Depending on your point of view, Valentine's Day is either the most romantic day of the year, or a cynical ploy designed to separate gullible lovebirds from their hard earned cash, which was originally birthed for the sole reason that a group of meddling Christians tried to whitewash an obscure Pagan holiday back in the 18th century. Personally, I'm with the latter (I'm a pragmatic guy), but that doesn't stop the 14th of February from rolling around every year and sending couples everywhere into a tizzy. So every restaurant over the sun excretes an exorbitant Valentine's menu, the latest piece of Hollywood rom-com dross turns a tidy profit at the local cineplex (this year I believe it's something a little more racy, though no less shitty), and ad world falls over itself to tap into the hysteria. This year is no different, so to (at least attempt to) get into the spirit, let's explore a trio of the seasons most loved-up ads.
The Sexy Delights of Europe
In this cheeky digital spot from adam&eveDDB, the romantic delights of Europe are explored in a rather risqué piece featuring everything from naked art and gigantic stone phalluses, to more oblique, visual double entendres (just watch the video). It's certainly not your bog-standard Valentine's ad, instead choosing to show what a romantic European getaway on Valentine's Day should really be about; the sex. The spot has already been causing a stir on social media thanks to the #lustminute hashtag, and whilst the more overt sexual elements of the spot obviously wouldn't pass outside of the less restrained realm of the internet, there's a brace of PR, press, CRM and more being rolled out by Lastminute.com to extol the virtues of Europe as the ultimate sexy destination.
This cheeky spot from adam&eveDDB explores the sexy delights of Europe
Amanda Cumine, brand and communications director at lastminute.com, said that with the video they, “Want to put a smile on people’s face or pink flush on their cheeks and reinforce Lastminute's irreverent brand personality.” She calls Valentine’s Day “A great occasion to remind everyone how fun spontaneity is and the reasons to love living last minute,” and feels that doing so in a bit of a “Cheeky way,” sits at the heart of everything they do. She adds that the campaign fits the brand's passion to “Let the unexpected happen more often,” and that it's a great way of showcasing their more “Playful and quirky traits through various channels.”
This ambitious Japanese spot for the Belgian chocolate brand Godiva, underlines the fact that Valentine's Day has become something of a ritualistic event in Japan, where giving chocolates has become more of a clinical obligation than a romantic surprise. Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon has created a campaign called “Surprise Messenger” to combat this growing indifference towards the romantic holiday. It focuses on a special Godiva messenger, who delivers messages of love (and Godiva chocolates of course) to unsuspecting people with the kind of stealth moves Solid Snake himself would be jealous of. It's incredibly twee, but gets the message across well, and manages to flog the brand's “Godiva Mask Card,” which lets potential Casanovas send chocolates with a special message, whilst hiding their identity with a mask.
Show The Love
The UK's largest curated marketplace challenges the UK to #ShowTheLove in its new Valentine's Day focused campaign from WCRS. The campaign, which also includes press and digital activity, is centred around a TV spot that encourages us to show affection, even though we live in a society that frowns on public displays of affection. It tells the story of a couple's romance through the story of a mixtape (anyone who ever tried courting in the 90's will be more than familiar), which is then immortalised in a framed mixtape print as a Valentine's Day gift when the cassette eventually breaks (as they often did).
Notonthehighstreet.com challenges the UK to #ShowTheLove in its new Valentine's Day focused campaign from WCRS
Emma Marsland, WCRS managing partner, said the agency “Sought to capture the heady days of early bashful romance all the way through to sensible grown up mature love via that old favourite wooing tool; the mix tape.” She adds that, by typing “Mix tape” into the notonthehighstreet.com site, you'll unleash “A wave of extraordinary themed products,” which she feels proves that the site “Has the gift for any type of love.” Notonthehighstreet.com marketing director Ben Carter, adds that the site is “Fast establishing itself as the destination for thoughtful gifting,” so this year they wanted to “Encourage consumers to put a bit more thought into their romance.”
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer from Kidderminster in the UK. He plans to spend this Valentine's Day playing Super Smash Brothers with his buddies and drinking (probably) too much beer. But then, he is a perpetual man-child.