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Curbing Valentine's Controversy with Creativity | Mansfield Inc.

Mansfield Inc.

Many brands show the love on Valentine’s Day, but few put love on the line.

Some of the world’s biggest brands have been planning their annual Valentine’s Day PR stunts since February 15, 2014.  A bit like West Jet’s ‘Christmas Miracle’ or the UK’s John Lewis Monty the Penguin festive campaign, brands are not only trying to stay ahead of their own competitors, but many brands attempt to “out-do” themselves on their previous years’ efforts.  That said, not all stunts are equal and not all succeed in raising brand awareness and catching our attention.   

Historically, Valentine’s Day campaigns only carried weight with consumer friendly brands, but over the past few years there’s been a distinct shift in the mindset of savvy marketers who are masterminding these loving campaigns. 

This article from Marketing Magazine takes a look at some of the most talked about campaigns from this year – many of which are using humour as a way to engage with their audiences. One of the more quirky Valentine’s campaigns from a global brand is this year’s Audi commercial

Aimed at a U.S. audience, Audi cleverly positioned their campaign with the February 14th release of the film ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, which has had no shortage of controversy from domestic violence groups.

Given the campaign’s premise (Anastasia receives an Audi A3 in exchange for extending her relationship with Mr. Grey), it was very strategic to both identify the opportunity and take a satirical approach. SNL’s Vanessa Bayer does an excellent job of poking fun at the film (a very popular stance), while also managing to distance Audi from the film’s controversy.

There are certain elements of this campaign that really make it work. 

  • The use of satire makes the brand position extremely relatable
  • Audi’s subtle product placement helps build the campaign’s narrative and serves to validate the main character’s channeling of Anastasia  
  • It’s an Integrated Campaign that spans across TV, online and social media audiences
  • Topical – the timing of this ties in perfectly with the release of the movie, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
  • Edginess – it instantly captures consumers’ attention
  • Shareable – the advert plays out well across a variety of platforms and is making an impact on Twitter.

Is there a particular Valentine’s Day campaign that sticks in your mind?

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