Thursday 14 February 2019 8:27 am

DEBATE: Is Valentine’s Day just a commercial gimmick?

Is Valentine’s Day just a commercial gimmick?

Beatrice Timpson, a political communications consultant, says YES.

Frankly, if he turns up on Valentine’s Day without a Cards Galore “Be mine forever” teddy, a bunch of garage-forecourt-fresh coronations, and a candle reeking of potpourri, ditch him. He’s clearly not serious. He’ll run off with Audrey the au pair before your child’s third birthday.

Some say Valentine’s Day is just a commercial gimmick, a burst bubblegum splatter of tat, a slew of saccharine slogans penned by Clive “the creative” for those too unimaginative to think for themselves – and all to the background tinkle of executive mirth. And those cynics and naysayers would be absolutely right.


Valentine’s Day is the greatest example of consumerist fakery since some genius persuaded us that tinsel and chocolate calendars are relevant to the birth of Christ.

So ignore the reproachful glare of magenta and cerise supermarket shelves this year. Resist the temptation to give an adult woman a soft toy. Make her a cup of tea and hand over the remote. It will mean so much more.

Richard Village, director of Smith&+Village, says NO.

Is it inherently gimmicky to express love and affection? God forbid, no – especially not in the ghastly times we live in.

Where a lot of people go wrong is in being led astray by the naff Valentine’s Day products pumped out by 99.9 per cent of high street brands.

In my view, Valentine’s Day should be more diverse and multifaceted, reflecting the plethora of ways we express affection for each other.

It’s the one day of the year when those with secret crushes have the confidence to confess their love; long-married couples can rediscover each other over a candle-lit meal or picnic in the park; and great friends have a reason to send a quick text that says “I heart-emoji you”.

So, while many retailers may be jumping on the schmaltz bandwagon, I’d argue that Valentine’s Day is not just a commercial gimmick.


It’s a day to say “you’re really nice and I like you”, without the commercial attributes. And let’s face it, we all need that right now.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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