Service of a Marketing Idea with Legs

February 13th, 2020

Categories: Greeting Cards, Marketing, Romance, Valentine's Day

Flamboyant expressions of love associated with Valentine’s Day today were initially ignited by Hallmark which early in the 20th Century was the first to mass-produce Valentine’s cards. Up until then lovers made cards by hand according to Sam Becker in Other symbols of affection in the day were generally low-key.

Sellers of candy, flowers, perfume and jewelry jumped on the bandwagon and amplified the holiday which ratcheted the expectations of some in relationships. No doubt the pressure to show amour in the appropriate way–$100+ rose bouquets and even engagement rings–when feelings of affection by one of the parties are tepid at best, is the cause of the breakups that happen the week before February 14, more than at any other time of year. [The runners up: the weeks before Christmas according to]

I’ve loved Valentine’s day for as long as I can remember. When I was very young my parents would hide their initials on cards–they were my secret admirers. It was fun to find the RKR and GBR hidden in the illustrations. In the early grades–I went to an all-girls school–we deposited cards in a big box and they’d be distributed by a few of the kids. I still exchange cards with some friends. As fewer people send cards today Hallmark is keeping up its brand’s flame through romantic films on the Hallmark Channel.

Don’t you love the giant red hearts that decorate store and restaurant windows and cheer February’s gloomy gray days? I’m also very fond of the iconic heart shape.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Does a favorite one stand out? What’s the most outrageous example of devotion on February 14 that you’ve ever heard of?


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8 Responses to “Service of a Marketing Idea with Legs”

  1. BC Said:

    Every day is V day for me, as l love every day I spend with my Husband!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    How lucky you are! Not everyone feels that way about their spouse. Yours is very special and I’m sure the feeling is mutual.

  3. ASK Said:

    I don’t know how romantic this sounds, but this Valentine’s Day I am expecting the arrival of a Salvation Army truck to pick up what I think is the last of my late husband’s electrical power tools, including a fully accessorized hammer drill, and other assorted gadgets he loved to acquire (5 gauges to measure tire pressure! An insulated mitt with a scraper at the end to remove ice from a windshield without getting a cold hand!). He has been gone for 5 years, and the apartment closets continue to surprise. I remove stuff, only to find other stuff that no one has seen for years. (How about a red, white, and blue hand-tufted area rug to commemorate the Bicentennial?)…I continue to marvel over what a character he was!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Your husband would be smiling were he able to read your comment. How great that he was handy. I envy that talent. As far as I’m concerned, the best people are characters!

    You are also fortunate that the Salvation Army picks up at your home. No such luck either upstate or in Manhattan–which I think is a big mistake.

  5. ASK Said:

    I agree with you…that hammer drill came in a metal suitcase and is really heavy!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    And think of the use another handy person who cannot afford power tools will put them to! A real gift.

    The red, white and blue area rug is probably stunning, knowing your taste, and would be very happy in someone’s home if you have no room for it. I have an Oriental rug mushed into a closet. I wish I had floor space to use it. Perhaps if I took the time to think about it, maybe I could.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    At the risk of being a party pooper, I prefer private celebrations between close friends and/or relatives. The commercial aspect now saturating what used to be fun occasions, such as Valentines, Fathers Day, Easter & etc., have turned into intimidating spending carnivals. Drag in the biggies, such as Christmas and Mothers Day, and the marketing world has created an excuse for emptying ones pockets every month.

    I asked a friend what he thought would happen if Christmas were to be removed. A swift reply: “The economy would collapse,” Oh dear!

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I agree with you. I once had an assistant whose boyfriend spent a fortune to send her roses at the office, money he could use in many other ways, and they didn’t arrive on Valentine’s. Such breast-beating! Buy roses the day AFTER Valentine’s and you’ll save $70 for sure! Quelle ripoff. Same with some of the Valentine chocolates in faux fancy boxes.

    I don’t sound romantic to some, but commercially approved symbols of love don’t work for me. I like roses but wild flowers too and once, soon after we met, Homer brought me a big bunch of purple flowers from his backyard that may have been considered weeds by some and I remember them best.

    I used to plead with Homer to cool it–I love cards which he knew. Wasting money has always driven me nuts and the prices of meals on all the days you mention are a joke and have often been frozen weeks before the day, leaching the food of most of its taste not to speak of nutritional value.

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