Column One:
Eye on Unmarried America

February 12,  2007  



More Anti-Valentine's Day promotions this year

By Thomas F. Coleman

Here we go again with "Anti VD" commercialism.

Prior to Valentine's Day last year, I wrote a column entitled "No need for singles to protest Valentine's Day."  I criticized one entrepreneur who was trying to capitalize on anti-couples sentiment that some single people have by peddling an entire line of "Anti VD" goodies, from greeting cards, to post cards, to hats and tee shirts. 

Although they are still relatively small in number -- compared to those who market to people who do celebrate Valentine's Day -- several more anti-valentine promoters have surfaced this year.

American Greetings is the largest company trying to cash in on the "Anti VD" bandwagon by designing and selling 10 different cards with an Anti-Valentine's Day slant to them.

Several television stations around the country have run news stories in recent weeks about this novel marketing gimmick.  According to one news report, "the anti-Valentine's Day cards are moving as fast as chocolate-shaped hearts" at the downtown Cleveland store operated by American Greetings."

"We saw that there were parties that were occurring that were sort of anti-valentine's day where again black might be the primary color instead of red with broken chocolate hearts and black balloons," a company spokesperson told reporters.

Two online greeting card websites -- Yahoo and Blue Mountain -- have added an Anti Valentine's Day section to their collections.

But the negative marketing is not limited to greeting card vendors.  Several other businesses in various parts of the nation are using Anti-Valentine's Day advertising to lure customers to their establishments.

CafePress, an online marketplace that claims to have millions of vendors using its services to sell their products, is hosting an Anti-Valentine's Day Contest.  It has invited designers to compete with each other by creating Anti-Valentine's Day product designs.

One designer submitted a lapel button with the word SAD in the middle, and around the edge of the button is the slogan "Singles Awareness Day -- February 14, 2007."  Another is a heart shaped candy with :-( in the middle.  Another displays a skeleton and under it are the words "Cupid is Dead."

For the young adult crowd, the Gypsy Bar in Boston is throwing an Anti-Valentine's Day Party on February 9 for singles who are mourning the fact that they don't have a romantic Valentine.  The club's website encourages singles to "bring photos of their exes to shred."

MatchActivity is sponsoring its "first annual Anti-Valentine's Day party" at Les Deux in Hollywood, California on February 13.  The promoters must be optimistic about the turnout since they are advertising this as an annual event.

Blonde, a dance club in Kansas City, Missouri says that its "Second Annual Anti-Valentine's Day Party is for the non-lover in you."  Singles and non-romantic couples are invited to attend the event on February 14 where they can "boo Valentine’s Day."

In Chicago, the anti-Valentine crusade is being led by The Poetry Center which is  throwing its "No Love for Love: Anti-Valentine's Day Show" on Feb. 12 at the Chicago Apollo Theater.  The Poetry Center?

“We’re tired of all the hearts and flowers,” says Poetry Center Executive Director Lisa Buscani. “We’re sick of greeting card love. We want to hear from the other end of the love spectrum.”

According to Buscani, "it promises to be an evening of bitterness, bile and fun.”

One of the more surprising venues is a major library in Springfield, Missouri.  The Library Station is sponsoring an Anti-Valentines nighttime event for teenagers on February 16.  Those who attend are encouraged to "make an anti-Valentine card or compose an anti-love sonnet."

In San Francisco, the gay community is capitalizing on this counter-culture phenomena.  The Lesbian/Gay Chorus will move onto the main stage at the Theatre Rhino on Feb. 9-10 for Love Bites the Hand that Feeds It -- its annual anti-Valentine's Day cabaret.

I guess I should face it.  There is a niche market in Anti-Valentine's Day merchandise and events. 

A resent national poll found that nearly half of Americans look forward to Valentine's Day while 13 percent dread it.

So I'll send my greeting to those on both sides of the issue. 

Happy Valentine's Day or Bah Humbug.  Take your pick.

To read other editions of Column One, click here.

© Unmarried America 2007

Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director of Unmarried America, is an attorney with 33 years of experience in singles' rights, family diversity, domestic partner benefits, and marital status discrimination.  Each week he adds a new commentary to Column One: Eye on Unmarried America. E-mail: Unmarried America is a nonprofit information service for unmarried employees, consumers, taxpayers, and voters.