consumer packaged goods

From 'Pickup Limes' To 'Gintimates': How 4 Brands Approached V Day

For some brands, Valentine’s Day is a natural fit -- and guaranteed sales boost.

More specifically, the holiday is among the most important times of the year for candy brands (and seemingly conversation hearts’ whole reason for existence). According to the National Confectionary Association, 92% of Americans planned to incorporate chocolate or candy into their celebrations, with around $4.2 billion in sales (according to Circana data) making it the fourth biggest season for the industry (behind only Christmas, Halloween, and Easter).

For brands not offering candy to consumers (or greeting cards), there aren’t as many obvious connections, which can lead to some creative marketing. Here’s how a few approached the February holiday.


Cheese brand Babybel crafted a heart-shaped version of its classic Edam cheese packaged in its trademark red wax wrap. The larger, heart-shaped version of the semihard cheese is serrated down the middle, making it easy for trysting turophiles to share, but the product isn’t available in stores. Instead, Babybel launched a social campaign leading up to Valentines’ Day offering a chance to win the limited-edition cordiform cheese by commenting on its Instagram post with a heart emoji. The sweepstakes ran Feb. 7 – Feb. 14.



Hendrick’s Gin

While wine may be associated with the holiday, other alcoholic drinks have a harder time drawing a connection to Valentine’s Day. But it’s nothing a good pun can’t accomplish.

Hendrick’s Gin -- which arguably has more of a connection than most through its use of Bulgarian rose in its distillation --  takes things someplace unexpected with “Gintimates,” which the brand describes as “the world’s first and only collection of cocktail intimates,” positioning it as its first fashion foray.

The William Grant & Sons gin brand with a history of offbeat marketing partnered with fashion house  Wiederhoeft on the “curiously curated” capsule collection, which includes a sheer “bottle corset” for consumers’ Hendrick’s bottle; a “pinky garter” to show off the daintiest of digits while sipping pinkies-up; and a rose-shaped "cocktail garnish chain"  to liven up cocktail glasses. Hendrick’s is selling the collection in limited quantities via its online shop.

Simply Spiked

Molson Coors brand Simply Spiked also leaned into a pun with its “Pickup Limes” campaign promoting its newly launched Simply Spiked Limeade flavor.

The brand sold “rizz kits” on its website, featuring four lime candles with what the brand claims are “perfect pickup lines,” as well as date night conversation cards. (“Rizz” is a slang term which Merriam-Webster defines as “romantic appeal or charm,” noting that it can also be used as a transitive verb.) Each kit also included a rebate for consumers to try Simply Spike Limeade for free. Priced at $2.14, the brand made 50 kits available for sale beginning Feb.  7, but has since sold out.

The campaign also included a Tinder activation beginning Feb. 1. In partnership with the dating app, Simply Spiked created a “Rizz Quiz” launched in app, tasking users with putting their “rizz” to the test by thinking up their “juiciest” pickup line.


Pasta brand Barilla brought back its own holiday heart-shaped twist with Barilla Love, following a successful launch last year, as well as on the menus of Nordstrom Restaurant Group locations nationwide.

“The response to Barilla Love last year was so overwhelmingly positive, we had to go bigger and bolder for its second year," Barilla US vice president of marketing Jennifer Ping said in a statement.

To promote the return of the product -- available at select grocery stores for a limited time -- the brand launched a campaign centered around the “Pasta Promise” — a promise to always eat pasta alongside your loved one. The promotional sweepstakes offers consumers a chance to win the Ring-a-toni grand prize: a set of two interlocking, Barilla Love-inspired rings, designed by New York-based jewelry brand Alison Lou, encrusted with diamond and ruby.

“Like jewelry, pasta is an art form that takes love and time to create," Alison Lou founder and creative director Alison Chemla said in a statement. “As a lifelong pasta lover, I was inspired by the shape of the Barilla Love pasta--– its smooth interior and ridged exterior. This shows up in small details within the rings – the heart-shaped diamond stone, the gold ridges that surround the center diamond, the Barilla blue enamel, the smooth stacking ring up against the paved rubies -- and is what makes it one-of-a-kind.”

Next story loading loading..