Monday, April 28, 2014


Valentine’s Day has gradually turned out to be a very potent tool for marketing in the Indian sub-continent. It probably has a greater impact on the South East Asian markets.

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In India, the festive season, which starts in September/October, comes to an end early January. From then on till the financial year end in March the markets become dry. The sales happen in the government sectors – the public sectors. The annual budgets need to be exhausted.  They then add to the sales of bulk and wholesale markets.

The annual year end sale season – the Chaitra sale in West Bengal and in Maharashtra happen at the end of March. The period from January to March – the three months used to be a lull period for the retailers throughout the country. Of late the situation has changed drastically.

Since the last decade of the 20th century the markets have had a fresh lease of life around the concept of the Valentine’s Day. The marketing campaigns have targeted almost every age group from the teenagers to the old, from the illiterate to the literate. Anybody and everybody are aware of the day.

Valentine’s Day, which is observed on 14th February every year, is the harbinger of romance in the season of spring. You name  any market, any product, anything that comes to your mind in the retail market – be it a fast moving consumer good to a consumer durable has seen considerable rise in its sale on and around the day.
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The essence of any marketing campaign targeting the Valentine’s Day has primarily been romance, love, warmth, a sense of being there and a feeling of well being. This has egged on the average person, the commoners to buy and gift things to their friends, lovers and family.

As a result the coffers of the retailers have fattened up during an otherwise lull season. The economy has become more energetic during these months. The investment and savings patterns have also been subsequently influenced.

Valentine’s Day is also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the feast of Saint Valentine.  The day is celebrated in many countries around the world. But it is not a holiday in most of them. The Halloween is more important than Valentine’s Day in USA, UK and similar advanced nations.

The customs of Valentine’s Day developed in early modern England. It spread throughout the world in the 19th century. Then in the later 20th century and early 21st centuries it caught up very well in the so called third world countries. These customs have also spread to other countries along with other aspects of American pop culture.
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Poets like Geoffrey Chaucer and John Donne had symbolized the day with the idea of Love and Romance. Even the great Shakespeare has used it in his writings. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, we find Ophelia mentioning the day with remorse.

A very well orchestrated and concentrated marketing effort has initiated the celebrations of Valentine’s Day in some East Asian countries with Chinese, South Koreans and Indians spending the most money on Valentine’s gifts.

Though sociologists and certain politicians have scoffed at the concept of merchandising of love, the concept of Valentine’s Day has caught on in a big way in this sub-continent. The economic effects it has brought on to the country are positive. People bask in the warmth of a good feeling about themselves. It has now become a social event.  

In a way it has done well to the people and has augured in a fresh lease of air to the mundane day-to-day lives of the common man.