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How to click the right button for Valentine’s Day advertising

Bestmediainfo.com speaks to a few creative veterans to find out the dos and don’ts of Valentine’s Day advertising

As Valentine’s Day is approaching, brands also just can’t stop advertising. A lot of advertising has been done around the occasion on the digital medium and even through television and other platforms.

BestMediaInfo.com spoke to a few creative veterans to find out the dos and don’ts of Valentine’s Day advertising.

Anupama Ramaswamy

“Thank you Archies, for introducing us to Valentine's Day,” said Anupama Ramaswamy, National Creative Director, Dentsu Impact.  Over the years, she has come to realise that there are only few occasions that are as emotionally divisive as Valentine's Day. Some people look forward to it, others detest it, and even more ignore it. Or worse, run away from it.

If you are single, it can be nauseating to see love-struck couples flooding social media pages with mushy images. But if you are in a relationship, the peer pressure might kill you.

Imagine the expectations you need to live up to.

Anil K Nair

Anil K Nair, Managing Partner, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi mentioned, “What should have been a harmless amorous expression, has been polarised in recent times with Tinderisation on one hand and ‘desi propriety’ on the other, fighting for moral  high ground in this land of the Kamasutra. Given the quicksand of public emotion and prudishness, brands need to tread carefully while aligning with this growing phenomenon, especially among the impressionable youth.”

Kapil Mishra

Kapil Mishra, Executive Vice-President and Executive Creative Director, Contract Advertising, said, “Get insights — this approach still works. It connected with people when they didn't have newspapers. This connects with people when they don't read newspapers. Secondly, go beyond insights — a good planner can also get insights. But that doesn't turn it into a good ad. Use the insight in a creative way. The ad should have the insight. The insight shouldn't be the ad.”

“Get humorous,” agree Ramaswamy, Mishra and Nair. “Humour is good; makes the ad memorable,” said Ramaswamy.

“Do ensure that your brand’s amorous intervention brings a smile to people’s faces and is share worthy. The last thing you want is heartbreak because your creative is not getting the desired attention,” added Nair. Mishra quipped, “It's only a Valentine's Day. Have fun. Don't take it too seriously.”

Talking about usage of colours, Mishra said, “Use many colours of love — pink is good. Respect that. And move on.” “Using red on Valentine’s Day works, but never force it,” observed Ramaswamy.

Spread love. Nair mentioned, “Do ensure that you brief your agency with love and with enough time for them to come up with good ideas.” “Whatever you do, do it with love — It's Valentine Day after all,” said Mishra.

“Men honestly and truly are the romantic sex (trust me, they blow more money). So skew a larger amount of your budget towards men, aged between 25-40 years. Coax them, scare them, and do whatever it takes to make them spend. And spend more than others. Or else how in hell will they flaunt it on social media,” pointed out Ramaswamy.

It also depends on whom you are targeting with your communication. “Do ensure that your creative is able to woo millenials. The grammar of love has changed in recent times,” said Nair. Mishra told, “Don't do it for people above 70 — let them concentrate on meditation.”

However, Ramaswamy feels that brands should not make Valentine’s Day only about couples. “Don't single out the singles. Remember self-love is the biggest love. Promote enough of that. Encourage consumers to purchase gifts for friends, family, pets and most importantly themselves. Make them feel the need to be pampered. Actually, women are more likely to buy gifts for themselves or people than their significant other,” she added.

“Try and stay away from mush and long boring emotional treatises on love. People do not need your advice. Do not try and be clever. Valentine’s Day is a win/lose affair for many people. Better not to fray any nerves,” suggested Nair.

Don’t go overboard, thinks Ramaswamy. “Keep your ideas simple. Love is complicated anyway. The last thing you want to do is convolute the message in your ads. Don’t feel the need to be overtly lovey-dovey or cheesy to see success. A good campaign is one which has a great balance of heart, wit and branding, while keeping all your consumers in mind,” she said.

Cut out the cliches. “Do stay away from the cliches. Love has many forms and expressions in today’s liberated times,” said Nair. “Heart in design, and love in copy is a cliche,” added Ramaswamy.

Mishra brought out, “Don't make it Valentine's advertising — if, from the very appearance it looks like advertising designed for Valentine's Day, you have already lost the battle. Just do it the same old, boring way. Make it unpredictable and engaging. Also, don't play Bryan Adams or Ed Sheeran — unless you are changing the words or changing the singer. Better go with the first option.”

Kindly do not hard sell your product or plug your brand. It’s a big downer. “Do ensure that your brand is ‘love compatible’. Not all brands are. Nor are many categories,” said Nair. “Don't do it for tyres, Chyavanprash and ball bearings,” Mishra added.

Do indulge the last-minute buyer. “There is always going to be consumers who wait until the very last minute to make a purchase. So highlight that. Whether you advertise a countdown or offer last-minute deals appealing to the last minute shoppers, these can lead them right to you, and away from the competitors. These are the guys, who wait to see what others are doing, and then decide how much they need to spend,” Ramaswamy said.

Early bird does win the race. “The benefit of launching a campaign early is having the option to beat out the competition. Not only do you get a jumpstart, but you can also see what’s working and what’s not, giving you time to improve your own campaign,” added Ramaswamy.

The last thing a brand needs on Valentine’s Day is rejection. Thankfully, love is flexible in terms of advertising. “We can talk about the love between people, or the love they have for our product. We can be sincere to the concept of love, or we can indulge the singles with cynicism. We can poke fun at the day, or treat it very seriously. We can give tips to the singles, or suggest activities specific to couples,” Ramaswamy told.

How about being different by not doing anything for Valentine’s Day? Unless your brand really has to. There are many other days of the year for a brand to connect with its audience. Our country is populated enough and I'm sure our people need no further encouragement! “Till then the song that comes to mind is ‘Pyaar kiya to darna Kya’,” quipped Nair.


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