Valentine’s day PR heaven: Heart-shaped pizza, kiss-detecting app and yoghurt-feeding Guinness record are this year’s hits by @zmatyak

There are not a lot of days in the year that offer brands a helping hand in getting some publicity as much as Valentine’s Day does. On 14 February everyone is super-receptive to messages associated with love (especially journalists), either because they are over the moon that they have a partner to celebrate with, or because they feel under the weather because they happen not to be in a relationship. And then there is the third group who simply do not care and it annoys them that so many people do, so they eventually end up caring about why so many people care.

So what are some of the brands up to this year?

Ehrmann and its MIXIM Greek Yoghurt

The yoghurt brand decided to play its new MIXIM Greek Yoghurt product launch big. They transformed the ship Queen Mary located in a Long Island port into what they coined ‘Love Boat’. Essentially it means they painted the entire 300-meter long ocean liner pink resembling the official product colours on the heart-shaped packaging. Also, they aim at a Guinness World Record on board: to break the number of people feeding each other at the same time – with yoghurt, of course. I’m sure they could easily enter the ‘pinkest ship’ competition as well.

Lovely news hooks here for love-hungry journalists!

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Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut went for the obvious but unarguably effective option: the heart-shaped pizza. It is a nice break from the standard pizza shape creating a buzz on social media. Moreover, they added napkins with humorous chat-up lines which, they state, were overheard by their staff. The lines include “feel my shirt, that’s boyfriend material”, “do you have any raisins? How about another date then?” and “I’m a professional photographer, I can picture us together”.

If that’s not enough, they have registered on an online dating site called OKCupid basically selling themselves for (love-) hungry costumers. They epicly define their body style as “light and airy” and their education as a “Ph.D. in delicious.” The profile points users to the fact that many people propose to their partner on Pizza Hut’s Twitter (who does that?) and so now they launched a competition where Instagram or Vine videos have to be posted about the best proposal ever. The winning prize is ’pizza for life’. I’m not sure eating pizza will help your love life, but no doubt it sounds good.

Although all these elements are likely to create a real buzz on social media, as it already has, they fail to feed into each other and create an integrated campaign that could have amplified results. Also, none of the individual tactics have a news hook that would be worth to be picked up by traditional media.

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Lidl

The budget supermarket chain developed a pretty brilliant app for Valentine’s Day. Lovers need to open the app either on their mobile, on their Facebook or they need to go on Lidl’s Valentine’s Kiss microsite. After turning on the camera of the device (not in that way!), all they need to do is kiss and the app does the rest. It can detect if two people are kissing and if this happens the users are entered into a prize draw for a £50 Lidl voucher.

It’s original, different and fun and it has what it takes to be picked up. However, it fails to engage people who do not have a partner to kiss, although I am sure there will be plenty of creativity involved trying to cheat the app into recognising a fake kiss.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Zsuzsanna Matyak is a PR postgraduate student at the University of Westminster. She previously graduated with a First Class degree from Film & Media with Journalism at the University of Stirling.

She is currently looking for a PR internship at a London PR agency two days a week to accompany her studies with experience.

Twitter handle: @zmatyak

LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1bpYP3G

Email: z.matyak@gmail.com

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