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Are toe-curling Valentine's Day gimmicks really necessary?

Luke Todd

Shoppers are poised to show some love for the UK’s high street and online retailers this weekend, with spend predicted to hit £980m - an increase of £15m on last year, according to Verdict. Either a greater number of shoppers have found time to engage in blissful romance this time around or retailers are stepping up their offerings in a bid to bank some cupid-cash.

Ted Baker

The rise is set to occur despite more than half (55.9%) of consumers telling Verdict Valentine’s Day is a waste of money, solidifying my own thoughts around ‘forced romance day’. Among the cringe-inducing gimmicks being employed is a venture into Cilla-territory with a new online video series from, an effort by Tesco to play matchmaker through ‘basket dating’ and a prize-giving gaming website from Ted Baker. Sadly, the predicted overall pick up in spending shows there are gains to be had, providing the retailer is willing to work hard to woo customers.


What’s your username and where’d you log on? Asos’s three-part digi-dating YouTube series features a familiar format: one dater and three datees, separated by a screen. Fronted by Big Brother’s Bit On The Side presenter AJ Odudu, the aim is to pair off ’digiboys’ and ’digidivas’, all to the tune of wince-worthy one liners.

Source: Asos #DigiDating

Asos #DigiDating


The supermarket giant behind the F&F clothing line wants single shoppers to “check out” (geddit?) its latest campaign, aimed at bringing an end to gooseberries (not the fruit). The idea is not to judge a book by its cover but a potential Valentine’s based on their…baskets? Tesco gave single folks £20 to spend before matching people with the help of a psychotherapist based on what they bought.

Source: Tesco Valentine's | Introducing Basket Dating

Tesco Valentine's | Introducing Basket Dating

Ted Baker

Hooking up with your “solemate” is the aim of Ted Baker’s Valentine’s gimmick. The brand has launched a dedicated microsite featuring a game that offers players the chance to win a variety of prizes (we assume to re-gift) or £1,000 to put back in the retailer’s pocket. The experience is brief yet oddly satisfying (like all good dates).

Ted Baker Solemate


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