It’s February, and for marketers love is in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches. While it’s easy to get caught up in the marketing opportunities the holiday brings, some brands take it a bit too far. When love is involved, the lines can sometimes be easy to cross into inappropriate territory.
These brands all took their celebration of the lover’s holiday a bit too far.
For Valentine’s Day this year, the Gap was looking for some guerilla marketing techniques for promote sales surrounding the holiday. The retailer took to popular dating app Tinder to let users know they were invited to the “pants party.” In fact the retailer was so excited about it’s Tinder marketing campaign that it told everyone – except for Tinder. The dating app soon booted the Gap for violating its policies by advertising without an expressed agreement. Guess the pants party will have to be by word of mouth.
There’s typically no shortage of hand-holding and kissing in Valentine’s Day ads –but Ikea has taken it to the next level in the past few years. In 2013, Ikea ran a newspaper coupon ad that promised a free crib to any babies born on November 14, 2013 – exactly nine months from Valentines Day. And in 2014, the retailer decided focus more on what makes a baby by running digital spots that had some wood on wood action with a couple of its chairs. The furniture fornication is creative, but a little much from a home goods store.
Vermont Teddy Bear
The cutesy stuffed animal is a staple of Valentine’s Day gifts, so it’s not too far fetched that the Vermont Teddy Bear company would put out a commercial with the holiday theme. The stuffed animal maker takes the gift giving, and it’s video spot for it, a little too far. For starters, the size of the bear is just ridiculous – where would a girl keep something like that? Never mind all the bad taste jokes about size mattering and the sexist undertones. Vermont Teddy Bear was trying a bit too hard on this one.
Michigan Attorney Walter Bentley
One of the most romantic campaigns on the list comes from Michigan attorney Walter H. Bentley III. For the holiday of love, Bentley decided he wanted to offer a way out – a free divorce to one lucky couple. While not the most positive of Valentine’s Day campaigns, offering a free way to leave a bad marriage can be somewhat admirable – especially since so many unions end anyway. What really sent this whole campaign over the edge was an interview Bentley did with ABC News in which he proved he was a not exactly a hopeless romantic. When explaining reasons why a person may want out of a marriage, the attorney said, "Somebody diagnosed with cancer [could be] one reason their spouse no longer wants to be with them."