Every year Valentine’s Day comes around and divides the nation into two camps – the naïve optimists and the savvy pessimists. There are those of us who love the idea of romance and extravagance of getting dressed up and going somewhere lovely on the 14th, surrounded by other couples basking in their celebrated love for one another and this glorious pink and red holiday. And then there are those of us who think that the aforementioned people aren’t wise.
We took to Twitter to get your opinions on what Valentine’s Day is all about, and you overwhelmingly agreed that the day was a clever marketing ploy, rather than a genuine holiday or even ‘a load of cr*p’.
It’s true that restaurant bills double in price and florists halve in efficiency around Valentine’s Day, and the Valentine’s Day that we see today is a far cry from the Valentine’s that its Roman namesake intended. Though the origins of St Valentine are conflicted and shrouded in mystery, a commonly accepted tale of St Valentine is that he was a priest in the 3rd century who performed forbidden marriages for military men and their lovers.
So, how did this originally religious holiday transform from a celebration of saints to the most successful time of the year for restaurants, florists and jewellers? We believe that it happened through marketing.
Throughout the generations, brands have effectively appealed to the softer side of human nature, coercing many of us to part with our cash for gifts, dinners and gestures to display our love for one another in the loudest, smuggest manner possible.
Arguably one of the more sentimental holidays celebrated in the UK, Valentine’s appeals to more human emotions than are easily listed. From an innate desire to be loved to an intrinsic competition amongst us all to appear to live the perfect life and be part of the perfect relationship, the Valentines market have a product to sell you that will satisfy any desire.
The rise of Valentines as an exercise in exploitation has been significant enough in recent years to birth the new holiday, ‘Galantine’s Day’, the day before Valentine’s Day. Masked as an exercise in female empowerment, the day feeds off the side effects of Valentine’s Day, and works off the assumption that women who do not have a partner will feel inadequate enough to spend money consuming their own, customised holiday.
As long as the fundamentals of human nature continue to exist, there will always be a way to market Valentine’s day, and industry sees Valentines Marketing adapting to the contemporary climate. For example, Uber is a business that survives on the basis of how convenient they are to their users, the obvious marketing strategy for Valentine’s day was to target those who felt obligated to partake in Valentine’s day for their partner but either forgot until they day or weren’t inclined to make a huge amount of effort. Uber offered the service of delivering flowers on behalf of their customers, and all they had to do was click on the rose icon. Payment would be taken automatically, just like if they were ordering a cab. A far cry from the romance of picking up a box of chocolates for your beau on your way home from work.
If nothing else, Valentine’s day is the opportunity to create a marketing strategy that calls on creativity and innovation to provide a service or add value, with a considerably higher chance of being successful.