Consumer Behavior · Trends

How brands make us fall in love with them each valentine’s day

Valentine’s Day: a day of national panic. We either freak out about being alone, or we freak out about the expectations from our significant other. Should I get flowers? Or maybe send a postcard? Whether we like the day or not, every February Valentine’s Day is just kind of nagging in the back of our heads.

Brands, of course, love it! It’s the perfect opportunity for them to spice up their marketing by playing with our insecurities. Not enough money to invite your girl/boyfriend on a lovely diner? McDonalds offers you a way out with their weirdly fancy Valentine’s Menu. Or maybe doubting whether or not to send that postcard to your crush? Greetz says that could only end up in a happily ever after.

Playing with newsworthiness in marketing is called Newsjacking: every time a big (inter)national event comes up, celebrity scandals become public, there are political changes  etc., we see brands linking their marketing to it. And it works! We seem to be hooked on these newsjackings. Admittedly, they can be awesome. Here’s why newsjacking works, and how awesomely some brands implement it in their marketing strategy:

Success factor 1: Stopping power

Whenever a brand presents a commercial or something that links to a big event, it causes people to stop and pay attention to it more often: the stopping power. The funny thing is that a commercial doesn’t even need to have a brilliant hook (of course, it helps). Just mentioning or showing the event (valentine’s day, in this case) will make people more aware of the message. Newsjacking ads are read approximately 9% more often than regular ads.

Just look at the simplicity of this ad from Heineken. It’s brilliant and small – just by mentioning valentine’s day and adding a personal heart, this ad creates stopping power. That’s quite awesome!



Success factor 2: Talk value

People tend to remember newsjacking ads more easily than regular adds. Our brain is key in this process: the theme of the ad is probably top-of-mind. On a day like this, we automatically tend to think about this event. So, Valentine’s day is the key concept. Everything that revolves around it is remembered more easily, because of this ‘valentine’s day path’ in our brains. Simply said: whenever we think about valentine’s day, we think of that ad we saw about it.

And if it is a really remarkable ad, be it because it’s simply well-designed or because it’s controversial, it also creates a talk value, which is really important for brands. It not only creates awareness about the brand among their specific target group, but this target group also spreads the word for them, leading to an increased reach of such ads.

Take this one for example. Minivegas is a creative production company, offering (amongst others) in-house interactive installations. For valentine’s day, they created the ‘luv u long time’ website. This website spreads the hate about valentine’s day. It filters Twitter for Tweets including the words ‘fuck’ and ‘valentine’. These tweets are then uploaded on their website as little hearts. Click on a heart and the Tweet appears. Want to comfort your fellow valentine’s day-hater? Just click on the ‘Awww, come here’ button and spread some love to him/her!

love u long time

Wouldn’t you want to tell your valentine’s day-sceptic friends about this awesome website? I would!

Success factor 3: Likeability

Last, but not least, it’s all about the likeability factor! That’s the ultimate goal: getting people to like/love your brand. Research has shown that newsjacking ads are more appreciated than normal ones, and that more than half of the people exposed to the ad viewed it as a sympathetic brand.

Just look at this last example. It’s a Coca-Cola ad that just puts a smile on your face when you watch it. Love is literally in the air, and it’s wonderful!

So: it’s all about newsjacking! The ads are not only effective, they are usually very fun to watch. I’m really curious to know if you guys know any other newsjacking ads. Let me know in a comment!

By: Kim van der Vliet


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s