Valentine’s Day: Holiday of love or money-dropping?

On average, Americans spend almost 20 billion dollars on Valentine’s day.  But how exactly did a day rooted in love become a consumer-driven holiday?  

It started as a Christian Roman festival to celebrate fertility.  In the 17th century people in Great Britain made it official to exchange cards for the holiday.  So you can blame the British for all the money you’ve spent on cards for your classmates and secret crushes.  Valentine’s day is now the largest card sending holiday of the year (besides Christmas).  

Cards aren’t the only thing people are buying for their loved ones these days. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers surveyed plan on cashing out on candy, dinner and jewelry for their loved ones as well.  The majority of consumers will buy gifts from department stores and discount stores.  This means major advertising opportunities for jewelry and candy brands everywhere.  

This year Hershey’s is starting a campaign called #Kissandtell.  Little love messages are now wrapped up in the chocolate. Target is the only store that sells this new and unique line of kisses. Hershey’s is also encouraging consumers to share their favorite picture of themself and their loved one on social media.  Using the hashtag #Kissandtell, people may become featured in the gallery on their website. (Photo courtesy of

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.32.42 AM.png

We obviously can’t forget about how advertisers are using traditional cards to their advantage.  This year many can find cards featuring Star Wars and Frozen characters printed on them.  (Photos courtesy of

Like many American holidays, what started out as a Pagan tradition is now a major-gift giving occasion.  Brands everywhere are using this holiday as an opportunity to gain brand recognition and bring in business.  Whether it’s receiving a Luke Skywalker love note or treating yourself to a bag of Hershey kisses we hope you have a great Valentine’s day this year!

-Madeline, Sydney S., Sydney W., Tiersa