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I'm Kelcey Blanks, a 23-year-old public relations/marketing professional. I'm obsessed with all things social media. My family, friends and pup make my world go 'round. Clothes, jewelry and shoes make me happier than a kid on Christmas. And chances are I'm already planning my next meal in my head. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Is Valentine's Day Over Yet?

It’s Valentine’s Day, just incase you’re the one person on the face of the planet that hasn’t been bombarded with pink, red, flowers and talk of love today. Every store and business joins in the love fest, so it’s almost impossible to escape from. People either love this holiday, or completely hate it. If you’re like me, you love to hate it. It’s also one of the few days of the year that public relations professionals can get away with promoting love and sentimental things since many people are especially vulnerable on this particular day.

It seems like some public relations professionals take part in leveraging a product, event or service with Valentine’s Day, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with the holiday. I read an article on PRNewser earlier today about the worst press releases and public relation stunts dedicated to last year’s Valentine’s Day, and it was some of the weirdest things that I had ever seen.

IKEA was one of the companies who targeted the single people on Valentine’s Day. If a single customer came into the store, they were to tell the cashier they were single and they could get free sodas and cake. And if the awkward encounter led to scoring a phone number, you could even get 50 percent off of a couch IKEA was promoting.

As if being single on Valentine’s isn’t embarrassing enough. Who would actually want to go to IKEA to celebrate the fact that they’re single on the most romantic night of the year? I’m not sure if IKEA was attempting to promote a couch or the fact that it catered to single people on Valentine’s, but the whole thing was very odd.

After that disaster of a public relations move, IKEA decided to step it up for the following year. The company placed an ad in an Australian newspaper providing coupons for a free crib for all babies born on November 14, exactly nine months after Valentine’s Day. All the parents needed to provide to receive the crib was a birth certificate and coupon.

Instead of throwing Valentine’s Day, or lack there of, in the customer’s face, IKEA promoted something that its target audience would actually enjoy. The company received publicity from the promotional tactic and many people became customers at IKEA because they simply fulfilled customer needs. At the end of the day, isn’t gaining customers and satisfying existing ones the main goal of a public relations professional?

Whether or not one hates Valentine’s Day, everyone can agree that it is part of the job of public relations professionals to promote products, services or events during a holiday, but it needs to be done in a dignified way and with some class. Not every company will benefit by using Valentine’s Day as a promotional method. It is up to the public relations department to decide if it works for your business or company.

I could definitely be on board for the Pizza Hut $10,000 proposal package, though. The insane Valentine’s Day package promoted in 2012, provided a ruby engagement ring, limousine, flowers, fireworks, photographer and of course pizza. Not entirely convinced I would want Pizza Hut involved in my engagement, but I guess it’s the thought that counts.


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