Society

This Valentine’s Day, I fell for a toothbrush. Well, almost...

Love is in the air, so either shut the windows or watch brands try to outdo each other, selling everything from antivirus software to toothbrushes in the name of Saint Valentine

I remember it like it was yesterday. Because it was yesterday.

Buried in the flurry of annoying mails about deadlines and credit card approval, there was one with the subject line: ‘To Sweta, my Valentine.’ This was it. My You’ve Got Mail moment.

Heart aflutter, I opened the letter. “Dear Sweta,” it began. “Flavours have been brewing ever since we met. All those times we dined together, still fresh in my mind…. Of course, there have been some questionable times. Times where we haven’t seen each other for days or weeks. But who are we kidding? We both know I’m always on your mind.”

It was signed “Yours truly, Cheese Corn Nuggets.” What is this behaviour, Swiggy? Cat-fishing innocent, if hungry-all-the-time, souls?

On Valentine’s Day, if there is one thing that outshines true love, it is punny, too clever by half digital marketers and PR professionals. Working in the lifestyle department of a newspaper, it is impossible to escape this onslaught of advertising. They would have you believe that love is leaking from the AC vents and spreading into the air of every hotel, restaurant and pub in the city.

While that is to be expected, a cursory glance at online shopping sites will tell you that any brand worth its salt — including toothpastes with salt — is ready to jump on this bandwagon.

Sample this: Electric toothbrushes at half-price to ‘put a smile on your lover’s face’ (not the kind of vibrating instrument I need). An antivirus pop-up ad, offering a Valentine’s Day discount for subscription renewal (not the kind of protection I need).

Love after all, is an all-pervasive feeling. There is nothing that can’t be romantic. Including dietary supplements, as a wellness brand tried to convince me recently. “Gift of Health for him and her, this Valentine’s Day” was their tagline, while selling probiotics for urinary tract health. If that doesn’t get your nether regions all hot and bothered, I don’t know what will. Wait, actually I do — a women’s hygiene brand had the brilliant idea of gifting your partner a pack of tampons, cramp-free patches and sweat-proof clothing.

As a woman, I wholeheartedly approve of this. In fact, every brand should get on this trend. Gift the boys in your life, Lifebuoy. Stain remover Vanish, for when you need to break up with someone right before Valentine’s. And Fair & Lovely, for telling your girlfriend that in four to seven weeks, your mom will finally approve of her.

KitKat is already ahead of the curve, with its recently launched Valentine’s Day Special ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ chocolates. ‘Magic happens when you find the ‘Right’ pack.’ and ‘This Valentine, don’t feel ‘Left’ out.’ are their slogans. I strongly suspect this is to help you reveal your political leanings to your crushes, in an increasingly divisive India. Thank you KitKat, your efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Whatever your leanings and kinks, I hope you do find love this February. Unlike me. Cheese Corn Nuggets and I are going on a break. I might start seeing French Fries again.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 2:34:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/how-brands-woo-you-on-valentines-day/article30810470.ece

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