Valentine's Day is right around the corner.

Most couples are focused on customary expressions of love. Roses and gifts, a weekend away or dinner for two. This company has the perfect Valentine's gift for her.

Funeral arrangements.

You read that right. It seems a funeral home thought planning your significant other's funeral would be the perfect valentine's day gift. It's a bizarre idea that's far more likely to damage your relationship.

Valentine's day is about relationships

It's a chance for couples to share their love with each other. These days though, many couples feel Valentine's Day is boring. A recent study by Groupon, found 80 percent of couples will celebrate Valentine's this year. Here's the catch; 53 percent of those people feel they do the same boring things year after year.

So, what's the solution? Groupon's study shares the answer.

"Nearly 80 percent of respondents said that sharing an experience after dinner with their partner is the key to having the perfect Valentine’s Day. The top experiences that participants said they’d like to try included: attending a concert, getting locked in an escape room, touring a cultural attraction and taking a cooking class."

Long story short, couples want to be fascinated. To have an incredible experience they can share with their significant other. Ideally, this experience is something that cements the relationship, making it stronger and more secure.

Valentine's day is a recipe for disappointment

This disappointment is a wonderful opportunity. It gives marketers the tools and resources they need to build stronger relationships with their customers. This opportunity has been wasted by the vast majority of brands so far.

Valentine's day marketing campaigns are typically cheesy.

Jewelry, flowers and chocolates are the boring staples marketers fall back on. Here's the problem with these tropes.

They're losing their meaning.

Typically these product ideas aren't really focused on nurturing relationships between couples. They're focused on manipulating couples. Ads prime couples, creating desire for products and services.

Create "new" experiences to create meaning

Your marketing doesn't have to be stale, repetitive or boring. You don't have to force the same tired tropes on your customers. With a little effort, you can create wonderful experiences for your customers on Valentine's day. The question is how?

Kirby Ferguson has the answer.

Ferguson is a New York filmmaker. He created the series "Everything is a Remix." In his series he showed that all original material, every innovative idea or groundbreaking discovery depended in some way on material that came before it. He shared the simple formula these creators used to make something "new."

Copy, Transform, Combine.

But how would that work for Valentine's day?

  • Copy the ideas behind legendary marketing campaigns. Find fresh ideas or innovative ideas. Things you feel will work for your campaign. Then you...
  • Transform the campaign. You take an existing idea and you create something new. You rearrange things, add new ideas from other places and modify existing campaigns to fit your needs. Finally you...
  • Combine these changes into something new. Continually combine old ideas you've transformed to create something that feels surprising and fresh, yet familiar and safe.

You'll need to do this in a way that addresses the obvious and hidden problems customers have. Men typically don't know what to get/do for their spouse, while women want something specific from their spouse. Copy, transform, combine works well because it gives marketers the tools they need to create a profitable Valentine's day campaign that converts.

What does this look like in action?

Campaign #1: BOGO for a kiss

Qdoba Mexican Grill created a simple Valentine's day promotion. BOGO for a kiss.

"Qdoba guests who pucker up with a significant other, friend, family member or understanding stranger will receive a free entrée with the purchase of an entrée"

This campaign created lots of smiles, plenty of laughter and lots of love. They went on to state "No coupon is required. All guests need to participate is a pair of lips and a willing smooching partner!"

Why it works

This campaign works because it attracts more of the right people. Customers who are willing and able to buy. These customers are already interested buyers. It increases customer goodwill and it spreads love. Customers buy a product but it's not the focus.

Campaign #2: Steamy adult meals

Burger King created fascination with their controversial move. They created "adult meals" offering to give their older customers an "adult toy" when they purchased an Adult meal from participating locations.

YouTube video

This promotion was only available after 6 p.m. on Valentine's Day and only at a specific location in Tel Aviv, Israel. But their risqué promotion generated a large amount of international publicity and sales. Customers all over the world are begging for the promotion to be offered in their location.

Why it works

This wasn't an officially sanctioned promo from Burger King, but it wasn't unofficial either. A single location was given the freedom they needed to create something unique to attract more customers and sales. It worked remarkably well.

It works because it uses copy, transform, combine for maximum effect.

It takes the traditional role of the kids meal, and it turns it on its head, playing on the unspoken thoughts floating around on Valentine's day. It's easy to get wrong but their caution and understated approach paid off.

Campaign #3: Give your man a tasty rose

Doritos used Valentine's day to create something unique. A bouquet of roses... made from "ketchup" flavored Doritos. Their first round of handmade roses sold out in minutes. They resupplied and sold out again... in minutes.

YouTube video
Doritos used this promotion to attract a massive amount of attention earning more than 56 million impressions over the course of their campaign.

Why it works

Doritos took the traditional gift - roses, and they created something new. They used Copy (selling roses), Transform (roses made out of Doritos), Combine (offer Doritos roses as a bouquet of flowers) for maximum effect.

You can do it too.

The keyword here is surprise. Valentine's day is boring for most of your customers. Most marketers are boring. They're going through the motions. You can be different.

Just Copy, Transform and Combine.

Infuse your campaigns with emotion and meaning. Use psychological triggers like mystique, passion, alarm, prestige, trust, power and rebellion to create something new. Make relationships and experience your focus. Fascinate your customers; build an experience around your product. Give them meaning and customers will reward you with conversions in return.


Featured image source

First In A Decade: Valentine’s Day Consumers Expected to Spend Less
5 Easy Ways to Leverage Amazon Pay Per Click for More Sales
• 5 Steps to Avoid Paying the ‘Stupid Tax’ and Maximize ROI Using Google AdWords