Manufacturers focus on positioning products for the big back-to-school and holiday seasons, but those who are plugged in understand that Valentine’s Day ranks third in consumer spending. In 2010, the National Retail Foundation predicted a four percent decline in Valentine’s Day spending from 2009 to $14.1 billion (anecdotal reports from retailers show that Valentine’s Day spending did indeed decrease for the second straight year). But not all of that purchasing power was tied to gestures of romantic love. Christina Cheddar Berk, news editor for CNBC, reported that couples intended to spend less on each other, but more on friends, co-workers and pets this year.
“The economy… forced consumers to rethink their gift giving practices,” said Phil Rist, executive vice president of Strategic Initiatives at BigResearch, the firm that conducted the survey for the NRF. Rist accurately predicted that “Personal and unique gifts will speak volumes this Valentine’s Day as consumers dig deep into their hearts and not their wallets.” What does this all mean? Marketers who saw success this Valentine’s Day were the ones who positioned their products in a relevant and meaningful way.
One great example comes from our client, New England Confectionery Company, which has churned out billions of tiny candy hearts for more than 163 Valentine’s Days. This year, they dazzled consumers with all new flavors and brand new sayings that were dreamed up by Americans and submitted in an online contest. The top two phrases demonstrated America’s obsession with social networking and technology – Tweet Me and Text Me. Rounding out the Top 10 were a mix of classics and refreshed favorites.
To give consumers more ways to engage with the brand, Sweethearts created a Twitter application that allowed users to send a virtual box of hearts with personalized messages via email or Twitter.
The public relations campaign for the product garnered a significant amount of media impressions during the week leading up to and including Valentine’s Day, with notable hits on The Early Show, The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning and NPR.
What type of launch campaign will you conduct to get your product on the lips of lovers next Valentine’s Day?