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Opinion and Insight

How Brands Can Get Visually Inspired This Valentine’s Day

Getty Images, 2 years, 8 months ago

Rebecca Swift, Director of Creative Planning, iStock by Getty Images, on a need to step away from the norm

How Brands Can Get Visually Inspired This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a major pinnacle event in the UK retailing year, inspiring over £5.4bn in online spend from UK consumers last year (source – Fourth Source). In the lead up to one of the most competitive calendar dates, brands are looking to stand out from the crowd. Often overlooked is the power of interesting visuals to help achieve cut-through and secure a share of the romantically-inclined customer’s wallet.

Traditionally, humans tend to hold onto fixed, oversimplified ideas and visuals of love. The heart has represented love since ancient times. While St. Valentine’s Day is today synonymous with cards, flowers and chocolates, it is the heart shape visual that is universally recognised. With the heart comes the other visual clichés of couples kissing and proffering red roses – to name but a few. Brands can, however, turn the homogeny of visual tropes on their heads and bring a more modern touch and sentiment to visual imagery.

One example is the recent campaign from Lastminute.com which dares to be different by playing on sensual imagery from around Europe to inspire consumers to book a last minute trip away. The print ad includes images of suggestive sculpture, food and landmarks from around the continent. With high quality imagery, a focus on interesting textures and a variety of close-up and wide shots, the brand taps into visual trends to catch the viewer’s eye. In using visually opulent imagery to convey the unexpected gems of European travel, Lastminute.com sets itself apart and builds excitement around the brand.

Technology has had a huge impact on visual imagery. The camera phone is set to outnumber humans this year. The sheer volume of images that are shot, edited and shared every day is huge and it means we are seeing the old clichés being re-pictured, bringing diversity, character and personality to age old depictions. This is also providing brands with an opportunity to use technology and our compulsion and desire to share imagery to gain cut-through.

Some brands have gone as far to create individually personalised imagery for current and prospective customers. To tap into the conversation around Valentine’s Day Samsung resurrected its #lovenotes social media campaign. Fans of the brand can tweet and get professional designers to mock up a funky, customised visual for family and friends using a Samsung Galaxy Note. The images used are brightly coloured, graphic and combine text with image to create an impact. The campaign also uses the sharing of imagery and technology to bring families and friends closer together and share experiences.

For brands that still want to use traditional imagery of love such as hearts and flowers, it’s a case of approaching these in a unique or different way. For example, brands can try different materials, textures and shapes, or move away from the overused red and pink colours associated with the day. 

To secure a slice of the Valentine’s spending spree, brands need to be producing campaigns or communications that stand out. This year, we have seen brands putting imagery at the centre of their campaigns proving the power of imagery, when used to its best effect, can deliver results that capture the eyes and hearts of consumers.


 Rebecca Swift is Director of Creative Planning at iStock by Getty Images