End up being Mine: A Brief History of Valentine’s Day Marketing

Posted on Posted in Blog

When I was in grade school, Valentine’s Day was one of my favorite holidays. There were cards. There was clearly the possibility that your crush in fact liked you back. Plus, there was the chocolate — so much chocolate.

Little do I know that the roots of the holiday bore little-to-no resemblance to my childhood experience of it. We were never taught that will Valentine’s Day actually originated by having an arguably gruesome ancient celebration, where there was no chocolate or exchange of adorable, red-and-pink cards.

Download Now: Free Ad Campaign Planning Kit

But love it or hate this, those are the types of factors we associate with the holiday these days. After all, there’s a reason roughly 114 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year  —  it’s what’s become expected of us.

So how the particular heck did we get from an ancient Roman event to a holiday that compels many of us to spend no less than $147 on celebrating it? That story, it turns out, is thousands of years old —  but we’re going try to condense it.

How Valentine’s Day Began and Developed

Ancient Rome

Picture of Circle of Adam Elsheimer The Lupercalian Festival in Rome
Image Source

The roots of Valentine’s Day are cited by some sources to are lying in the ancient Roman event Lupercalia, largely because it took place annually on February fifteen —  the day after what is today the observed time of Valentine’s Day —  and involved some very primitive kinds of courtship and matchmaking. However it was also ancient Rome that saw the famous performance of a St . Valentine on February 14, around 278 A. D. According to story, he wrote a letter on the night before his performance to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended, plus signed it, “From Your own Valentine. ”

Over two centuries later, Pope Gelasius ordered that Lupercalia get replaced with the February 14 observation of St . Valentine’s Day. That will set the tone, some believe, for the day’s forthcoming tradition of exchanging “love messages, ” perhaps in remembrance of St . Valentine’s farewell letter.

The Romans are also credited with constructing the idea of Cupid  —  the god of love frequently depicted with arrows that, as the legend goes, instill love upon those who are hit by them. The Roman version of Cupid has been adapted from Eros, the god of passion and fertility in Greek mythology. It seems that no one is quite certain when cupid became connected with Valentine’s Day, but the fact that both have origins in ancient Roman culture suggests that there may have been some very early overlap between your two.

Shakespeare (and Chaucer) in Love

Picture of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, a principal inspiration for Valentine's Day
Image Source

When NPR’s Arnie Seipel set out to explore a brief history of Valentine’s Day, he found that it first became romanticized by classic authors such as William Shakespeare in the past due 16th century, and Geoffrey Chaucer in the 1300s.


Dartmouth English professor Peter Travis cites Chaucer’s legendary poem The Parliament of Fowls , which was one of the first literary referrals to St . Valentine’s Day, or “Seynt Valentynes day, ” as Chaucer spelled this. One such mention is made, Travis explains, alongside the line, “Now welcom somer, with thy sonne sonne, That hast this wintres weders over-shake. ” In other words, when we celebrate love in the coldest absolute depths of winter — within February, for instance — it might be so heartwarming that it makes summer feel less far away.


Some literary historians credit Shakespeare for the permeation of love into well-known culture with his composition associated with “Sonnet 18” —  considered written between 1593-1601  —  a. k. a., “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? ” They have unclear when or just how this particular work became related to Valentine’s Day, but like Chaucer, Shakespeare compares love to the seasons.

“While summer days might fade and fall into” colder months, writes Shakespeare analyst Lee Jamieson, “his love is eternal. inch

Of course , Saint Valentine’s day will be alluded to outright within Hamlet   —  written between 1599-1601  —  when the character Ophelia recites a track about a young lady’s experience with the holiday, which includes lyrics like, “Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s, ” and, “To become your Valentine. ”

The particular 17th Century and Over and above

The first card ever made for Valentine's Day (by Esther Howland)
Image Source

With the 1700s, it’s said that Valentine’s Day made its way through Europe to the United States, which usually aligns with the establishment of the North American colonies between 1607-1770. It became traditional, based on HISTORY. com, “for close friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small bridal party of affection or handwritten notes. ” That was more prevalent in England, however , where the Industrial Revolution began earlier and finally included the production of “fancy valentines [that] were extremely expensive in order to import. ”

