The Relationship of PR & Valentine’s Day

When most of us think about Valentine’s Day, our brains automatically go to hearts, pink and red, balloons, roses, and heart shaped boxes of chocolates. Then there are the group of people who dread the heart filled day; this group usually consists of singles and public relations professionals.

            As an outsider looking in, most people would think that Valentine’s Day would be a PR or marketers dream holiday, 4media group says no. 4media group is a global integrated communications and marketing company. People who are responsible for promoting this day just see it as “a single day crammed full of commercial opportunities, bursting at the seams with options for slick ads appealing to emotion and begging couples to spend money on one another.” It is hard to walk into any store and not be overwhelmed by the amount of pink, hearts, and stuffed animals.

            Public relations professionals at 4media group have gathered a few tips to remember when it comes to V-Day.

  1. Remember that Valentine’s Day is not only the 14th of February. Almost every holiday had a lead up to the special day and can be seen being promoted weeks before. Valentine’s Day promos and marketing can be seen as early as New Years Day. Although all major holidays happen on the same day every year and do not change, getting your content out early is essential to try and beat the rush of everyone else.
  2. As I said before, we all have the stereotypes that we all automatically think about when talking about Valentine’s Day. It can be hard to think of a campaign idea that has not been done before. Most campaigns focus on people falling into a deep love, heart-shaped jewelry, and huge bouquets of roses. For many people, this isn’t the version of Valentine’s Day that they experience. People may be single, might live across the country from their partner and not see them on V-Day, or may not have the money to spend on Valentine’s Day. Public relations professionals need to focus on that. When thinking about a potential campaign, try and make it actually be relatable for people!
  3. Like #2 said, many people just simply aren’t in love! For these people, Valentine’s Day can be a dreaded day that they can’t seem to escape. The last thing we want to do is alienate those people. PR professionals need to make a point to really sell the alternatives for these people; ‘Galentine’s Day’ or ‘Singles Awareness Day.’
  4. And lastly, really think…does Valentine’s Day work with my brand? There are some brands that make sense to focus on Valentine’s Day and others that do not. The ones that do, run with it and put out that V-Day campaign. But before you do that, really think if it makes sense for you.

Although there is a lot of negative talk surrounding the love filled day, it can be a great opportunity for public relations professionals in the world.

Fall is Here!

When we think of fall, we all often think of the leaves changing colors, pumpkin spice and the weather getting cooler. It seems that as soon as September hits all the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holiday items hit the shelves. The fall season gives people in public relations a great opportunity to focus in on all the things that people love about fall. Fall is just the beginning of the holidays to come!

Pumpkin spice has turned into a phenomenon that everyone seems to be a fan of. Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks release their pumpkin spice and fall flavored drinks as early as August 17th. These yummy fall flavors are fan favorites and make for a great add into PR. This can be added into your regularly scheduled content, incorporated into social media captions, etc.

Food is a huge part of the fall/ holiday season and is the favorite part of the season for many people. Tailgating, cookouts, Thanksgiving, etc. are all huge selling points of fall. Food is something that PR professionals can easily work into their clients’ events, services or content. This could be as simple as posting an employees’ favorite tailgate recipe or adding in host/entertaining tips. Social media is largely filled with food pics that people eat up, literally!

When fall begins, so do many of our favorite sports. Sports are a huge market and loved by many. Linking sports to the brand or content can be very appealing through a sports fans’ eyes. Football and hockey both begin in the end of summer/beginning of fall. These are two sports with huge followings that would make for a good attention grabber.

Overall, I think there is something for everyone that takes place in Fall, whether that is the food, the drinks or the sports. Fall has so many fun activities and holidays that work into the public relations world very well.

Public Relations during Valentine’s Day

February means Valentine’s Day is coming up and Valentine’s Day means PR pitches
are going wild. During this month of love, brands are capitalizing on the holiday to lure in new
and existing customers or audiences. Billions of dollars are spent each year on gifts for people’s
significant others and loved ones. Whether it be a product or service being sold, PR
professionals are great at gearing their promotional efforts towards all things love and cupid. Not
only is this strategic and successful for these brands, but it is also fun for the people behind the
messages. This is an opportunity for their creative juices to start flowing and come up with
clever and intriguing concepts to relate their brand to the holiday.

I bet if you scroll through your social media feeds or email inbox, you will begin to see
countless Valentine’s Day themed campaigns from your favorite brands or even influencers.
With today’s use of influencer marketing, I would predict that there will be many influencers
being paid to promote products in relation to the holiday. For example, a makeup or perfume
brand may have someone create a post of them using their products to get ready for a date
night. This will then cause their followers to be persuaded that they should also be using those
products if they want to look or smell good on their own dates.

