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The History of Valentine’s Marketing Campaigns


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Hands 2 Valentine's Photo

Valentine’s Day may have been around since the 5th century, but for how long have businesses used the occasion as a springboard for their marketing campaigns? Join us in a look-back at some of the best and most interesting Valentine’s campaigns since the dawn of time (almost).

1940s

1940s Valentines Ad

First on our romantic pilgrimage through time is a war-time Ad from famous cake brand Aunt Jenny. Consistent with the style of advertising within that era which would be seen as highly offensive and sexist today, this ad paints the picture of a woman who bakes a love heart-topped cake for her husband and child in the hope of satisfying their stomachs. With a caption stating ‘Bake this better tasting cake and hear ‘em yell for more!’, the ad suggests food is the definitive way to a man’s heart.

1950s

1950s Valentines Ad

Love and chocolate have always been entwined together and the partnership shows no sign of splitting in the near future. This Whitman’s ad from 1950 highlights men’s inability to remember romantic occasions, accompanied with the slogan ‘It’s Remembering Day, Remember?’. Aimed at men of all ages, the campaign suggests you’re more likely to be remembered when giving the delicious gift of chocolate.

1960s

1960s Valentines Ad

The fizzy drinks giant that is Coca-Cola has been featured a number of times throughout our advertising blogs and with ad spends in excess of £2 billion in 2015, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Their 1960’s Valentine’s ad is a humble one – a heart-shaped coaster, a glass of Coke and two straws. Showing how all you need is Coke to have a good time, it’s short, sweet and refreshingly simple.

1970s

1970s Valentines Ad

The renowned decade of the seventies comes to life in this romantic ‘Love Bug’ ad from Volkswagen. Positioning the classic beetle models as ‘love bugs’ and with an image of two drivers having an awkward kiss, the German car manufacturer puts its cars in the thoughts of those in blossoming relationships.

1980s

1980s Valentines Ad

A lesser-known ad from the 80’s is that from vitamin retailer, Seven Seas. It rightly states, as everyone knows, that the true way to a man’s heart is through fish lipid concentrate capsules with natural vitamin E. No man can turn down a such a healthy supply of Omega 3.

1990s

1990s Valentines Ad

Poking fun at the stereotypically talkative female counterpart, florist, Interflora, gives customers the chance of getting “the first word in” this Valentine’s Day.

2000s

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Interflora came back in Valentine’s Day of 2001 with a more strategic campaign focused on the comical nature of a common relationship. The bold ads feature speech bubbles on light pink backgrounds, giving the impression that you’re witnessing a female talking to her partner. Quotes such as “It’s okay you left the toilet seat up, honey” and “No… I think your beer belly is sexy” mock the stereotypical opinions of women and aim to show how views can change when Interflora flowers are involved.

Present Day

IKEA Valentines Ad

IKEA caused some huge media attention with this twist on a traditional Valentine’s Day promotion. Posted throughout newspapers around the UK, the voucher for a free baby cot for newborns which arrive on the 14th November could be seen trending on social media and in the news feeds of people across the Country. IKEA aren’t strangers to perfectly-timed creativity, with their Back To The Future ad last year also very popular.

 

Dominos Tinder Valentines Ad

Domino’s also recently took their campaign targeting up a notch, offering pizza dates to millions of singles on dating app Tinder. As if knowing you’ll be lonely this Valentine’s Day wasn’t enough, Domino’s Pizza will be there to let you know.

 

Last on our list is Vodafone’s ‘The Kiss’ campaign, released in 2013. Arguably one of the most emotive Valentine’s ads created, the video is the most shared Valentine’s Day video campaign of all time. The 1.30 minute video shows a teenage couple meet and fall in love, followed by a sequence of scenes where they get a little older each time. Ending with ‘Good things should never end’, the campaign advertises the provider’s unlimited call and text tariffs.