The Brand of Valentines Day


Many things in our lives have brands, other than businesses: Think Paris, Super Bowl or Valentine’s Day. Yes, I’m late to the party as it was yesterday, but the traditional brand of this festivus of love permeates our culture – and many have even backlashed against it. So how can a holiday have a “brand” you ask???

If brand (as Red Slice always believes) is the image or mindshare that something occupies in a person’s mind, then of course Valentines Day ranks right up there. Just hear the words and what is your reaction? Hearts, red, love, diamonds, flowers, chocolate? And true to form that brand lives in the mind of the consumer (no matter what Hallmark may try to tell us), people who have different experiences with the big V have different brands perceptions. Some people find it tacky, campy or fake. Others take issue with one day out of 365 being approved for “showing your love.” Still others that may not be romantically involved with anyone find it torturous, cruel and lonely.

Valentine’s Day in our house is good, simple, sweet fun but has also come to symbolize “crowded high-end restaurants with horrible service.” We spent a few years trying to dine out on the actual day, February 14, only to finally learn that prix fixe menus and restaurants that try to jam as many people in as possible make you feel like a heifer at the State Fair. We are willing to spend good bucks to dine out in style, but the food is always sub-par. There is absolutely nothing romantic about that – and to boot, many reputedly good restaurants have tarnished their own brand with us because of their chaotic atmosphere and mediocre mass-produced set menus -  to the point that we won’t go back on a regular night. We know this isn’t fair, but hey, once a brand impression forms (and it’s a negative one) it truly is hard to shake it.  These eateries may make a killing on one night of the year – but at what long-term brand price?

What are your brand perceptions of Valentine’s Day? Do you think the “brand promise” of romance, hearts and flowers is an accurate experience, or does Cupid suffer from a brand identity crisis by not walking the talk?

PS: We had our Valentines Dinner on Friday, February 12 this year. And mmmmmm….it was good and well worth the money this time around.  Lark Seattle, which we tried for the first time that night, lived up to its brand and so we will be back.

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