Like Easter and Christmas, St Valentine's Day is one of the most profitable dates in the calendar for confectioners across the UK.
While 14 February sees many romantics shower the object of their desire with flowers, others choose to win their lover's heart with chocolate products.
This year, Swiss chocolate manufacturer Lindt charged UK agency Jane Park PR to promote its range of luxury chocolate Valentine's Day gifts to stand out from the various competition.
To raise the profile of the Valentine's Day collection, which included the Lindor Heart Gift Box - containing a selection of heart-shaped truffles - and for men, a pack of three chocolate golf balls. To increase sales of these products, while boosting awareness and trials of Lindt's number one global brand, Lindor. To maintain interest in Lindt's other ongoing key products, including its Swiss Tradition box assortments.
Strategy and Plan
In the past, Lindt has promoted its seasonal range with press kits and product shots taken from its sales brochure. This year, however, to reflect the premium quality of the Lindor brand, Jane Park PR invested in lifestyle photography of the Valentine's Day collection, taken by interiors specialist Lindsey Stock.
The photographs were incorporated into press packs for both the consumer and trade media, while the PR team set up a telephone hotline for journalists to receive samples within a 48-hour delivery time frame.
The photography was then pushed forwards for use in mini advertorials in publications including Vogue and the Financial Times.
The PR team backed up these initial activities by hosting sampling events.
Following research into what could be used as the most high-profile media event, the film premiere party for Love Actually was selected to promote the chocolates, where celebrities scoffed over 2,000 Lindor heart truffles.
Measurement and Evaluation
Media evaluation was conducted by the PR team with press cuttings supplied by Romeike Media Intelligence. Consumer coverage ranged from The Daily Mail and Hello! to Bella, the Somerfield Magazine and websites such as handbag.com. The story was also carried by the trade media, including Retail Newsagent, Asian Trader and Multiple Buyer & Retailer.
The visuals gained extensive interest from regional titles, including the Yorkshire Evening Press, which ran a promotion offering readers free bags of Lindor.
Sales of Lindt's Valentine's Day range increased by 266 per cent from 1 January to 22 February, compared to the same period last year.
The lifestyle photography helped the chocolate manufacturer obtain prime editorial space. In addition, Chocolate and Confectionery International editor Nicola Becker says: 'Lindor is one of the few chocolate companies that takes account of the trade press and includes market information and statistics about Valentine's Day and the premium chocolate gift market.'