Roses, GOATs, and More: February’s Top Marketing Trends

As we turn the page on a year we all look to forget, 2021 has already been off to a fast start. February has shown us not a lot has changed – Valentine’s Day will always be a special time of year regardless of a pandemic and Tom Brady will continue winning Super Bowls. It comes as no surprise that this month’s advertisements have gotten more creative, revolving around COVID-19 one way or another.

Finding a New Game Plan

Whether it’s for the game itself, the halftime performance, or the advertisements, every year, hundreds of millions of people tune in for the Super Bowl. The messaging for Super Bowl ads has always been about embracing happiness, good times, and an emotional approach. And now, more than ever, we need some inspiration. That’s where the likes of Huggies’ “Welcome to the World, Baby” and Michelob Ultra’s “Happy” ads resonated true inspiration across their audience.

As the Super Bowl kicked off, many were caught off guard by the lack of big-name brands on TV, including Coke, Pepsi, Budweiser, and Hulu, as they sat out of this year’s event. Going to show that many marketing budgets were greatly impacted by the results of COVID-19. Distribution methods for content have also greatly impacted the content we watch and how we watch it.

With the pandemic still raging in the US, many bars and restaurants remained closed, leaving more people home to watch the game. Led by the ever-growing cord-cutting phenomena, this year’s Super Bowl was the most-streamed TV event to date. This certainly changes the marketing approach for many companies moving forward, proving Connected TV (CTV) and Over-The-Top (OTT) media as great alternatives for household targeting.

The biggest catch here is that more brands are proactively keeping an eye out on the long-term shifts of where their consumers spend time and consume content. This unique pivot focuses on a holistic omnichannel marketing approach to engage with an audience through more effective household targeting.

Who Said Chivalry is Dead?

Yes, the most romantic time of year was a bit different from previous ones, but maybe that’s what made it better. During these difficult times, more people are looking to connect with loved ones. While a drop in evenings out to eat during a pandemic was expected, this meant that consumers spent more on their loved one elsewhere.

1-800-Flowers.com saw a huge spike in roses delivered this year with 22 million compared to the 18 million from last year. Some brands had to get creative this year to allow their candy to stick out versus the competition. The likes of Berkshire Hathaway’s See’s Candies, which started selling Valentine’s Day items online earlier this year. The 100-year-old brand paid homage to their rich history by selling an I Love Lucy-inspired collectible tin series to bring a nostalgic feel to the holiday.

The big winner in all of this? Cooking at home. Yes, some extra time in the kitchen with a loved one, cooking their favorite meals – a great way to spend the holiday. But what about takeout and food delivery? Funny you ask.

DoorDash and fast-food chain Shake Shack ran a promotion for Valentine’s Day featuring Boyz II Men, with limited menu items and date night kits to set the mood for couples. Shake Shack sold the “Berryz II Men” milkshake and kits included “Berryz II Men” scented candles, T-shirts, and lanyards.

Other brands trying out new Valentine’s Day-themed opportunities included Dunkin Donuts, which offered couples the chance to tie the knot or renew their vows at their ‘I Do Drive Thru,’ complete with proper safety measures. Dunkin also launched their first wedding merch collection just in time, ensuring couples around the world can be decked out for their own nuptials.

Here at NMPi, we were able to find success through new avenues for the holiday. With our client LoveHoney, an adult shop, this Valentine’s Day, we ramped up advertising on their plus-size lingerie set. Our efforts included implementing three new creative formats for Valentine’s Day to further our dynamic targeting efforts and convert users that had already been to their site. Our holiday strategy led to a higher click-through rate and a 20% increase in conversion rate for the plus-size lingerie set, Get The Look.

In the midst of the pandemic, brands have had to connect with consumers in different ways to comply with safety protocols and changing sentiment. Experimenting with innovative marketing campaigns, especially in our current environment, proves as another great opportunity to drive brand engagement.