Lenny's News and Interviews
Marketers use social media for Valentine promotionsFebruary 11, 2011
By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY
It wasn't that long ago that couples ached to get physical on Valentine's Day. These days, many would rather get virtual.
Some of the biggest brands are turning to social media for Valentine's Day. Major marketers from Mattel (MAT) to Victoria's Secret (LTD) to CBS (CBS) are pushing holiday hype on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
The driver: to get Valentine's Day exposure. The average person will spend $116 for Valentine's merchandise, up 12.8% from 2010. Total spending: $15.7 billion, the National Retail Federation says.
"Valentine's Day is all about being social," says digital consultant Rebecca Lieb. "Facebook and Twitter let a virtual Valentine's Day gift be known throughout one's entire network — so there's a great deal of brand resonance."
Some Valentine's Day social movers:
•Mattel. The toy kingpin's social-media campaign asks folks to vote on whether Barbie and Ken (who split on Valentine's Day 2004) should get back together.
Ken is desperate to win Barbie back, and the public relations campaign has played out on Facebook and Twitter. Ken keeps posting about his grand romantic gestures to prove that even though he's plastic, his love for Barbie is real.
It's not just about clicks, but purchases. The social-media noise drives folks to BarbieandKen.com to vote on whether the two should reunite. On Feb. 14, Barbie's Facebook page also becomes a virtual store, where folks can buy Barbie & Ken stuff. It's the first time Mattel has sold items on Facebook, says Lauren Bruksch, Barbie marketing chief.
•Victoria's Secret. Victoria's Secret has racy e-Valentines that it's urging folks to e-mail or send via social network. Senders select from sexy pictures and expressions that Victoria's Secret posts on its website. Women have the option of including a photo of the Victoria's Secret gift they want.
•CBS. To promote its new comedy Mad Love, CBS, through Feb. 14, has a virtual gift app on the show's Facebook page that lets users send virtual hearts emblazoned with this: MAD 4U.
•Rovio Mobile. A Valentine's Day edition of Angry Birds— the popular video game in which players use a slingshot to launch birds at pigs — is available for iPhone, iPad and Android. Users can go to Facebook to send Angry Birds-themed valentines.
•Mulberry. Digital flowers that wait until Valentine's Day to "bloom" are available from Mulberry, the British apparel maker. On Feb. 14, when the recipient clicks on the flower "seed" they've been sent, it blooms.
•Lenny's Sub Shop. The sub chain launches a sub giveaway on its Facebook page on Feb. 14. Says CEO George Alvord, "The quickest way to win someone's heart is through their stomach."
Contact Lenny's Public Relations:Jenna Duett
Marketing and PR Manager