The Super Bowl is over, which means that all eyes are on Valentine’s Day. Companies are capitalizing on new technologies — like the metaverse — as well as evolving social norms to promote brand values and redefine popular perceptions of love, sex, and relationships.
Now that the Big Game is over, brands are (finally) starting to show Valentine’s Day some love. Here are five campaigns that have caught our attention:
Have you ever had a sandwich that was so delicious that you wished you could literally snuggle up with an oversized version of it on the couch? We haven’t either, but we’re sure someone has. KFC has heard those wishes and has created the “Sandwich Snuggler,” a giant (sadly inedible) plush pillow shaped like a giant chicken sandwich. Come to think of it, we can’t think of anything that might be more comforting in the throes of a post-Super Bowl hangover.
Brands (and everyone else, for that matter) are increasingly aware that Valentine’s Day advertising has historically shaped romance into a very narrow categorical box; couples depicted in Valentine’s Day ads overwhelmingly tend to be heterosexual, with the man buying a gift for the woman. That diminutive vision of romance, of course, does not map onto reality. In an effort to promote the brand’s message of inclusivity, the dating site OkCupid has launched a new campaign — in the form of a series of cards — celebrating love and affection in all of its colorful variety. The cards were designed by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists and tie in messages that are at times humorous and at others political.
Condom manufacturer SKYN also launched a Valentine’s Day campaign aimed at reconceptualizing how we define sex and relationships. Whereas the OkCupid campaign used art and pithy messages to achieve that goal, the new ad from SKYN uses numbers — specifically 02.14.22. “Valentine’s Day usually celebrates straight couples made of two binary people,” a woman’s voice in the ad intones. “But it can be about one, like you and yourself, or four, with two non-binary and two binary people, two gays or two lesbians.” The possibilities, as the ad implies, are as numerous as the number of conceivable combinations that can be made from the six numbers comprising today’s date.
Last week, Samsung launched a campaign in Samsung 837X, a virtual realm hosted in Decentraland that has been modeled after the company’s flagship store in New York City. In addition to unveiling some new Samsung products from a virtual stage, the company also seized the opportunity to capitalize on Valentine’s Day by scattering virtual hearts throughout the event and tying them into the “quest” on which guests embarked. There were some slight technical hiccups, but the company has chalked those up to a learning experience as they continue to find their footing in the brave new world of the metaverse.
Coffee company Sheetz teamed up with VaynerMedia to launch a Valentine’s Day campaign which pinpoints coffee as the focal point for a blossoming relationship. A nice approach, considering how many first dates revolve around coffee. (Coffee is also widely considered to be an aphrodisiac.) The campaign was launched on TikTok, which has become an essential media channel for brands hoping to reach younger consumers, including Gen Z. To a certain extent, the creative for the campaign was outsourced — the company partnered ”with a handful of TikTok filmmakers including @hallietut, @daphnedtle and @illys_films to do one thing – create a short love story that begins with two people connecting over a mutual love of Sheetz coffee.”