The New Valentine’s Day and How Brands Reacted on Social Media


Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but the day itself is forever changed from what it once was assumed to be. When thinking of Valentine’s Day the images that have come to mind were often heart shaped chocolate boxes, roses and a teddy bear. While these gifts will likely never go out of style, the rising preference for experiential gifts has shaped the way brands go about marketing on social media. If you took to social media, or talked to people in the age range of 20–34 years-old, you might have noticed this last Valentine’s Day.

Here are just a few of the disruptions that millennials have brought upon Valentine’s Day and some clever adaptations brands have been making in their social media marketing.

  1. Historical Relationship Shift

According to The Atlantic, it was only 26 years ago when the average age for a woman to be married was 23, compared to the age of 27 today. Similarly, for men, it was 26 in 1990 and today, the average millennial male ties the knot at age 29. Marriage and relationships rates were much higher at the time, and even higher in previous generations. Nowadays, less millennials on average are connecting with the traditional meaning behind Valentine’s Day. They find new ways to celebrate that aren’t so geared toward relationships and marriage.

Clever Brand Response: Shift Valentine’s Day away from couples and focus more on the individual. Taco Bell, for example, made their tacos the de facto significant other for the day and highlighted the hashtag #singlesawarenessday.


  1. Valentine’s Day is a Day for Family and Friends too

While it’s true that Valentine’s Day for celebrating love, it‘s often only surrounding the love of a significant other. With millennials, this does hold true, although, a surprising trend has emerged of millennials celebrating family and friends on Valentine’s Day. For a day with friends, a popular hashtag has arisen #GalentinesDay. And in a recent survey, 47% of millennials said they plan on spending money on a gift for a family member for Valentine’s Day.

Brands Response: Instill the idea of giving a gift to a family member or friends in the minds of their followers. According to GoDaddy, around Feb. 13th, emails containing the phrase “Galentine’s Day” (the holiday inspired by Parks and Recreation) had an average open rate of 40% — that’s 15% to 20% higher than industry averages.


  1. Challenging Traditional Values

The idea of ownership, which has been central to previous generations, is not as prevalent among Millennials. Psychology Today notes “The long-term commitment that’s by nature a part of most big-ticket purchases such as cars, homes or even luxury handbags is less appealing to a generation that gets bored more easily and values immediacy.” This is why expect to see Millennials eating out and buying Groupons instead of just getting the box of chocolates.

Brands Response: Be different. Millennials love to stand out and love brands that help them do so.


  1. Social Media is the New Diamond Necklace

A new gift brings a sense of gratification, especially when one can wear and show it off. It’s a boost of confidence, and that’s what Valentine’s gifts of the past were mainly centered around. Enter the under-paid, and under-employed Millennial generation. While some of Gen Y still enjoys some bigger ticket items, the others may shy away in fear these more expensive gifts may cause them to look materialistic. For a generation with less money and time to shop, a photo or post on social media calling out a friend is often an acceptable birthday present. With millennials, it really is the thought that counts.

Clever Brand Response: Creating sharable content that encourages users to repost with a specific hashtag. It’s not a revolutionary idea, but when done well, it still generates results.



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Blue Bear Creative is a Denver social media agency focused on helping food and beverage brands market to millennials.




  • Angel Healy

    Millenials have definitely started and changed a lot from the traditional set-up of things. And if you’d think about it, it makes us transcend the box that we have been used to, i.e. a boy and girl relationship. We’re able to celebrate things freely.

  • Maverick

    Some people do get success starting off in social media, but usually those people are very popular or are extremely fascinating. If you don’t have those qualities, it’s better to be deortsnmative on what you have, showing off all that you can offer, and put social marketing as one of the further steps in your program.