February: The Busiest Month of the Year

Although Valentine’s Day can be traced back to ancient Rome, it seems like the holiday was created by florists and candy companies a few years ago to coerce all of us into buying bouquets and boxes of chocolate. Instead of taking part in this annual mass commercialization of love, why not do something original this month?

February isn’t just Super Bowl month, either (sorry for the reminder to any Rams fans out there) – it includes Groundhog Day, the Chinese New Year, National Inventors’ Day, Presidents Day, and the Oscars. And those are just the better-known ones. How about National Margarita Day on February 22, or National Tortilla Chip Day, which inexplicably comes two days later? You may not want to let your employees know, but February 28 is officially Public Sleeping Day.

It’s not just holi(days) that keep February busy. Black History Month spans the entire 28 (or 29) days and is a semi-internationally recognized celebration that spans Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Having said all that, February offers endless opportunities for creative marketers. For example, GE has celebrated National Inventors’ Day with a social media campaign around the hashtag #IWantToInvent – Twitter and Facebook users sent ideas for inventions and GE responded with blueprints created by professional artists. A couple of years later, GE sold what it described as inventor’s toolboxes, which included items like touchscreen gloves, a littleBits cloudBit Starter Kit (which lets kids create Internet-connected devices), and even a few MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers.

When Airbnb considered buying airtime during the 2016 Oscars, it discovered that Marriott was already a sponsor, which precluded the possibility of running an ad. But instead of seeing this as an insurmountable obstacle, Airbnb came up with an innovative way to be a part of the night. The company launched a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #LiveInTheMovies, which invited people to tweet what movies they would like to “live” in. Airbnb then selected hundreds of responses and offered free stays at homes that fit the themes (for example, when a user said he would like to stay in a place like Tom Hanks’s houseboat in Sleepless In Seattle, Airbnb found a houseboat for him). The campaign ended up with more than 63 million impressions and a Cannes Lion Silver Award.

Finally, what list of non-Valentine’s Day holiday suggestions would be complete without mentioning the anti-Valentine’s Day – Singles Awareness Day? In 2015, Sour Patch Kids held a “sour-then-sweet” love story contest on the writing and sharing platform Wattpad. The campaign (which also included the creation of influencer content about the #singlelife) received 350 entries and generated more than 30 million impressions. That may be the single most impressive thing a candy company has ever done during the month of February NOT involving Valentine’s Day!

Have any interesting non-Valentine’s Day campaign ideas or successful marketing campaigns you’ve launched in February? Share them with us @TheRicciardiG.