Valentine’s Day is around the corner and we all know what that means…the pressure is on to make dinner plans, get flowers, chocolate, jewelry…the whole nine. If you’re anything like me, you might ask yourself how such a silly holiday came to be. After all, we should feel free to express love whenever we want, right? Well, if you haven’t asked yourself that question, perhaps you will now.
Valentine’s Day, deemed the Hallmark holiday, gained popularity in American culture in the late 1800s. However, the very first Valentine’s Day cards in the US were created by a woman named Esther Howland. Esther is said to be “The Mother of the American Valentine” and paved the way for brands like Hallmark to capitalize in the name of love.
Americans spend quite a bit of money on Valentine’s Day…like $17.3 billion a year…and that number is estimated to jump to $18.9 billion this year. (No, there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight. That is an outrageous amount of money to spend for one single day.) To show our love, we spend $2 billion on candy, $2 billion on flowers, $4-5 billion on jewelry and $703 million on pet presents. Drunk in love!
Brands like Hershey, Hallmark, American Greetings, Tiffany & Co, Victoria’s Secret, and 1-800-FLOWERS may have it all figured it out; but there are plenty of other big brands trying to get a piece of the pie. And they are using creativity to cash in.
McDonald’s launched its “Pay with Lovin”campaign at the perfect time that will run until February 14th.
Starbucks has partnered up with Match.com for Valentine’s Day. Match’s mobile app will include functionality called “Meet at Starbucks.” Match users who click on it can message one another to meet up at a nearby Starbucks.
Coke also brought back its Virtual Vending Machine, only visible to couples, for the 3rd consecutive year.
And at Qdoba, if you order one smothered burrito, then kiss a willing participant, you’ll receive a second smothered burrito, free. (Maybe they should consider partnering with Altoids.)
So, while you probably won’t buy love with a burrito, you will contribute to the $3.6 billion that will make restaurateurs’ hearts pitter-patter with joy.
A silly holiday? Perhaps. (Although I might change my mind if I got the little blue box.)
What do you think of Valentine’s Day?