It is said that during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius II it was illegal for young men to marry their beloveds because the Emperor was concerned that young married men would be reluctant soldiers in his army. The story goes that that a priest named Valentine secretly conducted marriages between soldiers and their sweethearts, because he believed with all his heart in love… That priest was later sainted, and to this day, we celebrate Valentine’s Day on the anniversary of his death.
For shopping centers, cities, and retail spaces, Valentine’s Day is a once-a-year opportunity to attract customers, and a mix of services, discounts, promotions, and decorations all play a part in persuading visitors to spend their hard-earned money on their loved ones before and over the celebration.
Here are some of our top tips for making the most of this seasonal event with lighting and decoration.
Create the right atmosphere using light as the language of love
To create a romantic atmosphere, the right light is essential. Color temperature is particularly important: bright white light might be perfect for illuminating dark spaces, but warmer colors like champagnes, soft pink, or muted reds. With that in mind, use light to fill your shopping center, city or retail space with light that puts customers in the right mood for shopping for or spending time with their loved ones. Fill city streets and ever-green trees with hanging hearts, and combine traditional Valentine’s motifs with light sculptures of fashion and shopping brands to inspire shoppers.
Use light to create an interactive experience
Light needn’t be a static attraction that hides in the background. With clever use of the latest technology, you can create a light-feature for your space that users can interact with, and you can build a whole marketing campaign around the feature. A good example of this is the “Kiss-mass Tree” installed by MK Illumination UK at Trinity Centre: the enormous tree literally “lit up” when two people kissed. Trinity build a series of events around the unveiling of the tree, and were delighted when the first couple to kiss beneath the boughs also staged an unexpected marriage proposal! Great for the couple, great marketing for the center, and of course, a great reason for customers to visit the center and experience the tree for themselves!
Create a fun photo opportunity
Use light to turn a seemingly ordinary objective into a fun photo opportunity that encourages users to take photos and share them far and wide, which results in free word-of-mouth marketing for your space. Our “Swing of Love” installation in Hangchou combined a unique experience with the perfect photo opportunity: visitors sat on the swing, surrounded by hearts that gradually changed color, from orange to pink, purple to soft red, and gently swung to and fro. Photos from the swing went viral, and groups of friends and love-struck couples alike visited to the swing to try it out and catch themselves in the act. Equally fun but simpler, our Valentine’s Day bear in Belgium was part of a larger love-filled marketing campaign, and photos of locals and tourists sitting on the over-sized bear’s lap flooded social media.
Equally fun but simpler, our Valentine’s Day bear in Belgium was part of a larger love-filled marketing campaign, and photos of locals and tourists sitting on the oversized bear’s lap flooded social media.
And what about a photo booth that works all year round? In Iceland, one of our newest markets, we created a red heart-shaped chair for Kringlan shopping center in the same shape as the center’s logo, which means that with a little creative thinking, we’ve been able to create a heart-warming tool that Kringlan can use all year round. Beautiful and smart!
Make use of your “useless spaces”
Take inspiration from the up-and-coming city of Malmö, Sweden. Young, creative, vibrant, and always up for a bit of extra love, we worked with the local council to install a huge heart in the middle of a busy roundabout connecting major commuter roads that encompass a regional university hospital and one of the city’s most popular parks.
What a good way to spread a little TLC (tender loving care) to rushed commuters?
Be inspired by brilliant ideas: “From Väla with love!”
There are a number of reasons why Väla has been appointed Sweden’s best shopping center multiple times. One is certainly their capacity to repeatedly come up with strong, novel campaigns – and their ability to carry them out with finesse while creating a big buzz around them.
In 2018, the concept was Love. Väla arranged a wedding fair late spring (the peak in Sweden for getting married is traditionally around Whitsun and Midsummer). The twist – a competition with a wedding ceremony and celebration as the first prize. At the shopping center. With all the trimmings. Dress, suit, rings, make-up, hair, bouquet, ceremony, cake, photographer, presents, dinner for 50 guests, limo… you-name-it. All in all, a prize worth approximately 100 000 SEK.
The result was extraordinary and combined the center’s creative ideas with MK Illumination’s experience and expertise in using lighting and decoration to turn ideas into reality…
Curious? Get in touch for more details, or keep an eye out for the full case study that we’ll be posting in the next couple of weeks.
One celebration, countless opportunities
From simple string lighting that adds atmosphere and 2D lamp motifs that set the mood to 3D lighting sculptures and interactive lighting experiences that immerse visitors in the joy of Valentine’s Day, we’re full of ideas to help you make the most of this annual celebration.
If you’re ready to use lighting to enhance your Valentine’s Day celebrations, why not get in touch with us and learn how lighting can help you attract and retain visitors before and on the day.