50 shades of valentine

50 shades of valentine's...

10 February 2015 | Pic PR
I’m sure we are all well aware by now that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. With the one-week countdown officially underway it is near impossible to ignore the various Valentine’s commercial ploys of cringe-worthy cards, gooey chocolates and blooming red roses that cash in on our love.


February 14th is the ultimate excuse for a spot of opportunity marketing. …

And to put it simply, sex sells.

Readers of the Metro have been treated to some not-so-subtle advertising from – Valentines related, of course. Featuring volcanic eruptions, soft-dough buns and extremely important historical erections, this latest ad from one of the big names in online travel flaunts Europe’s attractions in an unexpected way: through provocative angles and suggestive imagery. This blush-worthy ad by prompted huge social media attention and some great publicity. It’s quite literally, a great example of some sexy advertising.

Unquestionably the lead up to Valentine’s Day this year has predominantly focussed on one particular event; the release of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, the eagerly anticipated $40 million ‘big screen’ adaption of E.L. James’ fastest selling adult novel of all time.

If you are still unaware of who Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson (Christian Grey and Anastasia) are, then seriously, where have you been?! Their faces are everywhere, and although Universal Pictures and Focus Features reportedly decided on a less is more approach to the Fifty Shades marketing campaign, I can’t help but think they were pretty sure the film would create a huge buzz regardless.

The release is a big deal, and ‘piggybacking’ Valentine’s Day has been a huge marketing ploy. The film, intent on wooing women will undoubtedly draw in audiences over the most romantic weekend of the year. You can imagine the big draw will be single women, but I’m sure the odd boyfriend will be dragged along too. Tantalising audiences on Valentine’s weekend with guaranteed seduction and romance will no doubt increase opening viewing figures, but how long will this last? The last film to get a significant Valentine’s Day boost was 2010’s opportunistically named ‘Valentine’s Day’ debuting with $56 million’s worth of box office sales, an impressive figure considering its average rating.

Undoubtedly, one of the most amusing articles read this week features a clever little marketing plug shamelessly exploiting the Fifty Shades release. The well-known retail chain in question is none other than that bastion of DIY sexiness, B&Q.

In an apparent ‘leaked’ memo B&Q staff have been urged to stay vigilant in preparation for a boom in sales of rope, cable ties and tape. According to the DIY store, their products will be heavily featured throughout the film, and a particular scene involving Mr Grey and a hardware store has perhaps been the main inspiration behind this stunt.

Those employees unfamiliar with the Fifty Shades storyline are being encouraged to take the book home, so as to familiarise themselves with the plot, perhaps on the off chance that they are inundated with Mr Grey related queries. Because there’s nothing better than good customer service right?

Although an amusing read, I’m glad this is a PR stunt. Guaranteed to boost sales? Who knows, but if anything this stunt has also been a ploy to showcase B&Q customer service; it suggests that B&Q take the demands of the customer very seriously (no matter how strange!) and have the skill and knowledge to answer possible queries. “Rope you say? We’ve got a great little hemp number that’s pretty easy on the wrists. Follow me to aisle 54…” is a conversation I imagine you’ll hear a lot in store this weekend.