First some History:(According to Wikipedia.org)

Valentines Day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards. In the second half of the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts. The US Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the US. These days, Valentine’s Day is considered by many to be a “Hallmark” holiday due to its over-commercialization.

Now that you have some background lets examine five issues common to communications at this time of year and see where you stand.

#1: Fluffernutter Language
The lead up to Valentines Day can be a mixed blessing for copywriters. Sure, we can use some over indulgent language this time of year but it doesn’t matter if you write prints ad, digital or blog posts the lead up to V-day is all about borderline poetry. That’s right, unless you whisper those sweet nothings into our ears via podcast your brand is destined to be left wanting…

My vote: “Let’s just being friends, on this one”

#2: Call-out boxes:
From an art director/designer perspective you also get to use some overly sappy images at this time of year. Time to get all those cheesy photoshop filters out of your system. You may get to use some drop shadows on groundhogs day (if you’re lucky) otherwise get it out of your system now cause you won’t get away with them again until Halloween. So go ahead, pump up the red tones and throw in some extra saturation but don’t get too excited that call from the client where they request a heart shaped call out box is lingering…

My Vote: When the client calls turn on the shower and say your washing your hair.
“Thanks for the making the effort on this one you’re our new BFF”

Courtesy AdsofTheWorld.com

By now your probably thinking I’m just a spoil sport. On the contrary this time of year has also produced some really great communications (like the one to the right) that makes my inner consumer swoon. Here are a few oldies but goodies to get your goose.

#3: Technology:

Everything these days seems to be about technology and social. That’s what I love about this ad. Granted its a not the newest ad on the block and references a song lyric old enough that most people using social may not have even heard the original. The phase is practically part of our venacular and the message is still relevant though. The ad uses a great mix of art & copy and a sugar-sweet tone complemented by a sarcastic under-current that is to die for.

My Vote: fire up the old Commodore 64 and invite your favorite squeeze over to make-out in front of the soft blue glow as you pocket dial one of your former creative directors.

#4: The Double-Take:

Courtesy AdsoftheWorld.com

These two samples one from Heineken the other from Axe take an extra second to absorb fully and the average consumer may just flip right by missing the real message. An interesting twist saying “Watch Out” clearly targeting young single guys looking for a good time without the commitment. Equally, effective on the same level is the Axe headline “Happy Valentine Days” implying that by using the product every day will be like Valentines day.

My Vote: For anyone that’s gone looking for love in a crowded bar on V-day knows the flirty double-take is not to be overlooked. Neither should “Big Data” for that matter but these classics prove you are better knowing your target market and following writer’s instinct. Well at least until the robots start writing for you. When AI gets that advanced feel free to knock back a few, but don’t let Rosie the robot see you perspire.

#5: Class Warfare:
I know what you’re thinking where are the samples of the low-brow/high concept ads that no V-day post would be complete without? OK fine if you’ve read this far I’ll assume you’re not just in this for cheap thrills. However, I will counter point the low brow with a high class example. Both are great visual solutions requiring very little text.

Food Ads
Courtesy Ads of the World.com

My Vote:
It doesn’t matter if your favorite drink is St. Pauli Girl or a vintage Bordeaux we all need to eat, so get those Valentines dinner reservations in early people.

As far as I see it: Valentines marketing can be shallow, needy and downright annoying, (much like your ex) but it can also be engaging or incredibly touching like this one from India.

Courtesy AdsofTheWorld.com

So, where do you stand?

Valentines Marketing…Love it? Leave it?
or get to know it better?