Holidays provide a great opportunity for clever campaigns that tap into the festive mood. The best combine the familiar trappings of the occasion with a timely twist that captures people’s attention.

Take Sweethearts “Situationships” – Spangler Candy put their blurry and misprinted product to work making the most of the noncommittal dating trend. It’s also a brilliant way for the candy company to put otherwise defective product to good use.

“Filled entirely with sweet, meaningless nothings and literal mixed messages, our box of blurry candies is the perfect gift for Situationships everywhere,” says the Sweethearts Candies site.

Released in January, specially designed boxes of the classic conversation hearts candy pay homage to the “situationship,” defined as “a romantic or sexual relationship that is undefined and noncommittal … more than friends but less than committed romantic partners,” by

You know the merch is on target when it sells out, and in this case, Cupid’s arrow hit the bullseye, as they sold out within hours. But you can sign up for the next drop before Valentine’s Day, as well as take advantage of a trio of Sweethearts Situationships e-cards designed for Instagram, which feature messages like, “Not sure if it’s love or not, but it’s sweet either way.”

Slide Into The ‘Love Castle’ With Burgers And Branded Merch

A Valentine’s Day veteran, century-old slider chain White Castle is again set to transform participating restaurants into “Love Castles” – complete with festive décor and table service – on February 14. The tradition dates back to 1991, and reservations are recommended.

New this year is a “Love Clutch Collection” meal designed to be shared, plus branded Valentine’s Day merch available via White Castle’s House of Crave online store. The collection includes a robe adorned with cupids and sliders, heart-shaped sunglasses and White Castle T-shirts in two different designs – including one with conversation hearts-style sliders bearing “crave” and “slide” messages that align with White Castle’s overall branding.

baby blue T-shirt with pink heart and conversation sliders graphic

IMAGE: White Castle House of Crave

Hydrate Your Honey With A Texas-sized Tankard

Move over, Stanley x Starbucks – Texas-based gas station (and snack and merch wonderland) chain Buc-ee’s released its own Valentine’s Day Fit Forty Tumbler, which promptly sold out and appeared on auction sites for four to six times its retail price of $24.98. Texas Snax, an online reseller of Buc-ee’s merchandise, called the collectible cup “the perfect companion for your romantic adventures” and “a must-have for your collection” – and promptly sold out of its stash, priced at $44.99.

The white Yukon Outfitters tumbler features a pink lid, straw and handle and is decorated with smaller pink, red and white hearts (some of them bearing romantic messages, of course). In the center is a large heart graphic that reads, “Buc-ee’s will never break my heart,” as well as the year. The brand’s cartoon beaver mascot, wearing his signature red cap plus heart-shaped sunglasses for the occasion, also appears in that main decoration, as well on the reverse side of the tumbler near the bottom.

The tumbler is just one piece in the Buc-ee’s Valentine’s Day collection, which features the cartoon critter on tees, socks, hair bows, a coloring book and a plush toy. Given that red is a primary color for the brand, Valentine’s Day is a perfect holiday for the company to use for added merchandising. Consider how your clients’ brand colors might also align with traditional holiday color schemes for festive marketing opportunities.

Make It ‘O-fish-ial’ With This Diamond Ring

Brands making diamonds out from their product materials is catching on, with A&W Restaurants offering the chance to win an orange diamond engagement ring in a drawing open through Valentine’s Day. The one-carat stone is nestled in a custom setting that features A&W’s ampersand.

Fashioned in a lab using carbon extracted from a half-dozen A&W Quarter Pound Cod Sandwiches, the ring is the star of “The Cod Collection” of jewelry that also includes earrings, a necklace, a bracelet and cufflinks, all made using elements from the fish sandwich or A&W’s signature root beer float.

A&W Restaurants "The Cod Collection" jewelry on orange background

IMAGE: A&W Restaurants

Those who enter the drawing will receive a buy-one-get one-free coupon for A&W’s new fried fish sandwich valid on February 14, which is both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, when many people follow the Catholic tradition of eating fish on Fridays. In fact, the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish was created specifically to boost business during the religious observance. But A&W is leaning into romance for this promotion.

“A diamond is forever,” Liz Bazner, senior director of marketing for A&W Restaurants said in a statement, “so while A&W’s new Quarter Pound Cod Sandwich might only be available for a limited time, our exclusive ring will serve as a fin-tastic reminder of when you first hooked your sweetheart.”