Will pandemic-fatigued couples love Lowe’s and Whole Foods’ Valentine’s promos?

Discussion
Sources: Lowe's, Whole Foods
Feb 09, 2021
Tom Ryan

Lowe’s, Whole Foods and Dunkin’ are bringing some innovative approaches to driving in-store and online engagement for Valentine’s Day, despite the ongoing pandemic.

Lowe’s is giving 50 couples a chance to spend Valentine’s Day at 10 of its stores for “a night of Lowemance.”

Lucky couples will be invited to their local store from 8 to 10 p.m. After a toast and light bite, the couples are invited to choose their Sherwin-Williams paint colors and guided to a paint zone ”complete with splash-painting supplies the couple can use to express their love story on a blank canvas — a gift they will create together and display proudly at home.”

Marisa Thalberg, Lowe’s chief brand and marketing officer, told USA Today, “Not all of the typical Valentine’s Day night outs will be available to people this year. We thought we can create a really different, fun, surprising and safe Valentine’s Day experience.”

Whole Foods is hosting “Gourmet Date for Good,” a weekend of virtual, live cook-along programs during Valentine’s Day weekend, all with different themes. The events will be hosted by comedian Heather McMahan, actress and vegan food influencer Tabitha Brown, and comedian Matt Bellassai, who will help viewers celebrate Galentine’s Day on Feb. 13, Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14, and Singles Awareness Day on Feb. 15, respectively.

When securing tickets, attendees are encouraged to make a donation to the Independent Restaurant Coalition in light of the additional losses restaurants and bars will face around Valentine’s Day due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Dunkin’ is hosting its first-ever, wedding-themed pop-up shop to mark the many in-store weddings, photo shoots and wedding party runs over the years connected to Dunkin’.

In New York, Dunkin’ partnered with “I Do Drive Thru,” a drive-up wedding service, on a Drive-Thru Marriage contest. Winners are treated to a wedding at a Dunkin’ location in upstate New York, along with Dunkin’ wedding gear, professional photos and a $500 prize.

The campaigns support the arrival of heart-shaped donuts at the chain’s locations. Jill Nelson, VP, Marketing & Culinary at Dunkin’, said, “Dunkin’ is the perfect place for anyone to find the spirit of Valentine’s Day.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which of the Valentine’s Day campaigns cited in the article do you think is most likely to be effective in light of the current challenges facing these companies? Are you aware of other unique approaches being taken by retailers or foodservice operators to drive Valentine’s Day engagement and/or do you have any additional ideas?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Closely aligning promotions and activities to your customers’ behaviors and values feels like good marketing to me (oh, and I’ll be tuning in)."
"People want to have fun on Valentine’s Day and retailers need to drum up business. It’s a good creative combination."
"The point here is that the retailers involved are thinking about their customers and their customers’ problems — that by itself will endear customers to the brand."

Join the Discussion!

9 Comments on "Will pandemic-fatigued couples love Lowe’s and Whole Foods’ Valentine’s promos?"


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Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

While I do think all three promotions will attract participants, I suspect that the Whole Foods “Gourmet Date for Good” activities are most closely aligned to their target customers’ preferences, tastes and pandemic-influenced behaviors. The target Whole Foods shopper (for the most part) cares about giving back, likes to cook at home, and is sensitive to social distancing and lockdown restrictions. Closely aligning promotions and activities to your customers’ behaviors and values feels like good marketing to me (oh, and I’ll be tuning in).

Brian Cluster
BrainTrust

Couples who are still mostly at home after more than a year together are likely interested in any romantic diversion after exhausting all of their rom-com viewing options from Netflix months ago. Sharing a meal together that you both prepared could be both entertaining and satisfying so I believe that that the Whole Foods program will be the winner this Valentine’s Day. I also appreciate that they have three different “holidays” to suit the needs of their customers.

White Castle has been promoting Valentine’s day since 1991 and has a surprisingly strong following and I would expect another strong showing this year. The theme this year is “Slider Lover’s Point” where couples can enjoy a romantic dinner via a drive-thru in the parking lot. As you can see with White Castle, winning on Valentine’s Day can be as simple as creating a fun, tasty, memorable event for your customers no matter how corny.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

Well, hopefully each brand will get a reminder and build a memory connection from the promotions. The promotions themselves seem uninspired. The idea of Lowemance is a bit funny and quirky — nice for Lowe’s. But cage them into paint with Sherwin Williams? I spent one very late night filming in a Lowe’s store and it’s a very interesting place after hours… And I expect most customers would prefer to go for a shopping spree promotion rather than paint a painting for themselves.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

Call me traditional (something nobody has ever done) but my idea of a great Valentine’s Date would not be spending two hours in a Lowe’s store. Now, the Dunkin’ promotion has some financial incentives, so my bet is that they will sell out. But, that said, I think I have to give the nod to Whole Foods which combines staying home with the one you love, good food, and entertainment and lets people support their local community. After that all you need is love.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Each year I post a list of Valentine’s Day gifts that will send your significant other running for the door. These include that semi-famous celebrities sea serpent necklace, chemically preserved fruit, gold-dipped roses, giant stuffed animals, meat bouquets, beef jerky underwear, and chocolates made from an impression of your nether region. I also love a good retail event, so when I read about Lowe’s Night of Lowemance I smiled. White Castle has done Valentine’s Day with white glove service in its restaurants since 1991; if it works for them you know it can work for any retailer willing to try something different. Indies are geniuses at coming up with promotions that are new and different, it’s nice to see national chains getting involved, too.

People want to have fun on Valentine’s Day and retailers need to drum up business. It’s a good creative combination.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

I suppose the stores really have nothing to lose — indeed, they’re getting some (presumably) free publicity out of it — but perhaps not every holiday is right for every business … as painful as that may be for out-of-the-box marketing folks to hear.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

The point here is that the retailers involved are thinking about their customers and their customers’ problems — that by itself will endear customers to the brand. Good retailers do this routinely, and the best highlight it as a force multiplier. This year the NRF states Valentine’s Day retail sales will be over $21.8B. In addition, 75% believe it is important to celebrate because of the pandemic. The best retailers have picked up on this theme and seek to deliver goods and services to match demand.

Brian Numainville
BrainTrust

I’ll give them credit for trying, but I can’t imagine spending the evening at my local Lowe’s. Whole Foods seems to have really thought their promotion out well so my vote goes to them for a successful approach.

Ryan Rosche
BrainTrust

The initial idea is definitely worth the campaign for this upcoming Valentine’s day. As the pandemic continues, everyone is looking for different ways we can celebrate safely with our loved ones. Other online companies have jumped into this realm and have offered creative activities for “date night.” Happily is one such company that provides date boxes complete with food, drink, and game options which are also integrated with digital tools to enhance the experience.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Closely aligning promotions and activities to your customers’ behaviors and values feels like good marketing to me (oh, and I’ll be tuning in)."
"People want to have fun on Valentine’s Day and retailers need to drum up business. It’s a good creative combination."
"The point here is that the retailers involved are thinking about their customers and their customers’ problems — that by itself will endear customers to the brand."

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