By Marina Panagopulos
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, companies are finding unique ways to spread the love. Whether it’s through fun in-store challenges or more serious matchmaking efforts, brands are successfully (and sometimes not so successfully) getting in the Valentine’s Day spirit.
Here’s a review of three impressive campaigns that are bound to spark conversation this year:
World’s Largest #StarbucksDate
Starbucks and Match.com are pairing up on Feb. 13 to host what is expected to be the “world’s largest Starbucks date.” Single Match users will get access to a special “Meet at Starbucks” feature to send out invites and arrange first dates. Starbucks will offer $5 pairings of coffee and bakery treats for two.
What is most remarkable about the upcoming #StarbucksDate is the focus it places on customer experience. Starbucks acts as a Cupid character, promoting its coffee shops as places where lasting memories can be made. Through emotional branding, Starbucks simultaneously forms close bonds with its customers, as well as between its customers.
Pay With Lovin’ at McDonald’s
This Valentine’s Day, McDonald’s will be accepting a new form of payment: love. From Feb. 2-14, the fast-food chain will nominate customers to perform a “random act of lovin’” as payment for their meal. So far, customers have shown their spirit through dancing, hugging and a spontaneous “I love you” to family members.
Although the campaign has potential to create awkward scenarios for McDonald’s customers, the feel-good intentions make it unique to any other brand’s Valentine’s Day promotions. McDonald’s has posted videos of customers’ candid reactions online, showing that random acts of kindness can brighten anyone’s day.
Dunkin’ Donuts Getaway
Many of us are familiar with Dunkin’ Donuts’ seasonal menus, which include pumpkin spice lattes in October, and red and green sprinkled doughnuts during the Christmas season. This year, alongside its heart-shaped pastries, Dunkin’ Donuts is celebrating Valentine’s Day with an exciting social media promotion. From Feb. 11-13, Dunkin’ asks followers to tweet at a loved one using the hashtags #DDHearts and #Sweeps. On Feb. 13, 10 people will receive $100 gifts and have their personal tweet turned into a “donut dedication” video with the name of their sweetheart personalized on a heart-shaped donut. The best part: one lucky participant will win a trip for two on JetBlue.
With close to one million followers on Twitter, Dunkin’ Donuts’ social media presence is impressive. The company takes advantage of unique hashtags as a way to encourage customer engagement and the sharing of user-generated content. It will be interesting to see how Dunkin’ fans engage with this year’s Valentine’s Day promotion.
More and more brands are using holidays as a way to connect and engage with their target audiences in quirky, heartwarming ways. Whether your Valentine’s Day plans involve a romantic dinner for two or a casual trip to the movies with friends, these brands want to be a part of your day, and I for one am looking forward to feeling the love.
Photo courtesy of FieryDragonLord’s Flickr photostream.