By Niki Wheeler, Director, Launch
The windows of nearby Regent Street are bursting with hearts and flowers. E-alerts are flooding in-boxes with deals on branded fizz, perfume, lingerie and sparkle. Social feeds are also positively rose-tinted as influencers and mere mortals capture insta-friendly shop fronts and interiors.
Yet, with a ‘calamitous start to the year for the high street’ the BDO High Street Sales Tracker says that innovation will be key to creating ‘an attractive shopping experience’ as will ‘retail theatre to lure customers back in store.’
Forget the hackneyed ‘floating stuff down the Thames’ approach, this climate creates great opportunity for comms professionals to create commercially geared partnership and experiential platforms that will drive footfall, sales and ultimately publicity. This isn’t just about ideas that get our pulses racing, it is about using comms expertise to add creative value.
Though it is a year old, the Valentine’s Dinner stunt at Gregg’s last year feels like a great example of heart shaped brand awareness in action. The launch of the dire Fifty Shades film a few years ago on the 14 Feb also made the nation chuckle to itself. A squizz at Time Out this month reveals plentiful ‘pop-ups’ from brands without a bricks and mortar presence and countless promotional deals involving free chocs from those who do.
Beyond the stunts and cheeky surveys – there is an amazing seasonal product placement opportunity to be leveraged as deals, shopping and specialist media seek the aspirational deals that their audiences will fall in love with. They’ve got to be seriously sexy and imaginatively curated to get cut through though. There is also opportunity to have some fun and kick out the formulaic with ideas that provide some levity. KFC candle for ‘Gravy Lovers’ anyone?
With ‘Galentine’s’ to talk about even before we get to ‘V Day’ (always think about Carrie and Miranda having a big row in the Sex and The City film when it comes to this particular peg) – February half term and Mother’s Day will be upon us before we know it.
I was once told that the key to winning a pitch and sustaining good client relationships was chemistry and confidence. That advice holds utterly true at the moment. Consumer confidence is in the doldrums and pockets certainly aren’t as bottomless as the Prosecco on offer.
Like that terrible Valentine’s Day film of about a decade ago (Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Patrick Dempsey, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Julia Roberts etc etc etc), there is so much ‘going on’ that storytellers need to be focused on who and what to make the star of the show. Rather than luring audiences in for a quick fling, they need to use this, the most romantic time of the year to show they’re a keeper.
So Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. This is absolutely the time to show the world that we love what we do.