February has arrived and Cupid’s arrow has been fired. This year is no different to any other, and we are surrounded by an array of gifts and treats.
Each year in the UK alone we Brits spend £1.6 billion on Valentine’s Day, so it’s no surprise brands want to encapsulate the essence of this celebration and get their share of the market.
Here’s an insight into the history of this event and some of the brands that have helped develop this multi -billion pound industry.
One theory of when this celebration of love began, is that this was a pagan festival of fertility dating back to the Roman times. Later Pope Gelasius is said to have changed the name, to Christianise the affair and declared it St Valentine, showing an early form of rebranding.
During the Renaissance, Cupid – the Roman God of Love -was a popular character featured in paintings. This angelic figure later became the most recognised symbol of Valentine’s Day that brands marketed to the masses.
Coca Cola is an example of a brand who cleverly incorporated Cupid into their promotional material in their early days of production. In 1889, Coca Cola created Valentine’s calendars and later released Valentine’s prints in 1929. Similarly to their beloved Christmas ads depicting Santa and the Coca Cola Christmas Truck, from an early age they mirrored the symbols relating to certain events and made then synonymous with Coke. Coke personalised their bottles to match people’s name which was a popular gesture for Valentines Day.
Sweet Like Chocolate
Since the 15th century chocolate has been regarded as an aphrodisiac and associated with love. The cherished British chocolate manufacturer Cadburys burst onto the market with their first heart shaped box back in 1861. This iconic brand created intricately decorated boxes that the Victorians prized as special gifts.
Today this standardised heart shaped box sells an outstanding 36 million worldwide each year.
Throughout the years, Cadburys have remained a strong candidate in the confectionary industry, with their Valentines product portfolio developing every year. Alongside the heart shaped box, the Milk Tray is a product that has moved from strength to strength, with a little help from, of course – The Milk Tray man. With his mystique and danger- loving romantic agenda, he made viewers believe the way to a woman’s heart was this luxurious purple box.
This campaign really grabbed the hearts of the nation and created a sense of desirability and quality for the product. After a while the excitement of this campaign died down and the novelty of receiving a Milk Tray wore off. However, now after a thirteen year break the Milk Tray man is back… but can he make you fall in love with the Milk Tray box again?
Furthermore, in recent years the Christmas classics Toblerone and Ferrero Rocher, have also created their own Valentines editions.
But is it a Hallmark?
The Victorians were a hugely important catalyst for the card industry. Their charming and quioxtic nature helped push a real trend for card exchange. With the availability of cheap paper and printing techniques, this era took great gratification in the essence of writing poems and sending Valentine’s cards.
With and astounding 150 million Valentine’s cards exchanged yearly worldwide, Hallmark is THE brand that springs to mind when buying or receiving a card. In 1916 Hallmark released its first line of Valentines cards, with messages that over the years have stayed constant.
Ever wondered why you check the back of a card? And think is it a Hallmark card?
Through their emotion built campaigns and huge market share, Hallmark have made ‘Hallmark’ and ‘card’ synonymous.Their varied seasonal card selection alongside the quality and feel of the cards makes this the go to brand for cards.
Hallmark is now so huge that it distributes cards to supermarket stores who sell them under their own brand name, so even when you think it isn’t a Hallmark, it almost probably still is!
Here’s a look at their latest Valentine’s AD
Roses are Red, Violets are Blue
Valentine’s Day would be nothing without red roses. This is the biggest day of the year for the flower industry and once again it was the Victorians who began this tradition of exchanging flowers.
With their desirable collection of flowers, brands like interfloral have shifted the trend from the traditional red roses. Supermarkets upped their game by adding gift wrapping and services and higher quality bouquets, providing an affordable and accessible option whilst doing the shopping.
Diamonds are Forever
In 1948 De Beers advertisement ‘A diamond is forever’ began the association with jewellery and Valentine’s Day. This campaign instilled the notion that if you’re not buying diamonds then it must not be love. Now the jewellery industry earns a cool £4.5bn a year from this day alone.
Brands such as Swarovski, Pandora, Tiffany and Cartier develop lines of jewellery often using celebrities as endorsers to particularly target Valentine’s Day shoppers.
Valentine’s Day celebrity endorsement were first created by Hollywood Studios in the 1940’s who released themed photos of their stars. This is when brands first began to understand the power of celebrities.
This year Miranda Kerr is the face of Swarovski, advertising their Valentine’s product line.
Love at first click?
There’s no doubt social media has a hold on us all and with that in mind the trend of internet dating is growing. This year Match.com have teamed up with the coffee shop giant Starbucks for their Valentine’s campaign. Match.com users can now invite other users for an initial coffee date at Starbucks.
Match.com is taking leverage from the Starbucks’s trusted brand making users more likely to incline once seeing the association with the brand and hence forth more likely to meet.
Starbucks aren’t the only brand getting on the Valentine’s Day hype. Spotify are promoting their new ‘Valentine’s Day Music Matchmaker’ where users are connected in relation to their music taste.
Whether it’s the brands themselves that we fall in love with or the brands that assist us on the way, the key connector they create is emotion.
Love it or hate it Valentine’s Day is here to stay and brands just love it.