Posted 20th January 2016 | By Jade Larkin, SEM Manager

Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is approaching. Every year, brands use February as an opportunity to create a love-themed marketing campaign, or to push their products as potential gifts for us to spend (or waste!) money on.

I've looked back at 3 Valentine's Day campaigns from 2015 delivered by big brands, and thought about what we can learn from them when planning our own themed content.


Tesco created a series of 'awkward' vines that focused on 'bumping in to your ex in the aisles'. Tesco's Social Media Manager said that the 'Vines are a great way of bringing these sometimes awkward encounters to life'. And because awkwardness is not the usual emotion that brands focus on during February, this content stood out.

I liked this campaign. It was light hearted and not the clichéd roses and flowers type thing that we often see pushed by supermarkets (although they probably did sell a lot of those too!).

Watched thousands of times, I think these Vines were so successful because they were not 'selling', but instead focused on building brand awareness and building upon their already fun and honest social media presence.


Huge cosmetic brand, Revlon, worked with Google to create a 'personalised shareable Valentine's Day GIF e-card program'. This program meant that web users could create personalised e-cards on the Google Display Network, and then share them on social media with the hashtag #loveison.

This campaign was well received (the hashtag was mentioned thousands of times). Increased visibility of the campaign across the Google Display Network no doubt helped the campaign's performance. And because consumers could make the e-card personal to them, it was all the more tempting to join in with the fun.


Topshop delivered an email marketing campaign sharing outfit ideas ready for a Valentine's Day date.

Gifts for him and gifts for her also featured, but clothes and make-up for the Big Date remained the focus. This approach differs from the usual emails we get around Valentine's Day, where we're often bombarded with gift ideas. For an image conscious audience, I can see this strategy working.

What can we learn from these Valentine's marketing activities?

That sometimes, using an occasion just to sell products as gifts isn't effective as you might think it would be. We need to get to know out target audiences, and create content that they will be receptive to (such as Topshop's email marketing strategy). And, if social media is used to share occasion-themed content, its shareability is greatly increased if it's honest and not just trying to sell to us.

P.S. If you're not interested in hearing about Valentine's Day at all this year, there's always this.

Written by Jade Larkin, Copywriting and SEO Assistant at ExtraMile Communications

At ExtraMile we try to take an hour out each week to look around us at what others do and to gain inspiration and to admire people's creativity. Each post in this series is one staff member's take on the world of web, design and things online. We hope you enjoy it.

Jade Larkin

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Creative SEM Manager