[One of the Stormhoek cartoon labels we’re doing for Valentine’s Day, 2008. Click on image to enlarge etc.]
[IN OTHER NEWS: I’ll be in Paris in December, speaking at Lew Web 3. It’s quite an impressive list of speakers. Several people attending I’ve been wanting to meet for a couple of years now…]
It’s that time of the year again, when folks like me in the wine business start thinking about what to do for Valentine’s Day.
What we’ve done at Stormhoek is come up with some Valentine’s Day-themed cartoon labels, part of the much larger Stormhoek Cartoon Series we’re currently developing [Blue Monster Reserve is part of that].
So in the back of my mind, a wee voice is telling me, “Hey Kids, let’s do something interesting!”
Fair enough. Only, what constitutes “interesting”? I have a few ideas. How about yourself? I’m looking for input at the mo’. Please feel free to leave a comment below or send me an e-mail. Thanks.
[UPDATE:] Rik from Holland just sent me the following e-mail. Rock on.
Hugh. just read your post about the valentine’s ideas. Some thoughts:
Why not create a gift set of a nice box designed by you, with special valentines edition wine and a postcard on it (on a lovely ribbon of course) with one of your cartoons. Then create a website that lets people send one of these to the object of their affection, and lets them put a personal message on the card.
Shipping these things etc might take some doing, but you’ve got time to arrange for that 🙂
Or you could just send over the card and arrange for it to be a coupon for a bottle of wine at select wine grocers. But that may be slightly less romantic.
On a side note, seeing your whole plan to create social objects of/around your wines, why not do a quirky little wine bar in London. The city could use some decent ones, and this leaves you with a lot more options to do remarkable things. Tastings, in-house geek dinners, and when you make it cool enough (e.g. hire an exciting architect to do the interior) it will be a social object in itself.
imho. Have fun!
I like the greeting card idea. The second idea I’m less keen on [we’re in the wine business, not the bar business], although we did think about doing something like that in the past. If we were to open up our own bar, we would make it like Bedales in Spittalfields, only with free WiFi. Secondly, we’d open it in SF/Silicon Valley, not London.
In 2008 I plan to do a LOT more socializing over there…
i think Stormhoek should do a limited series of special edition labels that have your art and a creative, curmudgeonly, endearing marriage proposal on them. it could help a geeky guy be both romantic and clever in setting the scene for the big ask. it’s also perfect fodder for news outlets looking for something sweet to report at this time of year.
you could also do something playing on the angst of valentine’s day (let’s face it, single people detest it) and stormhoek could be sponsoring “who was in love with you anyway?” parties where your more crabby cartoons adorn bottles designed for scorned lovers and supportive friends. a break-up party of sorts.
i could go on and on, but you get the idea.
One of the things I learned from two years managing a gift shop/ice cream parlor, was that men don’t plan for Valentine’s Day. As much as women THINK that men planned ahead, it seems to come as quite the surprise that it is indeed Valentine’s Day and yes, they are expected to do something even for the most cynical lover.
Shipping a bottle of wine takes planning, but pop-up stores only take planning by you.
I suggest partnering with coffee shops (yes, we also sold coffee) and being there on Valentine’s Morning or on the 13th with last minute Stormhoek gifts.
1. Have seesmic available for men to pop off quick greetings to their lovers over email/video.
2. Get a font made of your (you Hugh, not universal you) handwriting, so some of your toons can be personalized without being totally vandalized.
3. Have easy to carry (remember, they are on their way to work and have to schlep it all day) wine gifts. No balloons, no flowers. A nice bag, a sweet card, a wonderful label.
4. Perhaps also partner with OpenTable or a local equivalent to get last minute reservations for men (and women, I’ll be fair) who forgot. Perhaps Stormhoek makes a number of reservations in fancy pants restaurants ahead of time and people can get them from you. And a special agreement with said restaurants that the bottle of wine and sweet card will be on the table.)
Plenty of women in my neighborhood thought they had very thoughtful men in their lives when I managed that shop, the truth is that I was a thoughtful gift seller and could make anything look personal and planned.
Help Stormhoek fill that role in non-traditional places.
I like Leah’s ideas very much even though they may be difficult to put into effect (either in non traditional outlets or in wine sellers/supermarkets).
But there’s a strong message here about facilitating the social exchange on this particular day beyond the provision of the social object. The marketing is not the social object after all, it’s about getting people to give it.
The gift set idea is great. My only advice is on the price point. Thinking a price point of $75 or less would be perfect. No matter what put me down for 1!!
why only SV and not London… no-one has quite got a wine bar that does that here…. just a thought….
I like leahs idea’s. It makes stormhoek a partner and friend in my life rather than just a source of booze.
Stomhoek should def. have a “Geek Love” dinner in SF on Valentines. Singles would embrace it and many couples would probably be happy not to have to go through the societally-enforced romance of the evening.
But on a non-Stomhoek/Hugh brand-building note…
Valentines has become too much of a “have and have-nots” day….a Hallmark holiday that most have come to dread, regardless of your relationship status. What I really miss was what Valentines Day was when we were children at school. Unless you had a particularly ripe schoolyard vendetta, you pretty much gave Valentines to everyone. Your best friends got the best of your valentines, but for the most part it was a day of democracy and generosity of friendship (really not all that different from Facebook when you think of it).
Why don’t you do a series of your cartoons that people can download and email to friends. Or do it as a facebook app so that you can select specific love-themed cartoons and mail to your facebook friends for valentines. If you really wanted to bring it back to 3rd grade, your profile could even list how many valentines you’ve received. It would be a good way to expand the Gaping Void audience by showcasing some of your best work…the nice bitter love stuff.