Brands Leverage Valentine’s Day Breakups

Harvey Rañola |
 02/14/20 |
4 min read

Some relationships are built to last, others not so much. And organizations are reading the emotional tea leaves and creating promotions around the latter this Valentine’s Day. These winning brands demonstrate the power of capturing niche crowds and turning negative energy into positive PR. And this can be applied to any scenario where one seeks to capture and redirect conversation. Let’s see how that looks!

Lots of Hate for Love Day

What’s worse than not having a Valentine on this day of love? According to lots of loud voices online – not much, besides existence of the day itself, that is:

many express hate for Valentines Day 

So, while many brands create touching gift idea and experiences for lovebirds, a few have gone in the opposite direction, geared toward capturing the jaded among us. It’s a wise choice, as there’s significant conversation around breakup advice:

Valentines Day breakup advice topping cluster bar chart

And it’s resonating.

Finding the #Brightside in Breakup Conversation

As we look at social sentiment surrounding breakups in NetBase, we can see top trending emotions people are sharing online. They’re primarily expressing feelings of fear, excitement and embarrassment:

Valentines breakup sentiment expressing feelings of fear, excitement and embarrassment

And they’re also expressing boredom (so they need something to do on this day of love) and a smidge of confidence. Capturing that excitement and confidence and helping it grow is where these anti-Valentine’s Day promotions find heartbreak gold. And the same can be done when brands are facing a PR crisis:

  • Find out what consumers are saying about the triggering event – good and bad
  • Brainstorm ways to encourage positive connections to your brand, even if it involves throwing your brand on the sword to make a point that will resonate

For example, some online content creators channel their energy toward editing old photos with exes – and going viral for it. Rather than hiding from painful events, they confront it head-on with somewhat self-deprecating humor. Online loves that (when it’s genuine and appropriate to the situation):

some online content creators channel their energy toward editing old photos with exes – and going viral for it 

Or delighting in deleting an ex’s Netflix account:

delighting in deleting an ex’s Netflix account

 But many more are left looking for an outlet for their “newly single” energy. Or just for being single, in general. Which explains why Galentine’s Day has become so popular.

Created by fictional character, Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation in 2010, “Galentine’s Day” happens on February 13 and is a day for “gals” to get together without their men. It’s “ladies celebrating ladies.” And there are events happening all over the place celebrating it.

Singles events on Valentines Day

Brands can latch on and create their own Galentines events, of course, or they can choose to include the menfolk in these single celebrations and do something a bit different.

Relating to the Broken-hearted

Not all of the breakup conversation is negative, of course – but most of it is. Although many feel “better,” “excited,” or “happy” after-the-fact, there’s an abundance of negative energy shared online:

understanding sentiment to relate to broken-hearted on Valentines Day

To offer an outlet, the San Antonio Zoo came up with an interesting take on the day, offering to name a roach or rat after a person’s ex and then feeding it to a snake at the zoo – live and on Valentine’s Day. They’re calling it their “Cry Me a Cockroach” event:

You will be able to name a cockroach after your ex, and we will serve it up as an enrichment treat to one of our animals for only $5. If you ex was a snake, you can even name a pre-frozen rodent after them, and we will feed it to a reptile for $25! The certificate you will receive can be shared on your own social media pages.

On Valentine’s Day, February 14th, we will be live-streaming our ‘Cry Me A Cockroach’ feeding frenzy! Birds and reptiles from San Antonio Zoo will join in on this feast. Will your ex be offered to our animals? Tune in this Valentine’s Day to find out!


But if that’s not the kind of edibles you’re into – Burger King has something that might be a more appetizing offering.

Got a Beef with Your Ex?

Jilted consumers living in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston can use their “Birds of Prey”esque angst to their advantage. Burger King, in conjunction with Warner Bros. is offering heartbroken customers a free Whopper in its own distinct “breakup boxes.” All folks need to do is bring a printed photo of their ex to the restaurant. “The promotion is in conjunction with the new film ‘Birds of Prey,’ released nationwide in theaters Friday.”

Burger King and Warner Bros Birds of Prey Valentines Breakup free Whopper offer

And exploring its promotion in the context of general “Breakup” conversation in Quid, we see Burger King capturing quite a bit of engagement and pieces published about it, as intended.

Burger King capturing quite a bit of engagement and pieces published about it

Both Burger King and bug-eating event were able to create events that speak to consumers’ desire to both lash out the day – and their exes, while not being too emotional about it. The not only flipped that embarrassment on its head, but also helped with the “boredom” factor on this “all about those in love” day. And each will be remembered for it long after the holiday passes.

You can be certain each planned far ahead for these events, which is easy to do when you’re using a next generation consumer and market intelligence platform able to surface insight from last year’s events to use as a benchmark. Reach out and we’ll show you how that looks for your brand, and help you plan ahead for the next big holiday!

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