As we all know, a huge seller around this time of year is jewelry. Jewelry brands use a
great amount of PR in order to plan and execute their Valentine’s Day campaigns. They may
create commercials, love themed jewelry lines, social media posts, influencer programs and
much more. Let’s be honest, we all fall for the Kay Jewelers love stories where “every kiss
begins with Kay.” PR thrives off of holidays like Valentine’s Day, so begin to keep an eye out for
this content to see the creativity behind it all.

Halloween & Social Media Engagement

Halloween has just passed and the night for trick or treating and night time parties are behind us. Whether you stayed in to binge scary movies with your friends or family, or maybe you got invited to the best Halloween party in the city, we can all agree that the best part of Halloween is judging everyone’s costumes. Specifically, celebrity costumes.

In a PR perspective, having a celebrity client present an eye-opening costume brings in positive traction to their social media, a source of relevance if they were out of the spotlight for a minute. I’ll be listing some of my favorite celebrity costumes for this year, but I wanna focus on Cardi B’s costume and the attention the designer for the dress has garnered.

Now although a lot of celebrities like to wear multiple costumes up until Halloween, mostly for a professional photo shoot to post on Instagram, Cardi’s unofficial costume for the year has grabbed me by the neck. With nearly five million likes in a day, Cardi’s Morticia Addams costume has drawn appreciation to the designer of the outfit, Natalia Fedner. Her portfolio is already full of A-list celebrities such as Beyonce and the Kardashians, but brand awareness is always a must have when it comes to Instagram.

Now, as for my favorite celebrity costumes for Halloween 2021:

Hailey Baldwin as Britney Spears

Hailey’s dedication to Britney Spears comes in perfect timing as Britney has recently earned her freedom from the conservatorship from her family. The outfits are gorgeous and accurate while the photos are near perfection. 9/10

Megan Thee Stallion as Cruella de Vil

This look was definitely on the more simpler side, but the two-toned bangs with dalmatian spots is a trendsetter. 8/10

Doja Cat as Sara Bellum from “The Powerpuff Girls”

There are not enough words in the world to describe how much I love this costume. Sara Bellum is such an amazing character to dress up as and Doja Cat really pulled this off. 10/10

Chloe Bailey as Betty Boop

I honestly haven’t seen many Betty Boop costumes over the years, but I really appreciate how well Chloe recreated this look. It gives such a homage considering Betty Boop was originally based on an African-American singer. 9/10

Hayley Kiyoko as Kang Sae-byeok from “Squid Game”

Was there really going to be a Halloween this year if someone didn’t recreate the “Squid Game” look? I didn’t think so too, and that’s why singer Hayley did a fantastic job puling this off.

St. Patrick’s Day and Public Relations

Questioning Origins of St. Patrick’s Day Themes

Leprechauns, rainbows, parades, and beer are now some key factors in the modern St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. As much as we spend every March 17 blindly celebrating the holiday with these themes, have you ever stopped to think where all of these St. Patrick’s day themes came from? By looking back at the holiday’s history, one can ultimately find that public relations are the culprit for turning the originally Irish-Catholic holiday into the drunk green parades we now know and love.

Looking Back at the creation of St Patrick’s Day 

St. Patrick’s day was first recognized by the Vatican in 1631 as those in Ireland had celebrated the “religious feast day that commemorates the death of St. Patrick,” the nation’s patron saint credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, who died in the fifth century (Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise). “For most Irish people at home, the day remained primarily religious into the 20th century,” and did not even become “a public holiday in Ireland until 1904”.  

However, it was during this time in the 1900s that the holiday began to transform. During the 1920s – 1950s, the religious holiday was more somber with morning mass, a military parade, and closed bars. In the 1960s, the holiday began to become more exciting when celebratory parades began to replace the traditional military parades leading to the beginning of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival in 1966. The festival in Dublin, Ireland is more familiar to what we know now, including a “four-day event of music, treasure hunts, performances, and of course, on the day itself, a two-hour parade” that draws up to half a million people.

St. Patrick’s Day Traveling to the United States

Immigrants in the United States wanted to find a way to celebrate their pride “The first recorded celebrations of March 17 [in the United States] took place in Boston in 1737,” but it was not until 1766 when “the tradition of parading began amongst Irish Catholic members of the British Army in New York”. At the end of the civil war as more Irish immigrants came to the United States, and as the St. Patrick’s Day Festival began to surge in popularity in Ireland during the late 1960’s, Irish immigrants began to carry over their celebrations to the United States. This celebration was not only a tradition they carried from Ireland, but also a way to celebrate their culture as they were often stereotyped while in the United States. 

