#AD ROMANCE: The Insight Guide to Valentine’s Day Marketing

Feb 8th '24

As the season of love draws near, so does the opportunity for advertising’s Casanovas to woo consumers with romance-themed goods and services. For those who yearn for ads that are more ‘Cupid’ than ‘Stupid’, here’s three gift-wrapped pieces of advice that’ll ensure you won’t break regulatory hearts.


  • Promotional baggage

Few things quench passion for a brand more than a disappointing promotion, so make sure to include all significant terms and conditionsavoid amending closing dates except in exceptional circumstances and ensure that every stage is competently administered.


In 2021, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled against an advertiser who ran a Valentine’s Giveaway on social media, that was found to have insufficient means for tracking all those who entered the competition. Heartbreaking.


  • Risque, not risky

Ads alluding to the, ahem, “spicier” end of the romantic experience can be acceptable, particularly if they’re relevant to the product, but to avoid a potential flop, please ensure they’re targeted responsibly, and that they contain nothing likely to cause serious or widespread offence.


The ASA Council found that ads for a clothing brand and a fitness company both breached the rules by being sexually suggestive, even if the content wasn’t explicit, and therefore should not have appeared in an untargeted medium.


  • More beaus, less booze

It’s always wise to take a sober approach to depicting alcohol in ads, but it’s particularly important to note that ads cannot link alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success; nor can they imply alcohol can enhance attractiveness.


One winemaker posted an paid-for ad on social media featuring a topless woman holding a wine-glass; the ASA Council did not fall head-over-heels for the concept.


Source: Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP)


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