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11 Brands That Got Cheeky on Valentine’s Day

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FACT: Valentine’s Day is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dour New Year for retailers.

Of course it makes sense for relevant brands to develop tailored VDay social campaigns, so today we thought we’d take a look back at some of the cheekier ones we noticed last week.

1. Chips Ahoy

Here’s a standard if-a-tree-falls interaction between two established brands.

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2. Uber

Don’t let anyone accuse the infamous taxi organizer of being a heartless tech company: the brand pulled another one of its out-of-nowhere stunts last week by offering to do a bit of skywriting for people gullible enough to pay for that sort of thing. No word on whether “surge pricing” applied, but based on these pics from Curbed L.A. we have to hope the brand sticks to automobiles next time.

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3. Netflix

Netflix may still be an “upstart” compared to HBO, but the company certainly knows how to market its hottest properties. Not only did it use Valentine’s to premiere the second season of House of Cards; it also promoted its other big original series Orange Is the New Black with a bunch of intimate one-on-one character testimonials like this one:

4. Milk-Bone

This one’s a bit of a no-brainer. We know first-hand how much people love to share pictures of their dogs, and the two-week campaign gave followers plenty of chances to submit their own pup pics.

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The “dog blogs” picked up on that hashtag too, BTW—and the brand added an extra component to the campaign by live-tweeting V-Day movies that prominently featured canines:

5. Play-Doh

Everyone’s favorite almost-edible building material did double social duty on Friday as well. Its Pinterest page included this how-to pin: Play-Doh caps + construction paper = instant flowers.

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The brand also sent individual hearts to each fan who tagged their romantic partners in the Facebook comments:

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6. Coffee-mate

The sweetener brand took the “personalize it” approach above and beyond by sponsoring a real-time “Design My Valentine” event in which a team of artists collaborated to “illustrate selected love notes” submitted by fans.

Here’s an example:

The brand even created a few cards “spontaneously”, like this one for Butterfinger and this one for former not-quite-spokesperson Bryan Cranston:

7. Evian

The bottled water brand’s agency We Are Social didn’t go quite as personal with its #ILoveYouLike campaign, but it did include about 30 decidedly cheeky variations on the basic response:

8. Heineken

The #DateInABox campaign was a little more complex than most—ladies could tweet at the account and their significant other using the tag in order to win a date night, but the guys also had to share the image on Instagram in order to get the code to open the box (thereby proudly displaying their “sensitive sides” to all their followers). Based on the number of “sorry we’re all out” responses on the brand’s Twitter feed, we have to say congratulations for getting so many people to participate in such an elaborate stunt.

9. Metro Trains

You knew you hadn’t heard the last of “Dumb Ways to Die”. This clip is less clever and less directly related to train safety than its predecessor (aka not at all), but we still appreciate the effort. And six million clicks is nothing to sneeze at.

10. Pizza Hut

We did like the “Pizza Hut Joins OKCupid” campaign and its “free pizza for life” contest, and we also like how the brand used the day itself to bring everyone’s attention back to the only thing that really matters:

11. T.G.I.Fridays

Everyone’s favorite super-casual eatery also went for the multi-pronged Valentine’s Day attack: first they played good cop/bad cop with the dueling hashtags #TGImSingle and #TGImTaken (can’t leave anyone out), then they created a contest urging fans to declare their love for that oft-forgotten player in the romantic game: the “wingman.”

Nice product placement. So did we notice any other brands getting especially cheeky last Friday?

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