It’s stated that one American woman, Esther Howland, was so intrigued when she received her first English valentine handmade in 1847, that she became infatuated with the concept of manufacturing them in the U. S. She was an earlier entrepreneur, and instinctively considered that there could be an American market for these formal, English-style hey there. After procuring materials like high-quality paper and lace from her father, a stationer, she created what many credit as the first American Valentine’s Day greeting cards.

Nowadays, Howland is still honored with the nickname “Mother of the American Valentine, ” with many citing her work as the start of the multi-million-dollar industry. But it did not happen overnight —  take a look at take a look at how her function paved the way.

A Brief Timeline associated with Valentine’s Day Marketing


Charles II of Sweden begins communicating with flowers, by assigning a different message to each type. This tradition allegedly designated love and romance towards the red rose, setting the stage for this flower to become exchanged during the later, commercialized era of Valentine’s Day. However , it remains unclear in case a specific brand is responsible for 1st marketing flowers as part of Valentine’s Day gift-giving.


The first ever Cadbury heart shaped chocolate box
Image Source

In England, where Valentine’s Day had by now already been famous with the exchange of presents and cards for many years, the particular Cadbury chocolate company sells the first heart-shaped box associated with chocolates.


In Massachusetts, Howland produces a dozen sample Valentine’s Day cards and sends them off with the girl brother to distribute during a sales trip for their father’s company —  S. The. Howland & Sons  —  hoping to earn $200. Rather, he returns with 25X that amount, indicating a much higher-than-expected demand.

Here’s a good example of a card Howland developed around this time.

Howland Valentine's Day Card

Image Source


The first print advertisement for Howland’s cards appears in the Worcester Secret agent.


Necco Candy SweetHearts, the first ever in Valentine's Day history
Image Source

Conversation candies are developed, when Daniel Chase —  brother of New England Sweetmeat Company (NECCO) founder Oliver Chase —  uses veggie dye to print phrases onto confections.


Howland incorporates her booming credit card business as the New Britain Valentine Company, operating out of her home via a good assembly line that was largely comprised of her friends.


public-domain-images-ester-Cover of a Valentine's Day book published by Howland's company
Image Source

The newest England Valentine Company goes operations from Howland’s home to a Main Street manufacturing plant in Worcester, Massachusetts. That will same year, the company publishes the Valentine Verse Guide, which contained 131 “verses” that people could cut out and paste inside of cards that will came without a greeting —  or those with a handmade that the buyer didn’t like.

1880 – 1881

Howland sells the New England Valentines Company to the George Chemical. Whitney Company.


Workers creating and mass-producing Valentine's Day cards
Image Source

Whitney has acquired at least 10 rivals, including Berlin and Jones, which had become New York City’s “largest manufacturer of Valentines. ” Ten years afterwards, the company moves to large-scale headquarters on Worcester’s Union Street.


The Hershey Chocolate bars Company is founded, bringing what was previously “a Western luxury product” to the Oughout. S.


Conversation candies become heart-shaped.


American Greetings is founded, ultimately becoming one of Whitney’s key competitors.

Valentine's Day card advertisement by American Greeting
Image Supply


The Hershey Chocolate Company introduces its Hershey Kisses candy product. Oddly enough enough, the product was apparently named Kisses because every time a piece of chocolate was slipped on the conveyer belt in the Hershey factory, it seemed like a kiss.

Giant Hershey Kisses sitting on a "Kissmobile"

Image Source


That January, a massive fire destroys much of Whitney’s headquarters. However , most of the Valentine’s Day products had already been shipped for the season, getting little impact on that particular vacation.

