Valentine’s Day spending is up, “fueled by consumers’ interest in celebrating the other important relationships in their lives,” according to the National Retail Foundation. As a result, food and restaurant brands are thinking outside the box of chocolates and leveraging Valentine’s Day to connect with diverse audience segments. Creative marketing campaigns are engaging parents of young children, singles, jilted exes and fast casual diners on Valentine’s Day.
“Kraft Mac Is For Lovers” Campaign For Parents
Kraft rolled out their Big Bowls Mac and Cheese to appeal to busy parents on Valentine’s Day. The “Kraft Mac Is For Lovers” campaign was intended to speak to parents who need help getting their kids “fed and to bed” so mom and dad can have time for love on the romantic holiday. The Kraft Valentine’s Ad includes the suggestive line: “More noodles and cheese so you can get them fed, get them to bed and get it on.” The cross-channel effort from Kraft involved a video, a social media push with the hashtag #KraftMacIsForLovers and a contest (that closed on February 9) to win Big Bowls with romantic accouterments such as candles and rose petals.
Burger King’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Campaign For The Broken Hearted
Burger King is partnering with Warner Brothers this Valentine’s Day and creating a campaign to capture the attention of the newly single, the comic book enthusiast and the movie lover. Harley Quinn’s ugly breakup with The Joker in Warner Brother’s Birds Of Prey is the inspiration for BK’s “Celebrate Harley Quinn’s Breakup” Anti-Valentine’s Day campaign. Consumers in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston can bring in physical photos of their exes to exchange for free Whoppers in “breakup box” packaging. BK patrons are encouraged to celebrate their new freedom and their love of a good burger on social media with the hashtag #BurgerQuinn.
White Castle’s Valentine’s Day Reservation-Only Dining For The Cravers
For almost 30 years, White Castle, America’s oldest fast-food chain, has been capitalizing on the tradition of dining out on Valentine’s Day with their reservations-only evening. The event features the brand’s famous sliders plus tablecloths, hostess seating, candles, flowers and live music in some locations. White Castle reports that, “Many Cravers have shared stories with us about meeting the loves of their lives, or forming lifelong friendships at our restaurants, so we look forward to hosting this special event every year to help our fans build even more memorable moments.” More than 30,000 people dined out at a White Castle location for Valentine’s Day in 2018, and the company now offers also a “Crave Case” dinner to go. White Castle reservations can be made through OpenTable.com, and customers are encouraged to post about their evenings on social media with a special Snapchat geofilter and the hashtag #LoveCastle.
Olive Garden’s Dinner For The Anti-Flower Bouquet Enthusiast
Breadstick lovers and homebodies are the targets of Olive Garden’s Valentine’s Day Campaign. With the tagline, “Plan the perfect night in,” Olive Garden hopes to increase take-out sales on an evening typically known for dining out. Their Valentine’s Day dinner for two to-go menu includes a breadstick bouquet with dipping sauce, soup or salad, a sharable pasta dish and a dessert, starting at $35. Olive Garden connects their brand with the Valentine’s Day holiday by adding breadstick bouquet wrapper messages such as, “We belong together like spaghetti and meatballs,” and “Love is letting you have the last breadstick.”
Valentine’s Day sales in the United States are on the rise, with the expectation to reach approximately $27.4 billion in 2020. Creative and innovative Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns are leveraging the desire to spend while connecting the holiday with brand messaging that resonates with diverse audiences.
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