Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Some brands are desperate.
It's with good reason, as many depend on constant action for their business in a monstrously competitive environment. So every single reason they can find to create a promotion, they leap upon with unseemly abandon.
The vast one lurking is Valentine's Day. A day of love and an opportunity for some restaurants to repackage the produce they haven't managed to sell and charge twice as much for it.
Naturally, fast food brands are among those which want to be creative in order to deserve your love.
Burger King, a brand of outré sensibilities, conceived of quite a wheeze. It wants you, should you live in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Boston, to bring a photo of your ex to one of its restaurants. If you live in New York, you can also a piece of their clothing, their letters or even, Lordy, one of their stuffed animals.
You're to put it into a ceremonial breakup box. In return, you'll receive a Whopper.
I suppose if you're alone on Valentine's Day, a free burger isn't the worst thing. Even if you have to do something faintly creepy. Which is, of course, brand appropriate. And, in some way, a cross-promotion with the new Birds of Prey movie.
Yet I fear I've found a Valentine's Day promotion that's even more bizarre.
Fast casual chain Qdoba Mexican Eats will celebrate the 10th year of its Qdoba For A Kiss promotion.
I can already feel your hackles lifting. Hark, then, the details:
On Friday, February 14, guests who visit any participating Qdoba location, purchase an entrée and share a kiss with someone or something, will receive a free entrée (of equal or lesser value). Whether planted on your Valentine, a cup of queso, or yourself (it counts!), a smooch is all you need to unlock this incredible deal at participating locations.
Share a kiss with yourself? Share a kiss with something? An inanimate object?
Oh, I fear there'll be people kissing tables, chair legs, the floor, and who knows what other inanimate object. Americans have a particular adoration for free, after all. And for extreme entertainment.
You might think Burger King's idea is still creepier.
Yet while the chain promises to privately destroy all the pictures, trinkets and stuffed animals you bring -- just imagine all those flame-grilled stuffed bears -- the picture of you kissing an unfortunate inanimate object may be on Twitter before you've swallowed your Qdoba.
Because fast food brands don't expect the traffic on Valentine's Day, they feel they have to manufacture it. Have you heard about Olive Garden's breadstick bouquets? Or the, oh, back ribs bouquet from Boston Garden?
baby back ribs bouquet. only available on valentine's day while supplies last. pic.twitter.com/6AfZgS9m3g-- Boston Market (@bostonmarket) February 4, 2020
And who can criticize this fervor? Most important, however, is whether the promotion feels right for the brand. Something might sound charming, ridiculous or even borderline creepy, but is it really you?
Consumers are less likely to fall in love if you're not being yourself.
Marketing is like real life, after all.