How We Helped Beloved San Francisco Ice Cream Brand Smitten Connect to Consumers on Valentine’s Day

At Cutwater, we pride ourselves on leveraging everything at our disposal. Whether that means finding ways to use creative assets in novel ways, or turning consumer insights into actionable campaigns, we’re always on the lookout for exciting material. And we love to find inventive ways to leverage holidays and big events. This year, we shook up Valentine’s Day in order to make the most of a holiday that only offers us 24 hours to express our love.

Our client Smitten often serves as the highlight of a good date night, offering a place to pick up a pint of ice cream for Netflix-and-chill nights in, or the dessert portion of a Caviar order when getting date-night dinner delivered. Smitten ice cream shops are often chosen for first dates destinations or as the finale to a romantic dinner. And, Smitten is a brand that celebrates all types of relationships – from traditional to non-conventional – celebrating all kinds of people celebrating their love.

In order to use the holiday to drive traffic to the Smitten shops in the Bay Area during the month of February we created a campaign that features real couples from the Bay Area. We created an in-store mural featuring a custom-made cupid illustration and encouraged customer interaction by having the mural serve as a backdrop for photo ops. Naturally, this mural led to user generated content that frequently now appears on social channels of our target audience – the tech-obsessed, early adopters with an interest in food, pop culture, media/current events, and sustainability. Smitten liked the cupid illustrations, and the customer interaction they created, so much that the murals will live in their stores year-round and become part of the overall brand instead of just an aspect of this promotion. 

We partnered with San Francisco’s favorite on-line publication, 7x7, to sponsor their biggest editorial of the year, “Big Eat SF”, which garnered over 100K page views during the 2 weeks that we sponsored it. We also built a targeted Instagram campaign to reach current and potential customers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Using Instagram Stories, we created a gamified promotion where half of our target were served the left side of an ice cream cone while the other half received the right and then people were asked to screenshot the image and find someone else with the other half of the cone in order to complete the ice cream and redeem the two-for-one promo.

The Smitten promotion proved to be a great opportunity to strengthen the existing link between Smitten and the dream date night of their targeted consumer while creating new creative assets for the brand that they can share not just on Valentine’s Day, but on every day of the year.