Lowe’s invites couples to splash-painting date night for Valentine’s Day

Dive Brief:

  • Lowe’s is offering 50 couples an in-store splash-painting date night, per a press release. The “Night of Lowemance” event will take place on Feb. 14 from 8-10 p.m. in 10 cities deemed among the “most romantic” by the retailer, including Chicago, Denver, New Orleans and Milwaukee.
  • Winning couples will be hosted in a dedicated area of a Lowe’s store within each city, begin the night with a toast and light bites, and then choose a “menu” of HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams paint colors to splash-paint a blank canvas that they can keep. Couples, who must reside within one of the 10 metro areas, can enter at lowes.com/valentines through Feb. 7.
  • Due to COVID-19 safety concerns, attendance is limited to five pairs of people at each store. Couples who aren’t chosen or live outside of the 10 markets can register for a virtual, at-home date night experience, hosted by a special guest.

Dive Insight:

Lowe’s “Night of Lowemance” finds the home improvement retailer dipping its toe into experiential marketing, a tactic that had surged in popularity over the past few years before being sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic. The splash-painting theme ties into how many consumers have turned to home improvement projects to occupy themselves during the health crisis. The limited number of guests and activations allows Lowe’s to keep the activation socially distanced and relatively COVID-19-safe, as was the case with a recent campaign that turned a 7-Eleven into a “gaming palace.”

Under CMO Marisa Thalberg — who joined the retailer just before the pandemic’s onset in the U.S. — Lowe’s has rolled out a series of innovative marketing campaigns that met the challenges and changing demands of the pandemic. During the first weeks of the health crisis, the retailer debuted a campaign that encouraged people to support first responders by building and posting signs with messages of gratitude in their yards. As marketers looked to engage with consumers around disrupted and altered events, Lowe’s collaborated with “American Idol,” the NFL and New York Fashion Week. This latest effort comes as couples celebrate the first Valentine’s Day of the pandemic in the U.S.

“We thought, how better to translate all of the great DIY energy we’ve seen for months into some really romantic DIY energy,” Thalberg said in the press release. “In a year where traditional Valentine’s Day options remain limited, we are ready to turn Lowe’s into the ultimate date night for a few lucky couples… that they never knew they needed.”

While the in-store activation is limited to 10 markets, Lowe’s is expanding its effort with a virtual, at-home experience hosted by an as-yet-unnamed special guest. The virtual experience allows the retailer to reach more consumers, and follows the increase in virtual experiences — and date nights — that have been favored by marketers including Red Lobster and O’Doul’s during the pandemic.

Lowe’s joins other marketers that have had to change their Valentine’s Day plans due to the pandemic. White Castle will transform about 300 of its locations into “classic drive-ins, complete with carhop service,” while Dunkin’ is promoting its seasonal menu with an experiential campaign that includes a chance for couples to get married or renew their vows in a drive-thru lane.

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