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As we career towards the time of year that fills many of us with dread, there’s no escape from heart-smothered shops, romantic meal deals for two and florists making small fortunes from those who just love saying it with flowers.

But whatever your take on February 14th, it now ranks fourth among the biggest retail events of the year. It therefore comes as no surprise that whilst Valentine’s Day devotees are busy picking cards and flowers, brands and retailers have long been creating PR and social campaigns that raise both awareness and profits.

We must admit to secretly enjoying this somewhat over-egged outpouring of love here at Souter PR. Even better, it’s also one of the best times of year for PR stunts and campaigns – if they’re done right, that is.

From tongue-in-cheek, to quirky, bold, sexy, sentimental and serious, as we look forward to seeing what’s in store later this month, here is a round-up of our top 6 V-Day PR and social stunts to date:

#1 Asda’s Twosie

George at Asda Twosie - Love Bunnies Becky Briggs 020 3003 6302

Hats off to supermarket chain Asda and their sterling job of creating plenty of pre-Valentine’s Day media coverage with the launch of the Twosie.

Its introduction came as a result of a Facebook survey that revealed most couples would be staying in on Valentine’s Day. It was at a time of peak onesie popularity so George at Asda came up with the obvious idea to stick two onesies together to provide the perfect excuse to snuggle up on the sofa on Valentine’s Day 2013.

And customers loved it! The soft fleecy double poncho – with rabbit design hoods and ears, embroidered faces and ‘Love Bunnies’ print on the back – sold out in record time at £25 a pop. Genius!

#2 Flower Council of Holland – #cupidrone

#2 cupidrone 1    

It’s hard not to be impressed by the Flower Council of Holland’s pre-Valentine’s Day stunt, in which they used a drone to drop roses in front of couples in the Italian city of Verona – backdrop to Romeo and Juliet’s balcony and one of the greatest love stories of all time.

The drone – which was painted red and nicknamed ‘Cupidrone’ – featured an on board camera that caught genuine reactions of passers-by as it dropped a single red rose at their feet. “Romeo, Romeo, Romeo! Here’s drink: I drink to thee,” for that spectacular stunt.

#3 Starbucks and Match.com’s World’s Largest Starbucks Date

Starbucks

Brand partnerships can be an effective way of raising awareness and driving consumer engagement and this one between Starbucks and Match.com is perfect example of one that worked.

The new collaboration – especially for Valentine’s Day – allowed customers to sign up for free trials of the dating website when using the store’s Free Wi-Fi on the 13th and 14th February. New caffeine-drinking couples also had access to photo props, so they could share snapshots from their #StarbucksDate on social media.

#4 Shoot it Yourself – Love Advice from Britain’s Oldest Couple

M and Y Media 30/01/12: COLLECT supplied by Lionel Buxton (99) and Ellen Buxton (100), Dover. Lionel and Ellen Buxton on their wedding day, dated 18th July 1936.

Britain’s oldest married couple were recruited by wedding video company Shoot It Yourself and took to Twitter to share their secrets to a long and happy relationship and answer any relationship dilemmas out there in the Twittersphere.

Lionel and Ellen Buxton – who were 199 years old collectively and enjoying a marriage that had outlasted 15 Prime Ministers, a World War and more than a dozen international conflicts – shared their advice on the key to a long and happy marriage.

There’s lots that we could all learn from this perfectly suited pair. But in the words of Ellen herself: “We have been married happily because we have been good friends as well as husband and wife.” How very lovely!

And for those who aren’t quite feeling the love for Valentine’s Day…

#5 The Bronx Zoo – Name-a-Roach

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The Bronx Zoo first launched its Name-A-Roach programme in 2011, but it’s been so popular that it has been repeated a couple of times since. And it’s back this year with a bang. Or should that be a hiss?

For just $10, the begrudging broken-hearted can name one of the zoo’s Madagascar hissing cockroaches. What’s more, you then receive a digital certificate to happily forward to your ex so they can be proud in the knowledge that they’ve inspired such a powerful sentiment.

Our thoughts? Well it’s certainly one way to honour the love you and your ex once shared and celebrate a special day dedicated to love!

# 6 Asda again and its 7p Valentine’s Day card

asda card

Named by some as the worst Valentine’s card ever – but possibly ideal for the 76% of consumers surveyed who believe the event has become too commercialised.

Simple yet effective, this less than generous greetings card could have been yours for just 7p – double the investment if you wanted an envelope. And showing the supermarket giant’s funny side, the message inside message reads ‘My love for you is priceless!’

A great idea, it generated widespread coverage and was a great stand-out stunt for Valentine’s Day. Who said romance is dead?

Any other Valentine’s Day PR or social stunts campaigns – good or awful – that deserve a mention? Tweet us @SouterPR or email us at info@souterpr.co.uk