Falling in Love: How Companies Market to an Emotion

Ah yes… Valentine’s Day. For some people, this is a day celebrating love and romance but for others, it’s just a reminder of how single they are. Whatever the case is, we can all agree that all of the marketing around the holiday is very similar- colors of red and pink, people in relationships, and lots of chocolate, flowers, and jewelry. Every year, we all get bombarded with these images, but yet time and time again, they remain successful. Take Tiffany and Co., for example. The company itself profits from love with Fox Business sharing they had a 15% increase in sales just in 2019 alone. How do these companies take an emotion and make a profit off of it? Well, for many companies, it’s rather simple. 

      1. They think outside of the box

Everyone knows that chocolate, flowers, and jewelry are best sellers on Valentine’s Day (Dropship Academy). Many companies, however, utilize the holiday to their best advantage. LARQ, a water bottle company, sold water bottles for couples back in 2020 that offered a personalized option for all the lovebirds out there to write a message to their significant other on the water bottle. This allowed them to continue selling for the holiday while taking full advantage of love. 

      2. They remain authentic

Well, maybe not always. We’ve all seen the commercials with the couple’s cozy on the couch drinking coffee and one of them pulls out a beautiful ring and flowers but in reality, love isn’t always that stereotypical. In 2021 however, Pandora interviewed real people and real relationships and asked them about what love meant to them. In an article written by Outbrain, it’s explained that, “authenticity is what today’s consumers crave, and jewelry brand Pandora got real and personal this Valentine’s Day with a clever video ad spot. Real couples were asked what Valentine’s Day means to them, and the result is a brand campaign that once again focuses on the customer, and not the product. Plus, the intimate, real vibe of the video makes it very watchable and relatable.” Love is a lot more complex than what many companies’ market to and success might just come from the less “perfect” portrayal of love. 

      3. Cater to those who might not be sharing the love

While the holiday is technically all about love, not everyone is fortunate enough to say they’re experiencing it. Some campaigns revolve all around anti-love and to say it’s awesome is an understatement. Take San Antonio Zoo’s campaign in 2020. They gave people the chance to name a “cockroach after their exes at the San Antonio Zoo’s ‘Cry Me A Cockroach’ event. Participants paid $5 to name a cockroach or rat after an ex and then rest soundly knowing the vermin would become a snack for the zoo animals,” (Gravity Junction). Their campaign made major media coverage on CNN and ABC news and clearly had a lot of people wanting nothing more than to feed their ex to a zoo animal. They’ve now been doing it for three years and don’t see an end in sight. 

Whether you’re in love or not, companies know how to market to everyone during February and they know how to do it well. Who knows? Maybe instead of receiving chocolate this year you’ll get a water bottle. Or even better yet- you’ll name a cockroach after your ex.

Courtland Bartosik

Marketing Intern

Courtland is a freshman at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursing a degree in Media and Journalism with a minor in Data Science.