Love and Hisses: The Zoo’s Valentine’s Day Marketing



If chocolates and flowers aren’t your idea of a sweet Valentine’s Day – Here’s something else you can try

Ariella Brown

January 21 2020

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With Valentine’s Day looming, some may be wondering what gift is not too cliché for the holiday. The Bronx Zoo offers an answer: for just $15 you can name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after that special someone and receive a certificate of authenticity.

The original Name-A-Roach was launched by the Bronx Zoo in 2011, providing the opportunity for anyone to express their feelings not through boring flowers or candy but through bugs. The idea has become popular enough to be embraced by other zoos, some of which suggest adding on the experience of seeing the selected cockroach being fed to a meerkat. 

The Bronx Zoo keeps it classy, though with no overt suggestions of schadenfreude. OK, it admits that some may get a kick out of naming the roach for the person they hate, but it also seems to think many may mean it as a sincere homage to the person they love.

The message the zoo sends out via emails allows you to have it both ways, a creatively romantic gesture or a purchase that just delivers personal satisfaction:

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Just in case a certificate won’t cut it as a gift for your Valentine, the zoo also extends the possibility of purchasing some roach themed gift items to be given solo or in conjunction with the certificate for the name. In previous years, the items were mugs or hats, and this year they are candles and socks.

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At least the recipient will have something interesting to share when asked “What did you get for Valentine’s Day?” That – and the desire to support the zoo’s mission – are what drive people to buy these things for the holiday.

This article was originally published by our friends at PostFunnel.

About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. In the early days of online commerce, he achieved Power Seller status at eBay, which then propelled him to become a founding partner of, a contact lens, and eyewear retailer. After a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus, where he is a Strategic Advisor helping brands continue to grow and scale with the Shopify Commerce Platform.

To maintain a competitive edge and life of learning mantra, Steve also hosts and produces a top-rated weekly podcast show, eCommerce Fastlane, where he interviews Shopify partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands build and scale lifetime customer loyalty.