The Valentine’s Brand
I have to admit something: I’ve had a lot of trouble coming up with what to say about Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last seven years focused almost entirely on work and not on personal relationships. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen it as a “Hallmark holiday” for a number of years. Or maybe it’s because it was suggested this past Saturday and I’m having trouble being the pressure player I pride myself on being.
Whatever the reason, at least I can let this Scrubs clip do some of the work!
Love is the most complex thing out there. Hell, Webster’s has nine definitions for it! To yours truly, attempting to define love is to attempt to lay waste to the power of it. And the power of love – cue Huey Lewis, the News, and Doc Brown – is where the branding opportunity lies.
The History of Valentine’s Day
Like a lot of top brands, the Valentine’s Day brand is pretty old – in fact, if the interwebz are to be believed, its origins likely pre-date Christianity! Pre-dating Valentine’s Day was Lupercalia.
Lupercalia was a festival celebrated from February 13 – February 15, where men would literally “hit on” women with goats’ hides, which was believed to make the women fertile. Ah tradition.
As an aside: men, never tell her you want to celebrate Lupercalia, especially if it’s just a stall because you forgot Valentine’s Day. But you should totally pick up flowers from the nearest drugstore in case you forget February 14th. And you should totally believe everything you read on the internet.
According to this, St. Valentine may have actually been two men. One being a “…temple priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed.” He was beheaded because Claudius felt unmarried men made better soldiers, and made it illegal for them to wed. The other Valentine was “…the Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome.”
Still, my favorite theory is that Chaucer may have invented Valentine’s Day!
While we don’t know exactly how it started, we do know it’s been around for a long time. And we know the word Valentine’s Day owns in the mind is “love.”
So How Do You Brand Valentine’s Day?
It’s celebrated with red roses, heart-shaped candy, chocolates, and the perfect present – or else. And we know that, while we sometimes celebrate it with friends, family, and friends who may as well be family, it’s really meant for our significant others. Mostly because I’m not buying any of my buddies heart-shaped candies that say “be mine.”
The “Why”: anyone’s significant other
Story: it’s everyone who’s ever been in love’s story
Colors: red, pink, and white
Logo: the heart
Tagline: “Happy Valentine’s Day,” or possibly “Be Mine.”
Visual Hammer: the rose, or possibly Cupid.
Putting that all together pretty easily makes the brand strategist in me want to discard Valentine’s Day as just another Hallmark holiday. But the hopeless romantic in me recognizes its more. If nothing else, it’s a recognition of how vitally important our significant others are to us. And perhaps, more importantly, how devastated we’d be if they were no longer around.
And I’m not talking about my buddies, because I’m still not buying them heart-shaped candies that say “be mine.”
Stay gutsy, gang!
The world is broken, and we believe only entrepreneurs can fix it. But they’ll never get that chance if no one cares about their brands. So, with a little bit o’ nuttiness, a little bit o’ research, and a lotta bit o’ guts, it’s our job to make people care.
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