February 13, 2023

Love Language: Valentine’s Day Marketing Messages that Inspire Spending


Holidays, especially those that involve gifting, are filled with opportunities for marketers to inspire consumers to buy something special for themselves or a loved one. Let’s face it, people feel a ton of satisfaction from getting and giving gifts, no matter the occasion. Holidays are the perfect excuse to do it. Valentine’s Day marketing is no exception.

But, the Valentine’s Day marketing messages that resonate with shoppers are a little different from other holidays. Buying gifts for the end-of-year holidays can feel transactional. Consumers are often buying gifts for multiple people and treat those gifts as items to check off their to-do list.

Not so with Valentine’s Day and that shows in the marketing messages that perform best.

AI-generated Valentine’s Day Marketing Language

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), in 2023, 52% of consumers plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day and will spend an average of $192.80. This is an increase from $175.41 in 2022. The most popular gifts include candy, greeting cards, flowers, an evening out, jewelry, gift cards, and clothing.

When it comes to buying those Valentine’s Day gifts for a special someone, people have more time to consider their options than they do at the end of the year. We all want to make sure we give our favorite people gifts that feel heartfelt and thoughtful.

Given this change in purpose, the language that performs well around Valentine’s Day contains emotions like EXCITEMENT and SAFETY, according to the Persado Content Intelligence and Data Science teams. The narratives that resonate the most are GUIDANCE and HYPE language, SAFETY was also a top end-of-year holiday performer when our Content Intelligence team analyzed performance of 2022 Black Friday campaigns.

Notably, URGENCY language appeared in the top 20 high-performing marketing messages for non-Valentine’s Day holidays. However, it did not appear anywhere in the top 20 for Valentine’s Day.

  • Examples of URGENCY language that appeared in non-Valentine’s Day holiday campaigns:
    • “Same day”
    • “pick up for”
    • “your last minute”
    • “late to”
    • “Our Mother’s Day sales event ends in 3… 2…”
    • “PSA: it’s your last opportunity to shop for the holidays”
    • “get it under the tree in time if you order by 12/20!”
  • Examples of SAFETY/EXCITEMENT and GUIDANCE/HYPE language in Valentine’s Day holiday campaigns:
    • “we’re helping you”
    • “our top 10”
    • “our top 5”
    • “for someone special”
    • “is all yours”
    • “more great”
    • “here’s to falling in love”
    • “even better than flowers”
    • “gifts to impress that special someone, guaranteed”
    • “we’ve got Valentine’s Day covered”

Our Valentine’s Day marketing insights were taken from our all-time campaign data going back to Persado’s founding on 12/12/12. The above examples are anonymized examples of the emotions we mention in the analysis. 

Words like LOVE are often used in different contexts throughout marketing campaigns to create EXCITEMENT, describe a product, or to enhance affection for a brand. LOVE is also clearly popular for Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns.

The narrative refers to the story a campaign tells, often geared toward an individual’s ambitions or personal lifestyle preferences. The emotion refers to the words and phrases that have an emotional impact that consumers respond to. Emotion provides the hook for initial engagement. In the headline-grabbing ‘Not So Clueless’ Rakuten Super Bowl ad, for example, the narrative captures the customer’s desire to shop for the “it” things and still save money. So Rakuten is conveying that using it is about making smart decisions while staying on trend. The narrative of the ‘Not So Clueless’ Rakuten campaign can be classified under ‘value for money’. The campaign evokes emotions such as EXCITEMENT (buying) and SATISFACTION (saving).  With Alicia Silverstone and Elisa Donovan recreating their 1995 roles in “Clueless”, there is also the emotional element of NOSTALGIA. 

More Consumer Trends Around Valentine’s Day Marketing and Spending 

While the findings on language that inspires consumers to act on their Valentine’s Day purchases may only correlate with the long-held tradition of romantic partners exchanging gifts on February 14th, there are many other marketing opportunities for brands to capitalize on that don’t always involve physical goods or a romantic partner. 


As trends such as minimalism and decluttering remain strong, many consumers are spending more of their discretionary income on experiences rather than physical gifts. Around Valentine’s Day, experience-oriented gifts can include everything from going out to dinner, planning a romantic getaway, or opting for a spa day. 

According to Groupon’s 2023 Valentine’s Day Forecast, 22% of Americans will go out to dinner for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day tends to be the second-busiest holiday for U.S. restaurants after Mother’s Day. The study also found that 17% of Americans will make a special dinner at home or order takeout in celebration of Valentine’s Day. 

Valentine’s Day travel is on the rise. A recent survey from Allianz Partners found that Valentine’s Day bookings jumped by 45% compared to last year. Top destinations include warm climates such as Florida, Hawaii, and Mexico. Global travel and hospitality companies now use Generative AI in Travel to personalize the booking experience and broadcast marketing messages that resonate with different segments of their audiences. 

When it comes to experiences, Valentine’s Day is a prime marketing opportunity for spas. Spas can capitalize on Valentine’s Day by offering everything from gift cards to couples experiences to self-care packages for singles. 

Galentine’s Day  

Galentine’s Day was first celebrated a decade ago in Season 2, Episode 16 of “Parks and Recreation”. It was essentially invented by Amy Poehler as a celebration of female friendships on February 13th. It caught on among singles and the happily coupled alike. Galentine’s Day is often an excuse for brunch or a rom-com movie night. Friends often celebrate by exchanging cards and small gifts and enjoy snacks and desserts together. 

Galentine’s Day isn’t just for women. Friends of all genders can use the excuse to celebrate each other and their relationships.

Consumers may not feel that sense of urgency to pick up a gift like they might around Christmas, but they certainly are taking the time to find the perfect gift for that someone special, plan a nice dinner, go on a romantic getaway, and/or put together a festive Galentine’s Day brunch. Not to mention they also may purchase gifts for other family members like kids, parents, or pets. 

While it may be completely different from holidays such as Christmas, February 14 also offers a chance to celebrate friendship, romance, or other relationships with a select person or small group of people. Consumers are spending good money on gifts and experiences for Valentine’s Day, motivated by the EXCITEMENT they feel around those they love. 

To discover how you can use Persado Generative AI to create marketing messages that inspire action year round, request a demo

Related Articles