“My Funny Valentine; Sweet Spending Valentine”

Valentine’s Day makes less sense than Christmas, especially if you’re already in a relationship. I mean, I guess if you’re single it’s a good chance to use them cringey Valentine pick-up lines you came up with, but that’s not the point here. The only real winner on Valentine’s Day are the brands. Valentine’s Day is not important, but most customers will be more than happy to pay £30 for a bunch of flowers which cost £12 on any other day of the year. I was conversing with my mum about this and she agreed. “You should be showing love everyday,” she said. But she still celebrates this day because she’s a passive consumer. I’m not. That’s why I’m writing this blog article. Active and passive consumers play different parts on this day.

Why?

What not to buy for Valentine's. Chocolate, roses... in fact, no presents at all. Photo taken from Highsnobiety
(Highsnobiety, 2017)

Most of you already know that it’s daylight robbery. But why do you still do it? Why do you pay double for a meal on Valentine’s Day instead of just going the day before or the day after? Are you just a fool for commercialism? Your everyday media (e.g. TV, Internet, Radio etc) make it seem absurd if you don’t take part in these “celebratory” holidays. Some may disagree with this because they think that it’s perfectly normal to not take part in these traditions, but I just want to make it clear I’m talking about the media here. But from the perspective of an active consumer, if the media didn’t think it’s illogical to take part, why do they always push it on to you? Why do they flood your timelines and your feeds with all things Valentine’s Day? They want expect you to be involved. They want your money.

You want your date/crush/partner to think you’re the “Bee’s Knees”? You empty your wallet on us and we’ll give you the “perfect gift for your Valentine”. This is what the big brands subtly communicate and what you so obliviously accept. It is that exact statement with a sprinkle of persuasion. That is essentially what Valentine’s Day is.

How the Brand Wins

I saw an advert on my timeline from Forbes, which stated “time to show your special someone how much you care.” I mean… you should be doing that anyway right? The only reason Valentine’s Day actually has value is because brands put it in their calendar, not because you put it in yours. An ideology is shaped to have you believe this day is important. Simple lines like “perfect gifts for your partner”, “celebrate your love”, “show how much you care”, and so on, have many consumers believing this day has significance. As soon as companies roll out these Valentine’s marketing campaigns, alarm bells start ringing in consumers brains. “Oh shoot it’s Valentine’s Day soon”. Boom. Presents bought. Tables booked. Cash splashed. “Ching Ching,” says the big man upstairs.

This day may hold significance for some people, but for most it’s unnecessary. I can remember when Burger King came up with the idea of the McWhopper as a sign of peace with McDonalds for World Peace Day. How often do you celebrate World Peace Day? For most, probably never. I mean you’re all aware but you don’t do anything for it. But that one campaign brought a ton of awareness towards it. The power of advertising at its finest. The reason Valentine’s is such a big deal is because it’s done on a much larger scale and for a much longer period of time. It’s been embedded into consumers minds that this is a day to mark down on your calendar’s.

Passive Consumer’s

A passive consumer won’t look past the words in front of them, or the images on their screen. They take it as it is. They don’t think deeper. They just agree with the brands telling them Valentine’s Day is important. In fact, they just agree with anything brands tell them, especially their favourite brands. They think of them as their friends. They influence who they are and the lifestyle they live, I guess just like friends do.

I know it sounds like it, but I’m not calling them idiots. I’m just saying it’s a lot easier to sell to a passive consumer than it is an active one. A passive consumer is already interested in buying. When advertising, brands don’t have to communicate how important Valentine’s Day is, they just act like it already is. To be quite frank, it’s very smart.

Active Consumer’s

They are aware of what the brands are trying to do. I’m not saying active consumers don’t do Valentine’s Day, because they do; but they have greater awareness of the choice they are making.

It’s 2019, most consumers fall into this category. Adverts are becoming a thing of the past and so convincing the Valentine’s Day meaning to active consumers is a challenge. Brands are having to go beyond the conventional advert. They’re doing it well, however, as I’m sure the jewellery stores and florists will tell you.

Might be worth your love, but…

Is it worth your dough? If you’re going to buy your partner chocolates, or flowers, or whatever cliché gift you’re thinking of; be smart and do it on any other day but the 14th of Feb. If you want your Valentine to be your wallets favourite brand, by all means give them what they want.

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