Valentine’s Day can be a great opportunity to promote your business, whether it’s a couples discount or a special event to celebrate the holiday.
However, there’s a fine line between sweet and bizarre, as these five stories show.
We’ve gathered some of the weirdest Valentine’s Day promotions, for an idea of what not to do this February 14th.
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1. Sweet and sour fanfiction
Would you want teenagers to write romantic stories about your products? That’s what Maynards did in order to reach a younger audience for their Sour Patch Kids.
Using the original writing and fanfiction platform Wattpad, Maynards encouraged people to write stories about a “sweet then sour” romance. You can read the original story here, if you really want to.
2. Name a cockroach after your partner
Chocolates get eaten, flowers wilt, but cockroaches are forever – so what else to get your partner this Valentine’s Day?
That’s the philosophy of Bronx Zoo, who give visitors the option to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after their beloved. To top it all off, you even get a digital certificate – what more could your valentine want?
3. Tour a sewage plant
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your business just isn’t suited to a Valentine’s Day promotion.
Unfortunately, no one told that to Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, who offer a special Valentine’s tour of their Digester Eggs, which they boast ‘process as much as 1.5 million gallons of sludge every day’. Romantic.
4. Send a fart
If a whole tour of a sewage plant seems like too much, a momentary experience of what it might be like may be more appropriate – that is, if you think sending a fart in a greetings card is appropriate.
The whole business model of Fart by Mail seems rather bizarre, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that they decided to run a Valentine’s Day campaign. Whether or not it worked is another matter entirely.
5. Adult toys at Burger King
While the happy meal is a McDonald’s staple, Burger King’s Valentine’s version may not catch on any time soon.
The “adults only” meals, marked as 18+ on the boxes, contained toys like massagers, blindfolds, and feather dusters. An interesting choice for a fast food chain.
Tips for Valentine’s Day marketing
While these promotions might want to be something you avoid for your small business this Valentine’s Day, we’ve got some tips in case you want to run a (less bizarre) campaign of your own.
- Don’t forget singles – around half the population identifies as single, so you could be missing out on a lot of potential customers by excluding them.
- Think about friendships – more and more people are celebrating 14th February with their friends, so does your business lend itself more to Palentine’s Day?
- People love their pets – as well as friends, consumers are increasingly thinking about their furry companions at this time of the year, giving different businesses different options for promotions.
- Don’t plan ahead – it sounds strange, but your customers won’t be doing this. People tend to buy spur of the moment gifts for Valentine’s Day, so plan your marketing accordingly.
- Experience is key – throughout the year, consumers are spending more on experiences and less on material items. What can you offer that’s less about stuff and more about time spent together?
What do you think about these campaigns? Share your thoughts in the comments.