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Love Is in the Air

Valentine’s Day is often accused of being a ‘manufactured’ holiday, created for the purpose of exploiting consumer behaviors for profit. The occasion is certainly profitable, but the ambiguous St. Valentine gets a bad rap for all the wrong reasons.

Holidays are exceedingly powerful stimulus for retail businesses. This holiday in particular capitalizes on arguably the strongest human emotion – love. As it turns out, consumers love celebrating Valentine’s Day. Against the trends associated with a weak economy, consumer spending on the occasion is on the rise. In 2012, the second largest retail event of the year will generate more than $15B, which amounts to an average of more than $100 spent by each American adult.

There are no other major consumer holidays in the first part of the calendar year (sure, car dealerships may offer sales for President’s Day, but you don’t have to buy your mother a gift.) Valentine’s Day also falls conveniently right after the hangover from December’s holiday season subsides. Retailers enjoy the benefits of the renewed consumer enthusiasm, leveraging the familiar branding of red and white hearts to drive sales.

Advertisers are equally satisfied with the opportunities that the holiday presents. Immediately following the ultimate advertising event, the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day presents a chance to strike again while the iron is hot. Having already rolled out new expensive and impressive campaigns, the creative juices are kept flowing in order to make a connection with the consumer at yet another touchpoint. The timing is right; some of the ads that emerge for Valentine’s Day even manage to be as original and effective as those crafted for the Super Bowl.

Notwithstanding the accusations aimed at the ‘industry’ of Valentine’s Day, the holiday is more important than just giving spouses across the country a romantic opportunity; it is actually highly beneficial across a number of industries. Whether from the perspective of the retailer, the advertiser, or the consumer, the appeal of the day is clear.

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