How Dove Created A Successful Valentine’s Day Campaign Without Spending A Penny

For last year’s Qixi Festival (the Chinese Valentine’s Day) on August 6th, Dove wanted to find a new and innovative way to promote its chocolate gift set in China. So looking for a love story that would help inspire young people in the country and help boost sales, they encountered an artist named Ma Jin, an artist who wanted to build a love shaped carriage to impress his girlfriend.

To do this, he needed numerous heart-shaped tin boxes by Dove to decorate, but since he didn’t have the funds to do this himself, sent out a request via web videos and Weibo to amass the materials needed. Naturally enough, the public helped out and his story was spread around different newspapers and websites. Dove jumped on board and became the official sponsors of the project and with this, the sales of Dove’s gift set went up. Ma Jin even ended up becoming a search trend in China named ‘carriage boy.’

The end results were impressive with over 47,683 retweets, 34,328 comments and a 226 per cent rise in Dove’s chocolate gift set sales during the Qixi Festival period. However, the most striking aspect behind this campaign, assuming that we can take it to be true, is that Dove didn’t have to spend a penny to advertise it, showing that it is very possible to market something for little to no cost, provided, of course, the campaign has a creative hook to drive it forward. Also, a little luck and ingenuity is needed as Ma Jin’s predicament was exactly the kind of thing that lent itself to what became a successful social media campaign.


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