Marketing Brand Purpose Valentine's Day

Why brands should learn customers’ love language for Valentine’s Day (and every day)

By Jo Melvin | Junior Copywriter

Tug Agency


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February 14, 2023 | 7 min read

Despite cynicism around the holiday, how can brands still romanticize V-Day without losing customers? Jo Melvin of Tug suggests learning their love language.

Heart shaped balloon

Has our love for Valentine's Day fizzled out? / Samantha Gades via Unsplash

Over the last two years, we’ve fallen out of love with Valentine’s Day. In 2020, as we looked to rekindle our love affair on February 14, we saw nearly half (47%) of British couples with no plans to celebrate the holiday. The main reason for this? Many couples felt the holiday was too Hallmark.

In 2022, Statista found the leading reason why consumers weren’t likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day was that it was too commercial.

It's complicated: our relationship with Valentine's Day

Despite the statistics, love is still very much in the air – and it’s even being optimized.

The idea of tailoring the way you love to your partner’s personal needs – or their ‘love language’ – appears to be on the rise. While the concept has been around since the 90s (thanks to Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate), interest in these languages has grown considerably in recent years.

From February 2021 to February 2023, global searches for the term ‘love languages’ have risen from 706k to 1m, according to global search volume data from SemRush. That’s a 41% increase.

Meanwhile, searches for ‘Valentine’s Day’ have dropped significantly, from 4.3m worldwide in February 2021 to 1.9m in February 2023 – a 55% decrease.

Feeling, not things: brands should leverage love

By making Valentine’s Day too commercial, businesses can alienate themselves from the true spirit of the holiday: celebrating love.

While of course, advertisements will naturally revolve around selling products and services, businesses may want to consider promoting these through a more love-centric lens. Recognizing this original purpose of the day might just make offerings more authentic and appealing to consumers.

Look at the legendary John Lewis Christmas ads which have made the brand synonymous with the holiday without overtly advertising their products. Instead, John Lewis plays on creating that Christmassy feeling to raise its status as a go-to destination for holiday shopping, all while pulling on a few heartstrings in the process.

By tapping into the emotions behind Valentine’s Day, businesses can move away from commercialism and become more closely connected with the idea of love. But how? Learning your customers’ love languages could give your brand a leg-up.

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Quality time

For those whose love language is quality time, love is best expressed through undivided attention and spending time together. This could be an optimal concept for businesses in the hospitality or entertainment industries or others that revolve around bringing people together.

Businesses in this space should focus on how their offering can facilitate quality time together – or even enhance it.

Receiving gifts

While it might seem materialistic, receiving gifts goes much deeper. This love language centers around sentimental value. Businesses selling consumer goods should focus on the emotional meaning behind this type of gift-giving, rather than getting distracted by the commercialism of the holiday.

Words of affirmation

This language is all about expressing love through words, a prime opportunity for businesses whose offering revolves around this medium – whether that’s greeting cards or engraved jewelry. Presenting your brand as a tool that can facilitate this can make it appeal more to those who favor this love language.

Physical touch

A language that can be expressed through holding hands, hugging, or cozying up on the sofa. From soft furnishings to spa treatments, there are plenty of products that can cater to the physical touch, which brands can push in the name of love.

Acts of service

This is all about doing small jobs that make your partner’s life that little bit easier, such as grocery shopping, cleaning, or bringing them coffee. This approach doesn’t just appeal to customers wanting to express their love in this way – it also challenges traditional grand gestures.

By leaning into this, brands offering everyday products can make themselves pertinent to the holiday.

Marketing Brand Purpose Valentine's Day

Content by The Drum Network member:

Tug Agency

Tug is a performance driven, global digital marketing agency, optimised to grow ambitious brands, through the smart combination of data, media, content and technology.

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