Is there love for Valentine’s Day?

Yesterday was the most romantic day of the year: Valentine’s Day.

As Evros showed in his last post, 36% of Brits were planning to celebrate this.  But what do they think about it?

To understand this, we asked our Your Voice community what they think of Valentine’s Day and here is a heat map of the results:

Heat map

Source: Your Voice, OMD UK

The results are rather negative as the most popular answer was ‘I don’t care’ for 27% of them and 26% of them had a negative opinion of this celebration (with 11% saying they hated it).

When looking at the reasons behind those scores, not having someone to celebrate it with or this occasion being too commercialised were the top reasons; opinions shared by both singles and people with partners.

‘I just think it’s a holiday to get more money out of people. I think if you really care you should always show them and I do.’

Dan, 18-34

‘Overpriced, over rated, I don’t need a day to tell me how much I love my wife. I can do that any time I like.’

Stephen, 35-44

‘I’m long term single. It’s a day that reminds me of that, although I’m very happy to be single. Valentine’s day mildly annoys me, it seems like a silly thing and a way for shops to make more money.’

Rebecca, 35-44

‘It’s a pointless and commercial festival which reminds a lot of people how they have no partner or are unloved. It makes people desperate to spend money just to prove something to their partner because it is fashionable.’

Lynda, 45-54

Confirming these results, 76% of Brits feel that Valentine’s Day is too commercialised. This figure rises even higher among married people (source: Mintel).

However, it seems that this negative sentiment doesn’t stop people spending more as almost half of Brits spent some money for Valentine’s Day (source: Mintel).

This shows the social obligation to make a special effort for our partners that lies behind this special day.

When looking at people spending money for this occasion, an average of £42 is used to please the other half, which makes 14th February the biggest spending opportunity out of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Easter.

Within this, 44% bought gifts whereas 48% of consumers would rather spend money on a treat such as an experience or a meal out.

When looking at what type of experiences, we asked Your Voice participants that are in a relationship what their Valentine’s plans were:

What are you planning to do on Valentine's Day

Source: Your Voice, OMD UK

The top results were cooking a meal at home (33%), nothing (31%) and a night in (26%).

Interestingly, 13% of respondents said they would decide spontaneously on the day, showing that it is not all about planning.

There seems to be a need for more intimacy and better value on this day as well, as only 9% said they were planning to eat out at a nice restaurant.

When asked which brands or ads they associated with this holiday, the big winners are cards, flowers, chocolate, alcoholic drinks, jewellery and cosmetic brands.

‘The first brands that come to my mind, on Valentine’s day, are greeting card one’s.  Hallmark, Clinton Cards, Card Factory, Funky Pigeon, Moonpig.  And dare I say…poundland!

I’ve seen loads of Valentine’s adverts, and have received endless email newsletters today, all about what to buy your loved one.  Pandora, Boots, Superdrug, The Perfume Shop, to name a few!’

Elaine, 55+


Source: Boots

However, supermarkets have managed to be part of the celebration too, probably linked to the fact that a lot of people planned to make meals at home as a celebration. One of the most quoted ads and brands was the Marks and Spencer’s dine in for two offer.

‘I always think about the M&S dine in meal for two at Valentine’s these days, probably because I am settled down with young children and never get to go out and celebrate Valentine’s anymore! I think the M&S meal is great though and good for those of us who are stuck indoors at this time of year’

Louise, 18-34

Marks and Spencer

Source:  Marks and Spencer

So when connecting your comms with Valentine’s Day, it seems important to take into account the brand’s legitimacy in this area (whether it is linked to the gifting occasion or the special treat occasion) to avoid being accused of making it a purely commercial opportunity, as well as injecting some real values, authenticity and intimacy.

However, the resounding negativity Brits have also opens a big opportunity for Anti-Valentine’s communications, celebrating singles or gently mocking purchases for this occasion in a tongue-in-cheek way.


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