Every year, just before Valentine’s Day, companies across North America pump out ridiculous press releases in an effort to grab some free media attention and a piece of the over $13 billion Americans spend each year on Valentine’s Day.
For your cynical enjoyment, here are some of the strangest and saddest attempts to link commerce and Valentine’s Day.
Pucker Up for Valentine’s DayI don’t think the folks behind KY Intense lubricant and Rembrandt whitening products know about the other marketer extraordinaire, Tristan Taormino, who has been using the name Pucker Up for her business for years (it made most sense when she began as the teacher of all things anal), but that's their tagline for a Valentine’s Day release connecting good sex and white teeth together, outlining the pre-date, night of, and post date uses for whitening strips, mouth wash (with peroxide!) lube, and arousal gel (“clinically shown to enhance intimate satisfaction”). How long until they get into the anal bleaching and vulva-pinkening market?
"The typical Valentine's Day usually includes a romantic dinner, sentimental cards and sweet treats. However, this year many pet lovers are taking part in a new tradition that involves the four-legged loves of their lives."
So begins a press release that had me and my dog squirming in our seats. An our fears weren’t allayed by the “statistics” cited in the release: 43% of men prefer to spend Valentine’s Day with their pet, and 30% of the women who said the same say it’s because their pet is more in tune with their feelings than anyone else.
But by the time you get mid-way through this press release, you realize that all the titillation up front is just to get you reading. In fact, what’s being offered is nothing more than a safe-for-work e-card program that lets you upload a picture of your dog and send it to your sweetheart via a website called Petcentric. Of course, they don’t say whether or not you can be in the picture too, or what the two of you might be doing.
Valentine’s Day Is for BoatersI only wish that “boaters” was slang for some obscure sexual practice. In fact, it’s just a term for people who own boats. According to a survey paid for by the National Marine Manufacturers Association:
...if you're looking for love, the best preparation might be revving up the engine and heading out on your boat.
That’s right, their highly unscientific poll of 1000 [strike]specially[/strike], randomly selected boaters and non-boaters showed that 67% of boaters were satisfied with their sex life, while only 58% of non-boaters were.
Who’s Really Making Out on Valentine’s Day?There are so many things wrong with this press release from the National Confectioners Association . They are responsible for the headline, “Men Ask, ‘Where’s the Love’?” and the revealing data that men are more likely to give presents than to receive them. Of course, they forgot to include questions about oral sex, so I’m not sure all the data’s in.
Put Her in the "Pole Position" This Valentine's DayEarly out of the gate is the California Cut Flower Commission with an inane release about what color of rose is most popular for Valentine's Day. But among the snoozy facts about red versus pink is this tidbit about color options: "Lovers can court their sweethearts" the release explains, "with the rose color that best expresses their sentiments." Among these colors is a medium red called "Pole Position." I'm not sure what message you're sending with a dozen Pole Positions waiting for her at work, but just make sure you can back it up at the finish line.
Love Potion #9: Valentine’s Day Drinks for the Whole FamilyWhat’s “healthy,” “romantic” and comes in “chocolate and creamy citrus” flavors? The fine folks at the Ocean Spray agricultural co-op want you to “pour on the love this Valentine’s Day with heart warming Love Potions.”
Kudos to these publicists. They manage to make Ocean Spray both love liquid for two and a drink for the whole family (Freud would approve). I’m not sure I would have gone with “heart warming,” but I love the suggestion that leftover drinks can be frozen for tasty after-school snacks. Love is definitely in the air.
Make Your Plants Hot This Valentine's DayThe great thing about press releases is that you never have to back anything up. This must be so refreshing for University of Massachusetts ethno botanist Chris Kilham, the Medicine Hunter, who is pushing "Hot Plants: Nature's Sex Boosters" as the “it” gift for Valentine's Day.
According to Kilham, "Our modern culture is infected with DINS, that is -- dual income, no sex. Forty-five percent of married couples report having intimacy only 1 to 3 times per month. Thirty million American men suffer from performance issues, while record numbers of women complain of low libido due to the stress and fatigue of daily living." Aside from the fact that none of these figures have sources cited (and that DINS either sounds like something you need for a website, an annoying way of referring to dinner, or a bacterial infection), the most ridiculous part of this release is the fact that the only source cited is, I’m not joking, a company called SPINS.