like no-code. The first step is to expand your frame. After that, you might see more opportunities.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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About The Author

Ruben Ugarte is the global expert in Decisions, Strategy, and Data and author of the Data Mirage and Bulletproof Decisions. He helps executives at the most innovative medium and large enterprises find their hidden treasures and use them to dramatically boost performance, increase profitability, and make their teams world-class. He has done this across five continents and in three languages. His ideas have helped hundreds of thousands of people make better decisions.

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