Public Relations Using Holiday for Profit

In the 20th century, marketing and public relations firms began to take advantage of the annual festival taking place in the United States. Companies’ event planners could plan out promotional events surrounding the annual festival. Some examples of this you might see today are parades, bar crawls, concerts, and game nights. Public relations workers took it even further and began to create season product lines involving anything that was the color green. Seasonal clothing, foods, drinks, and alcohol are all some of the ways that marketers began to use the holiday to their advantage for promotional purposes. The main marketing actions that solidify the event as a national holiday rather than a yearly festival are the greeting cards that began to become mass produced throughout the nation during March. Ultimately, the timing, unique colors, and entertaining events associated with Saint Patrick’s day on March 17 all tied perfectly together to create a joyous, cultural celebration just as the weather begins to become nicer out leading up to spring. 

The Strength of the Holiday

With the help of marketers and public relations professionals, St. Patrick’s day was able to stand the test of time on a national level. Beginning in the 1600s and a quiet religious holiday, festivals and marketers have transformed the holiday into the entertaining and joyous holiday we all know today. Although the original intent of public relations professionals may have been to profit off of the festivals, their actions lead to the continuous celebration of Ireland’s culture on a national level centuries after its origin in the 1600s.

All historical facts and statistics are outsourced from the “TIME” article “How America Invented St. Patrick’s Day” written by Zócalo Public Square on March 15, 2015. Zócalo Public Square is a magazine of ideas from Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise.

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Holidays and COVID

Traditionally during the year, many people visit family and friends for the holidays. Due to the unfortunate circumstances that have befallen us in 2020 regarding COVID-19 and the regulations that have been put in place to mitigate its spread, large gatherings have become something to frown upon by many people trying to do their part to keep America healthy. Coming from personal experience, my annual Christmas gathering at my grandma’s has been canceled, along with many other people’s, to no surprise, and New Years won’t be the same without a massive crowd watching a giant disco ball drop in New York. While everything might seem bleak going forward with the rest of the year and the months that follow, I have some tips that can help make a lonely holiday fun again (until we can go back to enjoying life as it was).

Secret Santa

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, gift giving (and receiving) is always an exciting experience. Since most people will be spending the winter holiday away from those they love, what better to do than set up a gift exchange via mail? My friends had the brilliant idea of doing so, and we organized a Secret Santa all online with wish lists and anonymity just like we were in person. Of course if you mail a gift to someone, the jig is up and it’s no longer a “secret” Santa, but the anticipation and gifts make it all worthwhile! Once everyone receives a gift in the mail (and knows it’s part of the gift exchange), set up a video chat with everyone, play some holiday jingles, dress for the occasion, and open the gifts altogether. The get-together won’t feel complete without hugs and some board games, but just make sure to save those for the next time it’s safe to gather! Plus, the added novelty of receiving a gift from someone far away makes this holiday tip all the more fun.

Online Fun

Since the beginning of quarantine, people have been coming up with ways to connect with others from afar. One of my favorite things to do to have fun with my friends while we’re apart is to play some online games together. One of the great things about video calls is screen sharing, since it’s perfect for having everyone look at the same screen at once when playing together. Depending on your friend group’s interests and their budget for these games, there are lots of options across the board. For your friends just looking for any sort of fun for free, play some Roblox and have an audio chat going on. If someone likes to host a lot, they can get Jackbox, something everyone can play on their phones together for a great time full of laughter. If everyone likes to game and owns a console, set up an online room for an Xbox, Nintendo Switch, or Playstation game. Personally, I’m a Nintendo fan, and Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart are definitely some of the best options for online fun with friends. This plan works even better if everyone can manage to designate a night for a meeting every week, two weeks, or month.

Not into gaming? Have a watch party for a movie or binge a series! Someone’s bound to have something everyone wants to watch, so get cozy, pop some popcorn, turn out the lights, hit play, and laugh or cry together with friends over the computer.

If TV’s not your thing either, a long conversation with a group of friends is always fun. There’s always something to talk about and you might be able to figure out some new ideas to have fun together remotely!

Unconventional But Safe!

This is for people who are really stir-crazy, need some company ASAP, have time on their hands, and have a friend or two who want to pitch in. Quarantine with friends for two weeks! Unless someone is okay with hosting without risking a possible spread of the virus amongst other people who live with them, Airbnb typically has deals for long stays at places, so a two week stay would be relatively affordable, depending on where you go, of course. This type of thing needs some decent planning beforehand, and getting a quick COVID test and its results before leaving home would probably be best. Not saying this is the most practical way to pass the time in quarantine, but it’s definitely plausible and it sounds like a lot of fun!

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