Will Valentines Sweep You Off Your Feet, Or Is It Just Another Rug-Pull?

With Valentine’s Day coming up, TAN FANG YI explores whether this romantic occasion is a celebration of genuine emotion or just another marketing gimmick to make people spend more money.



Tan Fang Yi
The UrbanWire Editor

Hype Issue #58

Published on
February 14, 2023

Is it just me, or do I smell love in the air? It’s the season of love! Feb 14, Valentine’s Day, is a day filled with romance. There’s often an emphasis on celebrating it through gift giving, things like flowers and chocolates, as a way of expressing one’s affection. However, an underlying question emerges: Is Valentine’s Day a day of genuine sentiment, or has it evolved into a cynical marketing gimmick?

Origin of Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is an annual occasion that takes place on Feb 14, when lovers express affection to each other through greetings and gifts. Graphic by Tan Fang Yi.

Have you ever wondered how Valentine’s Day even came about? According to Britannica.com, though its true origin is vague, there are traces that the celebration is linked to the Roman festival of Lupercalia –  a celebration of spring marked by fertility rites and random pairings of men and women that took place in mid-February. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I prohibited the celebration of Lupercalia and replaced it with St. Valentine’s Day.

The commercialised lens

Over the years, various industries have taken the opportunity to commercialise Valentine’s Day. Taking a closer look into the floral industry, their marketing campaigns have carefully cultivated the association between love and flowers, prompting people to equate the two.


A “warning” advertisement to market Miami Gardens Florist’s flowers for Valentine’s Day. The advertisement touches on one’s emotions as a pushing factor for them to make a purchase. Photo taken from Pulley Media via Pinterest.

As I was scrolling online, looking at flower bouquets for Valentine’s Day, I was flabbergasted by the prices, as the average cost of a bouquet of flowers, sometimes consisting of just one or two stems, ranges from $70 to $150. This made me wonder how much people are willing to spend on a Valentine’s Day gift. Hence, I took this question to my Instagram and conducted a poll.


With a total of 66 responses, most people were willing to spend between $10 to $30 for a gift. More surprisingly, although 87% of respondents felt that Valentine’s Day is just another marketing gimmick, 29% of this group would still be willing to spend more than $50 on a gift. Poll conducted by Tan Fang Yi.

Undoubtedly, social media also adds pressure and creates a sense of competition to receive gifts on Valentine’s Day. 

“There’s [a] bit of pressure, especially when you see your friends getting flowers, then you are like, ‘Why am I not getting flowers?’,” Eilee Ong Yuk Ting, 20, a small business owner who runs an online floral Instagram shop (@bouquet.eil), says.

People feel the need to share elaborate displays of affection. This can be seen through an ongoing TikTok trend, where girls show off big flower bouquets that they’ve received. The comment sections are filled with envy from others. With reactions like these, the stereotype of receiving gifts from your significant other, especially flowers, becomes emphasised.


A viral trend on TikTok where girls show off the large flower bouquets they have received. Photo taken from @notyour_ashlyn via TikTok.

However, Eilee adds that “this is not the right way to go”, as everyone has their own way of expressing love, which might not be through flowers. “If you don’t get gifts, it’s fine. What matters most is that [you both] spend time together on this occasion,” Eilee said.

A creative take to make bouquets more meaningful

When asked about the alternatives to flowers, Eilee shares that, for her it’s money. “That’s the most practical solution. That’s the best one.” Though she does caveat that practical gifts would be a great, meaningful alternative. 

With this in mind and as a small business owner who strives to stand out, Eilee says that she highlights the value of her bouquets by taking creative turns through personalisation, such as photo and snack bouquets.


Customised bouquets by Eilee add a more personal touch. One may appreciate personalised bouquets like these more than the standard rose bouquets as they show thoughtfulness in making them unique. Photos taken from Eilee Ong Yuk Ting.

“[I would prefer] something that I would like, something that won’t die [over conventional flowers that would wilt over time] if I’m a customer,” Eilee said.

So, if you are looking for customisable bouquets to add that personal touch, I’ve got something special for you! Eilee has kindly provided all HYPE readers with a special code, “BOUQUET.EIL15”, for a 15% discount off any order. Simply drop them a message with our code when ordering on their Instagram at @bouquet.eil.


While there seems to be a consensus  that Valentine’s Day is just another marketing scheme to get people to spend more money, your love for your significant other doesn’t have to be emphasised only through monetary gifts. Love can also be expressed through heartfelt and genuine gestures, such as handwritten letters or even a home cooked meal; ultimately, it all boils down to one’s sincerity. 

So, how will you be celebrating this Valentine’s Day?