Why Valentine’s Isn’t All Hearts and Flowers for PRs

By Ruth Davison, Marketing Manager

For many Valentine’s Day is a day full of hearts, roses and excitement about what plans their beloved has in store for them. For many however it’s a day full of misery and dread. These people fall into two categories: singletons and PRs.

Whilst for the singletons it may be obvious why the day is associated with bitterness and sick-in-mouth moments but it may not be clear to everyone why PRs and journalists don’t look forward to it. From the outside it may seem that Valentine’s Day is a dream; crammed full of commercial opportunities. After all you can’t walk into a shop without seeing hearts and teddy bears at every turn….but that’s the problem.

The Valentine’s market, like many notable days or holidays, is saturated beyond belief. With everyone wanting to get in on the action how can you stand out?

Here’s a few tips:

  1. Valentine’s Day isn’t just the 14th of February. 

As you will have noticed just from popping out to get milk, Valentine’s Day promotions start almost as soon the New Year’s confetti has been swept off the floor. PR campaigns can start just as early. It’s the same date every year. People aren’t going to forget it’s happening or miss the link just because you sell your story in on February 10th. Remember the market is saturated, so not only will your story have less of an impact if you push things out on the day but chances are it may not even get picked up at all.

  1. Think Outside The Rose Coloured Box

Easier said than done, we know, but you suggest a Valentine’s campaign and we’ll find you a dozen examples of it having already been done. We get it ok- couples love each other; couples spend X amount of money on Valentine’s; couples probably have sex twice as much on Valentine’s Day….yeah, no shit.

When devising a campaign think about the reality of your own life. Would you rather have some flowers that will die in a few days or a meaningful symbol of affection? Can you even afford to take your partner out for a slap up meal? How many crap gifts have you received over the course of your life? Do you only tell your partner you love them on February 14th? Do you even like Valentine’s Day? If this is true for you, it’s probably true for your audience.

Unless you’re a sickly, hopeless romantic the chances are that it will be just another day for most people. A day when people may treat their partner by making them a cup of tea or by paying more attention to their personal hygiene than normal so why not talk openly about those things? Refreshing honesty might be just the way to stand out from the crowd.

  1. Not everyone is in love

News flash! Not everyone has a special someone to buy them roses, a smug looking bear or take them out for dinner. Granted many may be quite content that way but do you really want to alienate a large percentage of your audience?

Over the last few years this reality has dawned on many with an increase in ‘Galentine’s’ and ‘Single People Awareness Day’ on the 15th. Whilst somewhat twee and mildly patronizing there is clearly an alternative market to target around this time so why not capitalize on it.

Be brave. Use this audience as inspiration to take a brave new approach, whether it has increased sales of ice cream or a serious look at the negative impact that the day has on people’s lives. Nobody ever achieved anything by playing things safe.

  1. Think about why you want to use Valentine’s Day

Obviously there will be some brands, products or services that are more suited to the day than others and their PR teams will want to run campaigns at this time of the year. But does your brand really look to gain anything from using Valentine’s or are you just jumping on the band wagon?


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