2 Unexpected Valentine's Day Ads

BG and I do not celebrate Valentine's Day. She is vehemently opposed to what she describes as "fake holidays forcing people to buy stupid crap" (gosh, I love that woman). I prefer to say that every day is Valentine's Day for us and then I giggle. Last night I was reading Chip and Dan Heath's great book, Made to Stick. One of their tenants of "stickiness" is the unexpected. But sometimes when ads use unexpectedness or surprise it comes off as "WTF"? They say, "The easiest way to avoid gimmicky surprise and ensure that your unexpected ideas produce insights is to make sure you target an aspect of your audience's guessing machine that relates to your core message" (pg. 71).

I have seen two Valentine's Day ads that I think work well with this concept. (Chip and Dan: feel free to correct me!)

  • Ann Summers lingerie has an ad that is funny and NSFW. The tagline risks cheesy-ness when it proclaims, "This Valentine's Day, give your man some wood," but the ad is a little more creative than the tagline illustrates. It's worth a view, but check over your shoulder first. I think this works with the expected principle because for the first 20 seconds we want to figure out why these beautiful women are delivering clothespins and statues and clogs. And while the tagline might produce a groan, it does link to their core message!
  • However, my absolute favorite Valentine's Day's ad is from White Castle. Not only is it unexpected, but it's simple and funny too. Plus, it shows a willingness to not take one's self too seriously and to go the extra mile. Can you imagine dinner candles at Wendy's? And the copy is genius ("hot little buns"). They took what they had and made it into gold.

I hope everyone has a lovely Valentine's Day! Since we don't believe in it, we will celebrate by babysitting tonight. Now that's unexpected.