Valentine’s Day Campaigns with Augmented Reality and Lots of Love

valentine's day campaigns

With February around the corner, we decided to take a look at how Augmented Reality can spice up this long-established holiday that is Valentine’s Day.

From sending virtual love messages to having a virtual person bring you virtual flowers, Augmented Reality tech can be leveraged in many ways to create engaging campaigns for this celebration, whether you have someone to share it with or not.

Here’s a list of our most beloved AR Valentine’s Day campaigns, in chronological order.

1. Lacta Chocolates (2011)

Agency: OgilvyOne Athens (Greece)

Lacta’s campaign involved a mobile app that allowed people to send messages on their smartphones to their loved ones via Facebook.

The lucky recipient had to download the branded app to view the hidden message displayed on the Lacta chocolate wrapper through AR.  This actually recreated the ancient  Greek tradition of sending love messages on paper wrappers with modern technology, while driving sales too.

2. Marks & Spencer: Lovestruck (2012)

Agency: MullenLowe Profero (United Kingdom)

This M&S campaign had the objective of encouraging men to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for their partners. A billboard was placed inside Waterloo railway station in London, featuring a model holding a bouquet of flowers and the tagline “Lovestruck? Here’s a little Valentine’s help”.

The ad invited commuters to download an app, through which they could watch the model come to live through Augmented Reality and offer them gift ideas. Over 5 days, the video received 17,220 views.

3. Impulse Fragrance (2012)

Agency: 5SEIS (Argentina)

This was not a Valentine’s Day campaign, but it’s perfectly related to celebrating love via heartwarming gifts. At Alto Palermo Shopping Centre, Buenos Aires, an interactive AR installation   allowed passers-by to interact with virtual characters in real time. Hundreds of girls stopped by and sprayed Impulse on themselves to receive virtual gifts, flowers and balloons from a digital man through the massive LED screen.

4. Starbucks: Cup Magic (2012)

Agency: Blast Radius (United States)

After the success of their Christmas Cup Magic campaign, Starbucks decided to do the same as part of Valentine’s Day campaigns. The campaign used the Cup Magic App, which users had to download to scan the heart on the Starbucks coffee cup. This triggered heart-shaped petals to fly across the screen. The app featured exclusive offers, events and enabled users to send Starbucks eGifts to their Facebook friends.

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5. Burberry Kisses (2013)

Agency: Grow (United States)

A few months after Valentine’s Day, Burberry partnered with Google to create a campaign that consisted of sending digital postcards that could be literally sealed with a kiss from the sender.

Users could either: blow a kiss through their computer webcam and be captured using a combination of visual recognition technologies. Or, they could press their lips against the screen of their smartphone or tablet, and their kisses would be captured through touch-sensing systems.

When someone sent a kiss-sealed postcard, they could watch it travel across the globe to its destination by using AR and Google Maps. When it reached its recipient, the sender could watch a real-time map of the world with all other notes flying around the sky.

The campaign was a big success, with visitors from 215+ countries spending an average of 3.5 minutes with Kisses. The campaign hit the headlines worldwide as the #burberrykisses tag spread across social media channels.

6. Freya: Heartbeats (2013)

Agency: RBH (Rees Bradley Hepburn) (United Kingdom)

valentine's day campaigns

Among Valentine’s Day campaigns, four years ago, we found a lingerie brand that used Augmented Reality for an in-store promotion that offered customers a chance to win a trip to Paris.

Users had to download a free AR app and scan specific cards and posters in-store in order to access behind-the-scenes content of the Spring/Summer 2013 photoshoot and enter the Paris trip giveaway. The campaign also encouraged customers to submit their favorite romantic songs via Facebook to create a crowdsourced Spotify playlist.

7. Boyner (2015)

Agency: Awesome Broduction (Turkey)

Turkish textile brand Boyner set up an AR installation in a mall in Istanbul during Valentine’s Day. They wanted to boost brand perception, generate interaction and drive traffic to their eCommerce site.

As couples and families stopped in front of the massive digital screen, the illustrator behind the scenes performed live drawing on them through AR, to then take their “Mutluluğun Resmi”, or ‘Picture of Happiness’ on the day that is all about celebrating love.

8. Appletiser (2015)

Agency: TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris (South Africa)

Appletiser created three interactive 3D characters that came to life thanks to AR technology in a limited edition pack, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day.

When users scanned the bottle with their smartphone or tablet with the Appletiser app, one of the characters would appear: Johnny Appleseed, a quirky guy who is unlucky with women; Apple Blossom, a beautiful female character looking for love; or QP1D, a Cupid that uses a bazooka instead of a bow and arrow, and has a hovercraft instead of wings.

The characters would entertain users with funny AR clips that varied depending on the theme of the bottle: Love, Romance or Dream. When they scanned two bottles with different labels at the same time, all three characters would appear, interacting with each other in entertaining ways.

The campaign helped the company achieve a 47.02% increase in sales during the following month, and the brand conversation was up 900% during the period.

What is Valentine’s Day Campaigns for 2017 going to bring?

Image Recognition technology is now becoming mature, so we expect to see similar campaigns coming out in the next few weeks.

There are plenty of things that brands and agencies can do. Integrating AR into their campaigns can help make them interactive and engage with their audiences in innovative ways. Here are a few simple ideas to look out for:

  • Have Valentine’s Day themed 3D images, like hearts or flowers, pop out when scanning one of your products or related items with an app.
  • Use AR cards such as SnapCards or Smilez to send Valentine’s Day cards that trigger personalized video messages when scanned.
  • Let users make and send their own photo cards with secret AR videos, see Prynt.
  • Make your existing print ads Valentine-themed by allowing users to scan them, in order to access special holiday discounts and gift ideas.
  • Create a scavenger hunt where users need scan hearts, or any chosen object in order to gain rewards, club card points or browse gift ideas near your stores.