By Lukmon Oloyede
What started with a myth-like preamble involving a Catholic priest, Valentine,sentenced to death around 269 AD in the Roman Empire byEmperor Claudius II for conducting secret weddings, has over the years, grown into a huge commercial window. Marketers globally are increasing tapping into the celebration of Saint Valentine which did not have any romantic connotations until Geoffrey Chaucer’s poetry about “Valentines” in the 14th century.
According to the 2015 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey presented by US-based Statistic Brain Research Institute, well over $18.9 billion was spent in America within the Valentine window in 2015. This huge amount which could be a basis to extrapolate the marketing value of this window globally is reported to have increased astronomically on a yearly basis in the last decade. This unarguable reveals how the period is trying to catch up with other big windows like Christmas, New Year and Ramadan festive seasons.
Many consumers may know little or nothing about the St. Valentine but they know St. Valentine Day as an opportunity to express and celebrate the atmosphere of love, romance, friendship and marriage. Valentine celebration usually begins second week of February, climaxes on the 14th of February and gradually wears off a day or two later.
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Even from the first day of February,many Nigerian brands have keyed into this annual celebration -from FMCGs, hospitality, entertainment, media and tourism sectors. Consumers are bombarded with several engagements, promos, discounts and free trips to exotic destinations. Brand owners do this to make more sales, deepen brand equity/affinity and show appreciation to their customers to deepen their loyalty.
Any curious observer will note that most brands are strategically driving their Valentine’s fete via digital media. We have Close Up’s ‘Make Your Move’; Canoe laundry “Love.Art.Creativity” app contest; Jumia Valentine Triviaand So Klin’s Valentine Day Selfie Contest. Otherresounding marketing ploy by brands this year for this special marketing window includeGolden Penny’s ValentineInstagram Contest, Hotels.ng’s #GetARoom Valentine Contest andIndomie’s #ForTheLoveOfIndomie Valentine Contest
Many brand analysts and creative experts believe there are underlining reasons for rising relevance of the valentine season. According to TundeAmosun, Deputy Creative Director, Rosabel Advertising Limited, ”Nigerian brands in the last couple of years have observed how businesses in Europe are keying into Valentine’s Day and have gradually stepped up their leverage on it as well since it’s a global celebration. Every brand owner is watching out for ways they can make more sales. The present economic challenges, coupled with the cost of traditional media are some of the reasons many brands are leveraging on Valentine fete with the use of social media to engage their consumers”.
OluwakemiOwoeye, MD of OrdaWyseCreations feels it is a season most people indulge a bit more, especially onluxury items.Her words: “A high proportion of consumers place very high personal importance to this occasion. Although the economic situation is affecting sales but we are making more sales on jewelries, clothing and accessories this period”.
For Atabor Johnson, a marketer, “Valentine is a moment of love. Love doesn’t come cheap. Brands have realize that they need to create experience and allow their consumers especially Millennials to share brand stories. We have moved beyond the world of just wanting to sell a product to an era of sustainability and responsibility. I think this is what brands are trying to do this year.”
By Lukmon Oloyede