Valentine’s Day: Showcasing Self-Love

By: Em Chan

Valentine’s Day: the one day it seemed that everyone suddenly had partners or relationships to celebrate. However, the trend from celebrating being in love and romance is leaning toward promoting campaigns celebrating self-love (or at least, not being in a relationship). I think some great examples from 2019 for us single people- I mean, general single people, should be highlighted:

Potbelly and Celebrating Single-dom

In trying to include the singles in their demographic, Potbelly sandwich shop launched a campaign to encourage singles to eat out on Valentine’s day, due to the status of the holiday that normally discourages them. The promotion included giving a red velvet cookie to single people who had purchased food at the chain, with their social media posts featuring slogans like “I complete me” and “happily single.”

I think the sentiment (besides wanting to sell more sandwiches) is great – many people feel shame for wanting to dine alone, especially on Valentine’s day, so normalizing it on social media is a great reinforcement that it’s normal and not as shameful as they may expect.

Tinder and Homesick Candles

Tinder is all about making matches – in a surprise twist for Valentine’s day, they decided to go with selling a candle promoting singleness and “not being sorry” about the status. The candle’s label is formatted like a Tinder profile, which is a cute touch to the product.

Although I don’t know if the campaign went well, the sentiment that being single is still fun is refreshing for a holiday that celebrates commitment. Especially as a dating app, the branding is not overly focused on single-dom nor in pressuring users to jump into relationships, which is a delicate balance. The strategy in moving toward simply enjoying the status of single-dom plays into the balance really well.

Ryanair and “Low Fares, Made Single”

Ryanair, an Irish budget airline, created this ad campaign aiming to target single people in “escaping the nonsense” of obnoxious romantic couples on Valentine’s day, by offering flights for single travels starting at £9.99. The video depicts a man getting fed up with almost being a part of cute (but annoying) scenarios, like receiving a lovely card (but from his mom) and getting waved at by an attractive woman (who is actually waving at the guy behind him). 

The guy in the video is a lot of single people on Valentine’s day: they’re annoyed with the overly romantic gestures and mishaps that occur because of the holiday. I think taking it to the next level by promoting flights was extremely clever, especially since sometimes it feels so excruciatingly cringey and annoying to witness – so I’ve heard, not from prior experience or anything… 

What do you think about these three campaigns? Were they interesting campaigns or am I overreaching in trying to be okay with single-dom? (Don’t answer that.) What other campaigns have been successful and what others have been a bust? Do you agree with the trend that celebrating single-dom is positive or has it become as cringey as celebrating romance?

Comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Otherwise, reach out to me on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or read my news articles, personal blog and PR blog.

Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash

This Article Has 4 Comments
  1. Caitlin Wahlers says:

    Em, I appreciate your attention to these self-love campaigns. Valentine’s Day has a reputation for stigmatizing those who are single and creating unrealistic expectations for those who have partners. It’s a double edge sword! In recent years, more brands have stepped outside of the conventional and trite advertising space to call-out self-love, which is absolutely brilliant. As you mentioned, campaigns like Potbelly’s has helped normalize singledom, which should be celebrated on all sides of the spectrum. I think campaigns like these bridge the conversation gap between those who are single and those who are in a partnership while diffusing some of the divisive energy that is carried by this day.

  2. Kyra Lindsay says:

    I believe that this is a great angle to take for Valentine’s Day. I feel that a large demographic of people are single for this holiday and there could be an untapped market in place. The Tinder campaign makes a lot of sense for the holiday and would make sense for other dating apps to get in on it too. It is a hallmark holiday anyway. It is not sacred therefore I feel that one company could have a lot of fun with it. I think you did a great job with this.

  3. Miranda Menard says:

    It is very smart and strategic marketing for companies to target singles during valentines day, just as jewelry stores and flower shops target couples. Companies are trying to cash in where there can. I think that the Ryanair campaign was successful. Not only because it likely worked because they had such great deals, but also to promote independence and highlight that its okay to do things along (even if you don’t “have to”). I think that the rate of which people refer to valentines day as “single awareness day” or make fun of those who are in happy relationships is just as negative and off putting as people in relationships shoving it in others faces. There needs to be a happy medium.

  4. Klaire Olson says:

    I think this is a very smart strategy especially because this generation seems to be sick of the gimmicky cliché Valentines’ Day has become, even for those who are in love. I think the place giving out cookies is genius because so many restaurants are packed full of couples, keeping singles away and giving out free cookies is a genius way to bring in more business. The ads you chose found a nice happy medium between picking fun at people who are happily in love and appreciating self-love, which is important because as cheesy as Valentine’s day can be that should not mean the entire holiday should be bashed and surrounded by negativity.

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