Three Valentine's Day Promos We Love for Being Weird
Inspire, inform, engage—and if all that fails, go for something weird, whacky or funny that will ensure your name always makes it on lists like this.
Everybody feels the pressure on Valentine’s Day, and no one knows that better than the team who has to put together an engaging marketing campaign that celebrates love. It’s just like when the goofy kid wants to get the popular girl he has a crush on—flowers and chocolates will never cut it; you have to do better than that to catch her attention. You could go with some kind of grand gesture, but those are hard. Humor is easier—for both the kid and the unlucky marketing team. Go with something whacky, funny or just plain weird, and people are sure to pay attention. Like these guys did with their Valentine’s Day promotions.
1. Pizza Hut had your proposal covered for $10K and change
If Hollywood taught me anything it’s that you have to book a fancy restaurant for Valentine’s Day—and if you plan on proposing, then you’d better make it every-waiter-talks-with-a-French-accent kind of fancy. But more importantly, Hollywood taught me that the underdog always wins the fight, not the favorite. If a scruffy-looking nerf herder can face an entire army of space Nazis in Star Wars and get the girl, then you can propose anywhere you want—even at Pizza Hut.
I’d like to think that’s what Pizza Hut had in mind when it came up with a $10,010 proposal package back in 2012. Described by BuzzFeed as the thing that’s “ushering in the end of civilization,” this Valentine’s Day promotion had a lot to offer: flowers, a photographer and videographer combo (presumably because no one would ever believe you that she said yes), a limo, a red ruby ring and a fireworks show. Oh, you also got a $10 dinner box—that’s why the package cost $10,000 and $10. You’d think that they’d throw the food in with your $10K extravaganza, but no. Love’s expensive!
2. The Bronx Zoo lets you name a roach
Wine, chocolate and Madagascar hissing cockroaches that you get to name. If you were looking for a unique way to spend Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t get much better than this.
The Bronx Zoo came up with a tongue-in-cheek Valentine’s Day promotion that celebrates love and makes a bit of money for charity at the same time. Paying $15 lets you name a Madagascar hissing cockroach; $30 gets you a pair of roach socks; $45 gets you a roach candle, and $55 gets you the works—baptize one of the largest species of cockroach in the world while wearing your swanky socks and holding up a candle, all while keeping back the urge to say “the power of Christ compels you.”
But if you’re going to go all out and make sure you give your valentine goosebumps, then you need to go with the aptly named Roach Romance exclusive after-hours event. A $95 ticket gets you wine, chocolate and the chance to meet animals up close. The Bronx Zoo says that you’ll “learn all about the laws of attraction in the wild,” and I’ve never wanted to visit a zoo so badly as I do now.
The original Name-A-Roach Valentine’s Day promotion launched in 2011 and it’s still going strong. Did you expect anything else from a creature that will still be around once all the Terminators have wiped us out?
3. Wyoming let you take a romantic prison tour
With the right marketing you can sell anything, right? And even though years of watching sitcoms and stand-up comedy have conditioned me to picture something completely unromantic when I hear the words “love behind bars,” I have to say that this one seems intriguing.
Back in 2014, the Wyoming Territorial Prison came up with a Valentine’s Day promotion called “Love Behind Bars: Tales of Love Gone Wrong” where you got to go on a guided evening tour and hear historians tell “stories of our inmates who found themselves incarcerated due to love.” What sort of hair-raising yet heartwarming stories did Wyoming have to share? I’ll never know and that makes me want to get my hands on a Time-Turner and find out.
Love your product and it doesn’t matter how weird, whacky or off-putting it may be.
One man’s hissing cockroach is another’s way of expressing his purest feelings of love. Own your niche and market to it with all your passion. We’re not here to judge, we’re here to help. Just like there’s an arrow for every kind of person in Cupid’s quiver, Harte Hanks has the resources and knowledge to tackle every marketing need.