The Internet Evolution of Valentine's Day: American's Online Relationship

Several years ago, I remember noticing Valentine's Day suddenly became a huge deal. Starting in late January, everyone was talking about what they were going to buy.  Even acquaintances with children discussing what each child would receive as if the holidays were starting up all over again.

At first I thought advertisers had gotten wise to the post-holiday slump that hits when consumers trade opening presents for opening bills. Maybe they'd figured out a way to make the party go on indefinitely. Then it hit me: the internet. At the side of every web page I visited there were advertisements tugging at my awareness, turning a minor event into a major holiday. Since then, I've kept an eye on the evolution of Valentine's Day, and the experts bear me out that Cupid's current onslaught has a lot to do with the internet.

In January 2007 more than 1 in 6 of all US internet users visited a flower, gift, or greeting card site, according to an internet market analyzing firm, comScore. Now consider this New York Times article from 2000:

THE deluge of advertising spending by dot-coms has not ended with the Christmas shopping season or the Super Bowl. Instead, scores of e-commerce entrepreneurs are making Valentine's Day the next battleground...

The unexpected upsurge is another reminder of the transformative power of the Internet in continuing to remake the advertising, marketing and retailing environments. Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the media, hoping that the sustained tattoo of dot-com-this and dot-com-that would subside after the Christmas trees came down, here comes another barrage of ads aimed at driving traffic to Web sites.

'A lot of people thought there'd be a lull,'' said Patrick Keane, senior analyst at Jupiter Communications in New York, a consulting company, ''but the Internet is turning out to be a great advertising medium for ephemeral events like the Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, Christmas.

It's kind of chilling to think how over the space of 9 or 10 years February 14 grew to become a holiday for everybody, and not just the day they show "A Charlie Brown Valentine." Speaking of television, a post from earlier in the week mentioned just how effective TV is in making us want more. Is the internet even more effective at creating needs...and inducing us to fill them?

Tags: Advertising, Gift, Internet, Marketing, Television, Tv, Valentine

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