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We’ve all heard that person: “I don’t participate in Valentine’s day as it’s a made up day by marketers”. This can be a tough statement to defend (especially when you work in the industry), but in today’s day in age, we see how far the push goes to get people to spend and it is borderline ridiculous.
Now I’m no historian, but as a marketer I can see how many many a decade ago there was an original brief made (by many) to heighten “Saint Valentine’s Day” and broaden the concept of celebrating love or the freedom of love to more commercial benefit.
It’s vibrant campaigns by the flower industry, confectionery industry, jewellers, movie makers… that have kept alive the tradition of “Valentine’s Day”. These messages played on repeat annually with creative players pushing the boundary of appeal and must to communicate the must haves, must does, how done’s.
And what is wrong with that?
Marketing can get a bad rap, but that is mostly to do with “Bad Marketing”.
Bad marketing leverages the past and is stuck there. The approaches, messages and concepts are so far gone on repeat they are either completely ignored or that are deemed “Junk/Spam”.
Religious Days are very commercialised calendar events. With religious participation on a constant decline decade after decade, the people are still happy to take days off as per the calendar schedule and roll with the historical protocol.
But what fascinates me is the concepts these days/occasions. The root function that these calendar events hold, is followed less due to the religious conditions and more to celebrating what marketing has cultivated over the past 70-90 years (and probably more).
I argue that it is not a bad thing. Valentine’s Day is really about appreciating love. Appreciating it with the special people we surround ourselves with. It is also the allocated day of the year to give people strength / excuse to be bold and push to connect with another via a celebrated tradition.
Xmas is no different, but with the message of family. Gathering to catch-up, share gifts, tell stories, observe others’ growth. Watch generations congregate.
Are we really to consider that without these days spawned by religion they would still occur naturally amongst non-practicing folk? What percentages of couples would make the effort to acknowledge the same emphasis of valentines day, unprompted?
What about Xmas, would we see families making, in some instances, extreme measures to come together as one. Without the dedicated “branded” holiday period would the effort still be the same?
Now I could be talking about the exception of people here and not the rule. But when your life gets embedded with numbers, data, analytics on human behaviour and response, my educated guess would be that the rule would dominate this data set.
So looking at the situation with the glass half full, I say marketing has played a massive role in moulding and shaping our culture. But like any tool it can be used for good and for evil. Just plain badly and at times so remarkable it can move mountains. Transform lives. Save lives. Bring people together and be a positive something that adds value to mankind.
So don’t be a hater. Appreciate free love this 14th February. Buy some flowers, book a table at a nice restaurant. Take a leap and surprise someone. It’s all positive and doesn’t come around as frequently as it should.
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