Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Valentine’s Day is dismissed by many as a commercial day designed to rob consumers of their hard-earned cash, but millions of people still get caught up in the hype as retailers pull out all the stops to capitalise on what is one of the bigger earners on the retail calendar.

Despite the revenue potential, it seems that some retailers this year have missed the mark. Social media platforms were buzzing recently with negative comments about Woolworths’ in-store Valentine’s campaign, which received such an online hammering that the retailer pulled it.

Woolworths was accused of reverting to gender stereotyping and portraying only traditional heterosexual relationships, excluding LGBTQ relationships. Twitter comments ranged from “I hate this campaign” to “The campaign makes all men out to be idiots, but that’s OK because all women are suckers”.

In contrast, Ackermans hit just the right note with its lingerie campaign, “I Am Me” (#iamme), which sends a strong message to SA women about self-love and celebrating and accepting themselves and others, despite perceived imperfections. The campaign aligns to global trends around body positivity and features a host of SA celebrities, including Busiswa Gqulu, Pearl Modiadie, Minki van der Westhuizen, Rami Chuene and Kim Jayde – well-loved SA stars who are comfortable in celebrating all that makes them unique.  

The big take-out

Valentine’s Day remains a big day on the retail calendar, but while some retailers are sensitive to current trends, others are missing the mark completely.

With personalised gifts remaining a firm favourite with consumers, Cadbury has launched a special-edition P.S. chocolate bar for its Valentine’s Day campaign. The campaign, #FindLoveInYourLanguage features chocolate bars that say “I love you” in all SA’s languages, including sign language.

Moreover, its Mzansi Love Songs campaign provides a social media element and invites consumers to help Cadbury P.S. to find the lyrics to the most heartfelt love songs in the country, by writing and submitting their own lyrics or choosing a song that has already been written for the campaign to share with a loved one. “Cadbury P.S. is helping people connect and express their feelings in personal yet simple ways” says Grant van Niekerk, Mondelez SA category lead for chocolate.

For online retailer NetFlorist, Valentine’s Day is big business. “We’re aiming to surprise over 30,000 recipients over three days – which is growth of over 1,000% for the business,” says marketing head Thalissa Pillay.  She says that because of the significant growth NetFlorist experiences over the Valentine’s period, the business upscales by at least 2,000% so that service levels are not compromised.