Ad Nut
Feb 14, 2017

Love it or hate it, you can't stop Valentine's Day marketing

Ad Nut brings you a chocolate box full of romantic gestures from Asia-Pacific and global brands.

Love it or hate it, you can't stop Valentine's Day marketing

Like the December holiday season, advertisers cannot resist the siren call of Valentine's Day.

And it's no wonder, as according to a new Mastercard survey:

  • 44 percent of Asia-Pacific people plan on buying their loved one a gift. That figure rises to 75 percent in China and tops 60 percent in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Philippines.
  • People plan to spend an average of US$133 on gifts. People in China ($310), Hong Kong ($282) and Taiwan ($271) expect to spend the most, while Indonesia ($20), India ($22) and Philippines ($71) expect to spend the least.

Yet the Mastercard data also suggest that brands spending lavishly on Valentine's Day may be misguided, unless they are restaurants or florists.

While 44 percent plan to go out for a nice meal (despite the traditional set-dinner gouging that occurs in many markets), and 40 percent of men plan to give flowers (again despite predatory pricing practices), only 20 percent plan to buy clothes or leather goods, only 17 percent are thinking of jewelry and only 8 percent of high-end gadgets. 

OK, enough with the data-driven seriousness! Ad Nut loves romantic gestures as much as next warm-blooded creature. So here comes Ad Nut's by no means complete look at Valantine's Day-themed marketing efforts from the region this year.

Ad Nut will be grading on a scale of 0 to 5 ♥s, where 0 is like a kiss from your auntie and 5 is 'hot and bothered'.

Brand: Closeup
Agency: RG/A Singapore
Ad Nut would like to be the target of most of the moves described here, and fresh breath is a prerequisite for anyone hoping to get past Ad Nut's defenses. Gets the heart pumping, and it's on brand.


Brand: Jollibee
Agency: McCann Worldgroup Philippines
Score: ♥♥♥
This three-part Valentine series by Philippines-based fast-food brand Jollibee comes with the tagline "to all those who found joy in loving conditionally", and two of its episodes largely celebrate those who have been friend-zoned (spoiler alert). Ad Nut doesn't really like a lot of melodrama, and gets wary when something starts with "inspired by a true story". The 'Vow' episode, which is not unlike the chapter in Love, Actually with Keira Knightley, does get Ad Nut's vote of sympathy. With the cutthroat prices mentioned above, Ad Nut can get behind the idea of a fast-food meal on Valentine's Day.


Brand: Philips Lighting
Agency: Iris Singapore
To promote its Hue lighting products, the brand staged an improvisational version of Romeo & Juliet. The audience had control of the lighting, and the actors had to respond to the changing lighting cues. An original idea, but from the short snippet provided here, it doesn't appeal to Ad Nut's dramatic tastes. Perhaps you had to be there?  


Brand: Netflix
Score: ♥♥♥

Netflix has gone all-in on a multi-touchpoint campaign about monogamy versus "streaming infidelities"—watching episodes of a series without your partner. Pretty funny stuff, and Ad Nut appreciates the cynical nature of launching this around Valentine's Day. Ad Nut also awards extra points for Michael Bolton crooning 'How am I supposed to binge without you?' That said, the video views for the versions of these videos posted on Netflix Asia are miniscule. (Digression: Bolton is active right now promoting a new album and his Netflix special, so he also appeared on a recent edition of 'Honest Trailers', re-working songs from the original WIlly Wonka movie. Ad Nut highly recommends it.) 


Brand: Hershey's Kisses
Agency: N/A
Cute interviews about first kisses (not first Kisses), from the US. Extra points for diversity and inclusion. (Hat tip to Campaign US.)


Brand: Tanishq
Agency: 22 Feet Tribal Worldwide
Score: Zero ♥s

Buy gold, for everyone! That's the message here. Ad Nut supposes it's an OK ad if brand awareness is the goal, but the brand is well-known in India, so Ad Nut expected a bit more of an emotional kick. 


Brand: Scoot
The airline held a promotion asking women to surprise the men in their lives and take a video, with a chance to win free tickets. These two appear to be the only videos posted on the brand's Facebook, so it doesn't seem to have been a huge success. And anyway, the idea of doing something romantic for your partner so you can win airline tickets seems kind of counter to whole point of the day.


Brand: Australian Marriage Equality
This isn't a brand ad, it's a political ad. But anyone wanting to make a lifelong commitment is by definition romantic, and it's actually surprising that Australia doesn't have marriage equality already. So, yes, come on politicians, and do your job.


Brand: Levi's
Agency: FCB West
There's certainly a sexy spark between these two partygoers, and Ad Nut appreciates that they met in an old-fashioned analogue way. However, unless they already knew each other before the ad began, Ad Nut thinks maybe things are getting physical a bit too quickly. Slow down, you hot-blooded teenagers! The ad debuted in the US during the Grammys broadcast. (Hat tip to Campaign US.)


Brand: Mars
Agency: AMV BBDO

Nicely made film, and Ad Nut loves a lot of foreplay, so a long buildup is fine. But not when there's no payoff at the end. And this did not finish the job, as far as Ad Nut is concerned. (Hat tip to Campaign UK.)


Brand: Coco de Mer

Pamela Anderson was never Ad Nut's cup of tea. And perhaps no one loves her anymore, because she's spending Valentine's Day alone in this ad posted by the ad nuts at Campaign UK. At least she's planning to make the most of it, judging by the big reveal at the 1:10 mark. This makes a better ad for the item in that box than it does for perfume, however.

If this leaves you wanting more, here's a collection from our pals at Campaign in the UK.

If you've seen, or made, any notable Valentine's Day ads, please let Ad Nut know by commenting on Facebook or tweeting @CampaignAsia.

Ad Nut wishes you a romantic evening, or a sarcastic evening making fun of your coupled friends, or a happy evening doing whatever you choose with whomever you want! Just remember that Ad Nut loves you!

Ad NutAd Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for some unknown reason has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over the world and presents them for your viewing pleasure. Because Ad Nut loves you.

Need more ads? Visit Ad Nut's colleagues: Campaign UK | Campaign US | Campaign India | Campaign Turkey | Campaign Middle East


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