BrandArena: Valentine: Marketing Ploy or Day of Love?

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Valentine: Marketing Ploy or Day of Love?

When Emperor Claudius led Roman Empire sentenced Valentine, a catholic priest to death, in 269 AD for conductingsecret weddings, they never dreamt that he would eventually be venerated as the grand patron of lovers globally within decades.

Every 14th of February is recognized in many countries across the world as the anniversary of Valentine's Day - as a remembrance for his death. St. Valentine's Day is today perceived as a big business and shopping window. It regarded by many as the "second largest card sending holiday of the year," after Christmas.

According to the 2013Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey presented by US- based Statistic Brain Research Institute, the average annual Valentine’s Day spending last year was around $13.19 billion while the number of Valentine’s Day cards exchanged was valued at $180 Million. Average number of roses produced for Valentine’s Day is $196 million; revenue of domestically cut flowers in the United State alone was given as $403 Million while annual revenue from jewelry stores for the period was $2.2 billion.
With this huge commercial drive around this season, would proponents of protectionism be wrong if they continue to complain that a special dedicated for charity has been hijacked by capitalist for financial gains?

In Nigeria, the euphoria for Valentine is rapidly becoming a strategic avenue for brands to key-in and attract customers. Most brands are capitalizing on this romantic holiday to create their own special twist by strategically finding the right marketing ideas for your business.
From cinemas to cakes shops, hotels to resort centres, aviation sector to Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), brand owners have perfected the act of unleashing several marketing strategy through discount offer, campaigns and promotions to lure customers through this growing marketing window.

For a growing number of online retailers, Valentine's Day is a key revenue driver. This is because a wider range of products are being purchased by consumers as Valentine's gifts.  Ranging from a standard gift selection of chocolates, roses and fine dining, brands will continue to expand their equity through various online marketing strategies. Hence, such online marketing platforms like Konga, Jumia, BuyRight, Mystore, Dealdey all benefited from the Valentine rave as more Nigerians will deploy the e-commerce industry to advantage.

Within the drinks and beverage brand category, the Fayrouz brand which positions itself as a youthful and fun-loving has continued to support"Love Like A Movie” Concert conceptualised by Nigerian R 'n' B singer, Dare Art Alade. The second edition of the concert which took place last Saturday in Lagos, contributed to the visibility and brand reputation of the premium drink.

Most restaurants also introduced various marketing extras in a bid to cash in on the Valentine rave. Offers such as ‘buy one entree and get the second free’ is usually a strategy deployed to lure more customers into their Valentine nest for their profit. Already, Tastee Fried Chicken hasintroduced a ‘Love Gig’ package offering to its teeming customers thrilling experience.

The CEO of Absolute PR, Mr. Akonte Ekine, stated that every season that brings the people together for celebration, love and sharing is an avenue for marketing. He noted that more companies are beginning to attach their campaigns and promotions to the Valentine’s Day.

“Of course valentine is a marketing opportunity for brands to key-in just like Christmas, New Year and other celebrations. Whether it is efficiently been utilized is another question entirely”, he said.

Commenting on the issue, Head of Media JSP Communications, Mrs. Favour Ojiabor, stated that smart organization are beginning to leverage on the season by engaging their customers by sharing the celebration with them.

"It's a mixture of the two. Smart organizations leverage great occasions to generate value and enhance reputation. Love, which Valentine connotes, is an indispensable antidote for value, achievement and fulfillment. This demystifies why Valentine will continue to avail brands with great marketing communications windows to interact with customers".

"Actually, the essence of valentine is believed to show love to others, probably there was no marketing intention before now but these days many companies are beginning to see the opportunities in the season and tends to promote their products by using communicating messages that have marketing undertone which drives customers to purchase their brands for their loved ones hence satisfying the motive of the sellers. All these marketing communication messages are done from January when the New Year celebration is over and it is done through advertising, sponsorship and other IMCs", Ibrahim Shitta, a brand communicator said.

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