Valentine’s Day is close to my heart. What I don’t love, though, are the attempts by marketers and PR professionals to leverage the holiday to spread word about their products. Sometimes the pitches are only tangentially related to the holiday; in other cases, the blatant use of stereotypes should make anyone with a feminist perspective wince.
Herewith, a sampling of the Valentine’s Day-pegged pitches Slate staffers have received over the last couple of weeks.
The Barely Valentine’s Related
“Test Relationship Compatibility with Airbnb”: Because Valentine’s Day should be a test of a relationship, carried out in a stranger’s home.
“Author Neil Strauss Turning Bestseller into Board Game with ‘Who's Got Game?’ ” The self-proclaimed “world's most legendary Pick-Up Artist” has turned his shtick into a board game. The press release promises, “It just might even lead to love right before Valentine’s Day.” Nothing says “love” like a man who looks at romance as a game.
Picking Up Business by Putting Down Lonely Hearts
“Flyin' Solo on Valentine's Day?”: From an indoor cycling studio in New York. Don’t have a date? You’d better work out! Maybe you’ll meet someone in a spinning class … or maybe you just need to blast those love handles.
“Love Me, Love My Pet - Singles Can Take the Pressure Off Valentine's Day by Doting on a Beloved Pet”: According to a matchmaker, “The best way to enjoy the day is to take the pressure off you and your date completely by placing the focus on your pet.” (via Gawker)
“Expert Thoughts: How To Avoid the Valentine's Day Romance Hangover”: Harlequin, romance-novel publisher, offers tips so readers can “avoid being alone next year and instead out on the town with a new man.”
“Survey: Words With Friends … With Benefits”: The popular smartphone game is a great timewaster. But this pitch—which includes mention of a survey that seems less than trustworthy—is just a waste of time. Sample questionable stat: “Close to one out of four of survey respondents have exchanged their Words With Friends name instead of their phone number.”
“iVillage’s Married Sex Survey Reveals How Husbands Can Get Even More Sex From Their Wives”: Ew. Sample questionable stat: “Close to ¼ (22%) have ‘sexted’ their husbands.”
“Romance + Technology = #ItsComplicated”: In another pitch from Harlequin, the publisher flogs its Romance Report, which directly contradicts iVillage. Harlequin readers, perhaps unsurprisingly, seem to be more inclined than iVillage posters to send a saucy text: 43 percent of respondents admit to “sexting.” (Perhaps referring to a “heaving bosom”?) But Harlequin may actually make a good point here: “[F]orget about lingerie, only 4 percent of women said they’d like to receive it as a gift.”
The Twilight Pitch
“Create Your Own Twilight Inspired Valentine’s Day Experience”: A “renowned event planner” offers to “share tips for creating a Twilight Valentine’s Day.” Nothing says romance like a demon baby.
“NY Times bestselling author - Gena Showalter - Dating the Undead”: If you aren’t a tween, dating the undead is inadvisable.