Valentine's Day advertisement with red roses and a woman in a gold dress
Image Source

That same year, Hallmark will be founded. Meanwhile, 1910 furthermore saw the creation associated with Florists’ Telegraph Delivery  —  today known as FTD —  which pioneered the remote ordering and delivery of flowers, providing a way to send them to far-away family members.


Hallmark produces its first Valentine’s Day card.


First ever Valentine's Day advertisement for diamonds
Image Source

The De Beers diamond company launches its “A Diamond is Forever” campaign, sending the message that gifting high-end jewelry can be used being an expression of love.


In the ’80s businesses like Hallmark began launching more Valentine’s Day related commercials. In 1985, one commercial, which dubs Hallmark as “The Valentine’s Store” shows off all of the cards and heart-shaped products you can buy for your loved one in their locations.


As if Kisses weren’t romantic enough based on their name, Hershey’s enforced them as a Valentine’s Day staple with one slight design tweak. The organization began packaging Kisses sweets in pink and red foil specifically for Valentine’s Day.


As marketers continued to embrace new media, we saw an influx of high-quality and insanely high-budgeted commercials mark the holiday from the ’80s until now. Perhaps one of the most iconic and beautifully shot commercials was a mini-romance drama, called “Le Film, ” promoting Chanel No . 5 perfume.

In the ad, a man falls in love and runs away with a starlet, played by Nicole Kidman. In the long run, she returns back to her life of fame. As she walks down the red carpet, he notes all the things he’ll remember about her, including the smell of her Chanel No . 5 perfume.


Valentine’s Day begins to go digital. On February 14, 2005, YouTube —  which originated as an online dating site —  makes its debut. Co-founder Steve Chen still credits its invention as the brainchild of “three guys on Valentine’s Day that had nothing to do. ”

Image of YouTube when it was a dating website
Image Source


Ride sharing company Uber rolls out “Romance On Demand, ” allowing users to send flowers on Valentine’s Day via the app. This initiative would continue steadily to progress, with on-demand skywriting becoming available the following year.

Uber's Valentine's Day "Romance on Demand" campaign
Image Source


NetBase, a social media analytics platform, releases a Romantic days celebration Sentiment Analysis, measuring easiest way people engage with and speak about the holiday on social media. In whole, it measured nine capacité mentions of Valentine’s Day, although vast majority of them mentioning any certain brand —  Netflix. The lid hashtag was #happyvalentinesday.


In the earlier years of the Msn Doodle, Google used Romantic evening to spread awareness of an extraordinary species. In 2017, a list of Google Doodles shown within a days leading up to Valentine’s Day reminded the stories of pangolins, the only mammal species in scales, as they give the other Valentine’s Day gifts or serenade their mates. Here’s one of these:

Google's Valentine's Day Doodle, released Feb. 12, 2017, features the Indian pangolin, a species native to India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan

Image Source

Nevertheless, at this point, Google didn’t in order to market themselves with Drawings, this shows an early example of a brand that used it can be platform to creatively shop another cause on the break.

2018 to Present Day

Significantly, Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns have gone for good digital, with a particularly long lasting presence on social media. Using these new opportunities, smaller insurers that don’t have Hallmark’s kostnadsplan can easily spread awareness of match brands during the holiday. I’ll tell you one example of an Instagram entry which highlighted a fine German restaurant ahead of Valentine’s Day:

Whilst these real dog’s mimicking Lady and the Tramp snapped up attention, especially from the black sheep lovers on Instagram, this skill post’s caption encourages spectators to interact with the brand.

What Marketers Can Study on Valentine’s Day Marketing

Want so many other holidays, Valentine’s Day has experienced a several into pop culture that’s got shaped the way it’s perception of, discussed, and celebrated. A number of, it’s often accused of being just a money-making marketing loved ones. But next time you hear particular person label Valentine’s Day as a “Hallmark holiday, ” you’ll have a wealth of historical information to respond using.

From our hearts to your own house, Happy Valentine’s Day. We’ll possibly keeping an eye on its continued gang.  

Editor’s Remark: This blog post was formerly published in February 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.

advertising plan

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *