CategoryA13. Excellence in Audience Engagement & Distribution Strategy


Name Company Position
Thomas Hutley OMD Australia Head of Social

The Campaign

We challenged their longstanding direct response approach of a rational based CTA. We demonstrated that when it comes to love, an emotional solution would provide better engagement and better business outcomes. A focus group with singles and couples gave us the crux of what people thought of Valentine’s Day. Interestingly, one common thought came up… When did Valentine’s Day become so serious? Singles dreaded it, couples were overly cynical. A survey conducted by eHarmony backed this up; a third of Aussie’s hadn’t received a Valentine’s Day card in 10+ years. This led to our insight. Over the years, Valentine’s Day had become a negative experience. Gone were the days of writing a secret card or the anticipation of receiving an anonymous card. We had to put the spark back into Valentine’s Day, remind our audience of their crush-fuelled youth and make it a positive experience. ‘Be My Valentine’ was born.

Creative Execution

We were confident that our content would create an emotional connection with our audience and deliver strong social engagement. Our paid strategy, however, had an integral job of increasing subscription numbers. To do this we had to reach singles, encouraging them that eHarmony was the online dating destination for them. Two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, our content was amplified across YouTube, Twitter and leading Australian websites via Outbrain. We leveraged Facebook to reach singles within eHarmony’s target audience of 25-44 and re-targeted those that had viewed the content with a follow up to send a card. To extend the campaign offline, the kids handmade cards were turned into post cards and distributed at social environments all over Australia. To maximise share of voice on Valentine’s Day, we asked Twitter users to submit their last-minute dating dilemmas with our little love ambassadors then directly responded with personalised video advice.

The campaign period delivered the highest subscription rates in almost a year with a 65% reversal of eHarmony’s 3-year trending subscription decline. This was not at the expense of profitability as conversion rates improved by 5.8% compared to last year’s average. This was coupled with an increase of 118%+ in free registrations to paid subscriptions. The content achieved 850,000+ views and 8,400+ social mentions (8% being social shares), delivering an additional earned media reach of 112%. A 64% share of voice and a 98% positive sentiment score, meant that we outshouted Tinder for the first time in 2 years, while driving positive brand affinity. The #bemyvalentine hashtag trended on Twitter over the Valentine’s weekend and the campaign generated international acclaim, included in the ‘The 10 best Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaigns’ by US based industry blog, Yoto. We made hopeful romantics believe in the magic of Valentine’s Day all over again.

eHarmony had suffered from a 3-year trending decline in subscriptions due to free dating apps, such as Tinder and Bumble disrupting the market. They had invested heavily in direct response to drive subscriptions but this had come at an expense of brand engagement. eHarmony’s share of voice was an all-time low and they needed to change tact. We challenged the client’s longstanding approach, recommending a content led strategy to emotionally connect with the audience. Using young kids in our content allowed us to communicate the raw and innocent side of romance, which delivered highly shareable content that captivated our audience.

Through the entertaining voice of kids, eHarmony would tap into the simplicity of young love and help our audience rediscover their romantic spark. We recruited kids aged 5-7 and developed a content series where they shared their honest, sincere and uncomplicated thoughts on love, romance and Valentine’s Day. As well as giving advice, the kids drew Valentine’s Day Cards, which we turned into e-cards that our audience could send via a dedicated website. A CTA drove people to visit the site where they had the option of sending an anonymous card or join eHarmony to find their Valentine’s Day match. The campaign was purposely themed to appeal to both singles and those in a relationship. We knew singles already felt marginalised this time of the year so wanted to be clear that this wasn’t about celebrating love, but remind people of the uncomplicated experience Valentine’s Day used to be.