Marketing Mashup: Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day

by Emily Jasper on February 2, 2012

I love the month of February. As a marketer, I actually watch the commercials as opposed to fast forward through them. Annoyingly, I want to discuss why this or that campaign is so spot on for the brand with my roommate (she still wants to fast forward). There is a huge push for good marketing this time of year. Of course, there’s a little tiny challenge mixed in: which audience are you going for?

We have two major events that take place within a few weeks of each other. The Super Bowl is known for inspiring commercials that can be talked about for years to come (there’s a website just for the aggregating the commercials). In some cases, it can make or break a brand. We’re already reviewing Super Bowl spots online before the game has even been played. On the other hand, there’s Valentine’s Day. People accuse it of being an over-marketed fictional holiday celebrating commercialism (forgetting there is a historic origin to the day). Plus there’s candy. Lot’s of it.

When we look at these two events in conjunction, the marketing messages a brand may be conveying could be at odds with each other. Not every company is so successful with dual-identity marketing, and campaigns from firms like Allstate are the exception. The Super Bowl and Valentine’s are at two extreme ends of the identity spectrum, making marketing tough.

Perhaps it’s the gender issue. I’m just going to say it: football is considered manly and Valentine’s is considered girly. Now, I’m all about people smashing into each other (I learned to play hockey), and I consider movies with Mexican standoffs to be romantic. I probably am an exception and could just confuse other marketers. Or I’m a niche that really isn’t going to be hit during this February marketing frenzy. At the end of the day, however, you see brands almost have to “choose” for a campaign.

Sure, there’s always a blending approach. There had been a diamond commercial a couple years back where the proposal/gift giving was shown on the screen and the players commented on the type of diamond, etc. Even in trying to find the commercial to share, I actually found more feedback on whether or not the commercial is discriminating. It’s hard to try and have it both ways.

Instead, a brand might just have two completely different campaigns, serving the two markets, and even if you watch a ton of TV or are exposed to the brand constantly, you may not even be aware that both campaigns are running. It could be much more cost effective and efficient for the brand to take two directions than try and do one blended approach that could be quite unsuccessful. Victoria’s Secret has a few different ads running, and even in the voting video for the Greatest Super Bowl Commercials, you can see the two very different approaches based on who’s watching.

What do you think? Should brands have to choose? What examples have you seen where a blended approach has been successful?

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