Social media is killing social interaction, cry critics. But Valentines’ Day shows how people and brands are sharing the love online and getting creative with their virtual wooing.
Depending on your relationship status, levels of cynicism, shareholding in local restaurants and general mental stability (pet owners apparently spend £54 million on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets…), February 14th is something to be embraced wholeheartedly, ignored completely or begrudgingly participated in.
It’s certainly not going away anytime soon, as sales of chocolates, roses and last minute cards shows. But what is changing is how we’re increasingly incorporating technology into the occasion.
And with millions of us splashing the cash it’s the perfect time for businesses to romance their customers. The last couple of years in particular have seen some brilliant ways that brands have engaged with their consumers via clever, creative social media campaigns.
Innocent Smoothies offered love thirsty customers the opportunity to create their own love label online, then print them out to wrap around their other half’s drink, and also share their handiwork on social media.
Marks and Spencer customers could win a range of classy Valentine’s gifts by using the hashtag #sharethelove and Heineken created a Facebook app called The Seranade, allowing drinkers to create a personalised serenade for their partner. Last year they went one better and offered couples a mystery #DateInABox that could only be opened if the man was prepared to share his feelings on Instagram….
But you don’t need to spend a lot of time and money coming up with an idea. Ikea came up with a clever and simple ad and shared it online. As did everyone who saw it.
A recent survey shows only Xmas Eve is a more popular time than Valentine’s to propose. Just spitting it out and asking the question remains the most common way to ask. But in second place, above using extravagant gestures, songs, poems and erm dance, is the use of technology.
Nothing encapsulates this development more aptly than when a Facebook employee asked his Twitter employee girlfriend to marry him by sending her a video (via Twitter of course) featuring a Facebook Graph Search of photos of the two of them – before popping up to pop the question. Awwwww.
But if, like many people, you hate the whole thing then perhaps you could look into resurrecting ‘Vinegar Valentines’ – abusive Valentine’s cards our Victorian ancestors sent consisting of an insulting drawing and a rude poem.
Now that sounds tailor made for today’s social media….