The festive season is undoubtedly synonymous with love, joy and togetherness – themes that irrefutably recur every year within Christmas campaigns across the marketing industry. Whilst it’s a staple of many retailers to ‘sell love’ within their Christmas campaigns, how do you sell love at Christmas, when your brand bestseller might not necessarily be at the top of a typical stocking filler list? We asked just this to Christina Weaver, Senior Affiliate Marketing Executive at online adult retailer Lovehoney.
Matilda Rose Moir
Lovehoney is an online Global retailer that specialises in selling sex toys, lingerie and erotic gifts. The brand was first launched in 2002 by colleagues and friends Neal Slateford and Richard Longhurst, who wanted to challenge societies view on sex toys as pornographic – setting out to create a more accessible, inclusive and approachable way to buy lingerie and erotic products on the internet. Their tagline is ‘the sexual happiness people’ and they are the UK’s biggest online adult retailer. Lovehoney has been a client of NMPi by Incubeta since July 2019 providing services in CSS, Display and Creative.
Overcoming Sexual Stigma.
One of the main challenges Lovehoney faces is striking the right balance in order to make their vast range of consumers happy. Sexuality covers a huge spectrum, and as a brand they have to navigate topics such as sexual stigma whilst making their products accessible to a spectrum of sexualities and genders. One of the main ways Lovehoney approaches this is via a ‘tactful strategy’. The brand avoids using gender specific terms – choosing to describe their products relating to body parts rather than gender pronouns. They also strive to be inclusive, and are the proud retail leaders in ‘Bedroom Plus-Size Lingerie’ – creating designs specifically for plus sized people, rather than upsizing the smaller designs. Lovehoney also works with a number of sexperts and influencers to overcome sexual stigmatisation and share the sexual happiness message across a wide range of audiences and to connect with consumers.
As a brand that specialises in selling sex toys and erotic gifts it can be difficult to navigate the restrictions associated with the advertisement of such products on the internet. The primary step that Lovehoney takes – to safeguard internet users – is by age-gating every piece of external marketing collateral; such as display ads and social media content, at 18 years. Secondly, the brand avoids using certain more realistic ‘adult products’ in their mainstream media, to ensure they’re not re-targeting consumers with ads displaying potentially inappropriate or phallic content. Instead, Lovehoney chooses to focus on lingerie, branding or key event themes in their mainstream content. Using interactive ads such as gift guides, and top buys to incorporate the more x-rated products, such as vibrators and dildos within their advertising.
So how exactly does Lovehoney sell love at Christmas, when vibrators aren’t necessarily at the top of a ‘typical’ stocking filler list? Primarily through strong education and PR across the sector. The brand utilises content, such as their podcasts and YouTube channel to promote their branding and ‘sexual happiness’ messaging throughout the market. Whilst they see a natural influx of couples purchasing gifts in the lead up to Christmas, Lovehoney ensures their content is relatable to both individuals in partnerships and singletons, using catch phrases such as ‘self-gifting’ and ‘everyone deserves sexual happiness’.
For more information on how NMPi by Incubeta has partnered with Lovehoney, have a read of our latest case study ‘Promoting Self-Love for Lovehoney’ or click here to watch the full interview.