Valentine’s Day is less than a month away, and brand love is in the air.
Case in point: Sweethearts, known for its iconic conversation hearts, dropped Situationship Boxes just in time for the holiday. The limited-edition releases contain blurry, misprinted candies that are “as hard to read as Gen-Z relationships,” according to the brand, referring to the fact that these kinds of entanglements among young singles are without labels and undefined.
After releasing last week, the Situationship Boxes have since sold out, but the brand is offering free Valentine’s Day cards to share with situationships and on social with phrases like “Hard to read, but easy to love” or “Do you know how much you mean to me? Because I don’t.” The campaign went viral on TikTok, and brands looking to capitalize on the lovey-dovey holiday’s popularity can check out the social network’s own guide to capture the hearts of users in February.
From, in the case of Sweethearts, making use of misprints to alleviating reservation headaches to hosting swanky date nights to sponsoring wedding days, we’ve gathered a little V-Day inspo to build relationships and boost engagements (maybe even the ring kind?).
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Make romantic restaurant reservations easier.
With Valentine’s Day falling on a Wednesday this year, restaurants will be overflowing with the post-workday rush of couples hoping to have a night out together. Reservations are going fast, even White Castle’s 300-plus locations are requiring bookings for its 33-year tradition of a Valentine’s Day Dinner from 4-9 p.m. on the big day.
Last year, Resy found that nearly one-in-three diners admits to feeling overwhelmed when tasked with organizing a restaurant reservation, so the brand planted a custom-built, larger-than-life “Reserved” table tent in a high-traffic area of New York’s Flatiron Plaza, where passersby were invited to participate in a mock restaurant experience to be matched with the restaurant that best fit their personal profile. Fun fact: Resy negotiated with its restaurant partners to hold the reservations for dates two weeks out—something that could help out last-minute planners or forgetful partners ahead of Valentine’s Day. Agencies: Shiraz Creative; Day One Agency; Dentsu; Universal McCann Worldwide; Hope & Glory; Zuzu Digital.
Elevate date night through partnerships.
For the season two launch of its original show “Love Life,” Max in 2021 hosted a four-day series of date nights at eight Black-owned restaurants in Atlanta, Detroit, L.A. and New York City. The streaming service partnered with events platform Black Restaurant Week and dating app BLK for the activations. Couples were greeted by a “Love Life” neon sign at the participating restaurants and presented with themed placemats and customized food and cocktail menus inspired by the series and its characters.
To engage fans who couldn’t make it to the IRL experiences, “Love Life Date Night” offered a virtual component where couples could participate at home by creating food and cocktail recipes featured across BLK and partnering restaurant social media channels. Agencies: CSM Sport and Entertainment (producers of “Love Life Date Night” and Black Restaurant Week partnership); zakHill (BLK brand partnership).
Treat consumers to sweet samples.
Godiva stopped traffic in NYC in 2022 when it unveiled a 20-foot by 24-foot square gold chocolate box in Herald Square and a 20-foot by 14-foot heart chocolate box in Flatiron Plaza. Celebrating the chocolatier’s 95th anniversary, both installations served as photo ops for passersby in the city. Making the activation sweeter, brand ambassadors gave away more than 10,000 Godiva chocolate samples and coupons over the two days. Agencies: Department of Wonder (experiential); Lippe Taylor (social, digital, p.r.).
Be a part of fans’ memorable milestones.
Russell Stover Chocolates went all in on an actual wedding in 2020 between a couple with the last names Russell and Stover in Barnstead, NH. Big fans of the chocolate brand, the couple welcomed Russell Stover into their big day, with the confectionery company providing custom boxes of chocolates, commemorative champagne flutes, Mason jars filled with chocolates as favors and a wedding cake from a local bakery. Russell Stover also outfitted the wedding party with bow ties, pocket squares and socks for the groomsmen, and robes and bouquet pendant charms for the bridesmaids. The final part of the marketing program, Russell Stover announced the wedding on social media with digital invitations and shared photos after the event took place. Agency: 160over90.
Crash a wedding, but make it a branding moment.
While Russell Stover was more on the heartwarming end of the wedding spectrum, Hard Mtn Dew took a hard left into stunt territory this past October. The beverage brand cordially invited future brides and grooms (over the age of 21) to apply for a once-in-a-lifetime giveaway: an all-expenses-paid wedding and travel for one lucky couple. The catch? The only people who were allowed to attend were wedding crashers. The motivation? The average price of a wedding is up to nearly $30,000.
This wasn’t the first time Hard Mtn Dew ventured into strange nuptials, having married a fan to a can in 2022, but it threw a wild ceremony and reception for the winning “HARD DEWlywed” couple Alina and Nicholas in Knoxville, TN, complete with a neon green “Wedding Crashers Wedding” branded backdrop, string lights, custom t-shirts, a “Hard Mtn Dew, I do” veil, can tab wedding rings, a guest book for the wedding crashers to sign and, of course, plenty of Hard Mtn Dew for the open bar.