The Best Valentine’s Day Ads Come From Unexpected Places

While many are vying for restaurant reservations, buying chocolates and delivering flowers, marketers are vying for their own share of Valentine’s Day messaging.

American consumers are expected to spend $18.9 billion on Valentine’s Day this year, and individual spending is up 13% from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Some of the most creative marketing comes from companies that people would never associate with Valentine’s Day.

Give a Kiss, Get a Burrito

Qdoba may not be your Valentine’s Day locale of choice, but this campaign is sure to draw attention.

qdoba burrito

With the purchase of one burrito, a smooch from a friend or loved one will be rewarded with another free burrito.

“Smothered for a Smooch is meant to be fun and a bit over-the-top, and both our guests and our team members have a lot of fun sharing the love at this event,” David Craven, Qdoba Vice President of Brand Communications, said in a statement.

Starbucks Coffee Date


For this campaign, Starbucks linked up with a company that has an obvious in to Valentine’s Day:  Match added a feature in their mobile app allowing users click “Meet at Starbucks,” allowing hopeful couples to connect over a cup of coffee.

“The idea for the app’s new section builds on data from Match that 3 million of its members use coffee-related keywords to describe themselves on the site,” Adweek notes.

Dairy Queen Takes a Jab at Jewelry Ads

I was sincerely confused before laughing delightfully at this Dairy Queen commercial. Aside from ordering the cake, there are a limited number of actual spoons (complete with their red boxes) customers can order from DQ.

Dr. Ruth and Clorox

dr ruth clorox

The legendary sex therapist was enlisted by Clorox to add a humorous spin to pre-treating your clothes.

As AdAge reports,

“From a business perspective, we wanted to raise awareness about pretreating,” said Molly Steinkrauss, associate marketing director at Clorox. “We wanted to reach younger consumers too, people who typically weren’t laundry involved. …We thought there was a unique opportunity to leverage humor to reach people who might not be thinking about laundry by talking about something they might be thinking about.”

A British Grocery Chain’s Low Budget Approach

Americans may be unfamiliar with Tesco, one of the largest multinational retail chains, but anyone can appreciate these quirky Vines featuring people running into their ex-lovers at the grocery store.

If you’re not in the romance industry, marketers have two options: get connected (like Starbucks), or just have fun. Amazing marketing means that consumers will fall in love with your brand. It may not exactly be the love we celebrate on Valentine’s Day but great ads can come close.