Cynical we may be, but Brits still get sentimental for Valentine’s Day

Brands advised to take more subtle approach in engaging consumers

Valentine's Day

We’re often characterised as cold and detached – especially in comparison with some of our more amorous European neighbours – but it appears Valentine’s Day is one of the days of the year Brits can embrace their sweet side.

A booming commercial holiday it may be, but most Brits still believe they are able to look beyond the sales frenzy and feel romantic on Valentine’s Day. A survey by Exterion Media, through its award-winning consumer panel, found that despite being awash with commercial messages, the majority of people are glad to have a day in the calendar where they can celebrate love.

The survey found that despite 4 in 5 urbanites (82 per cent) saying that the day is ‘overly-commercialised’, and 46 per cent saying that the day is a ‘hassle’ whether you’re in a relationship of not, more than half (54 per cent) said they like having a positive day in the calendar, and 47% said they will be celebrating in some way. Indeed, only a very small proportion (11 per cent) said they ‘loathed’ Valentine’s Day, and around half (49 per cent) said that the day should be about showing love to everyone and not just one’s partner.

“The results really show the love-hate relationship we have with Valentine’s Day,” said Nicola Barrett, Exterion Media’s Research Manager. “We all know that Brits carry a healthy distrust towards overly-commercial messages, and this appears to be the case here as the vast majority feel the holiday has been somewhat tainted by the overly-commercial nature of the day. This however still doesn’t detract from many of us using the day as a reason to show our loved ones we care.”

Exterion Media recommends that agencies and brands recognise consumer sentiment in how they approach Valentine’s Day, seeking to enhance rather than hijack the occasion. 

“Our advice to brands seeking to engage with consumers is to treat the day in the right spirit – subtle, finely-balanced messages will be much more effective in gaining attention. Where consumers feel that brands are trying to manipulate and cheapen their romantic sentiment, they’ll simply switch off.”

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