Thought Leadership

Are brands underestimating the marketing potential of Galentine's Day?

The focus on Valentine’s Day in the midst of a cost of living crisis leaves brands at risk of being out of touch

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


You can’t buy love, but Marks & Spencer has rolled out Valentine’s Day versions of Colin the Caterpillar and Valentine's cards and gifts abound. Yet are consumers buying it and are brands missing a trick by fixating on heterosexual couples at the expense of those eschewing traditional relationships and embracing single life?

It is estimated that 45% of women aged 25 to 44 will be single by 2030, according to research from Morgan Stanley. While figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show a continuing trend in people not getting married, with the number of people getting hitched at the lowest rate on record. The census revealed that for the first time a majority of adults aged 30-34 are now unmarried, rising from 49.2 in 2011 to 58.9 per cent in 2021.

According to research from Mintel In 2023, Valentine’s Day struggled to gain traction amid a cost-of-living crisis, spending was estimated to have fallen 19% year-on-year. Average consumer spending also dropped. Among those who did buy, 50% said they bought fewer Valentine’s Day gifts this year because of financial concerns. Valentine’s Day retailers also have to contend with a growing fatigue among consumers about the throwaway nature of many usual Valentine’s Day gifts.

Yet while Valentine’s Gifts might be disposable at a time when the single life is increasingly aspirational, is there an opportunity for brands to celebrate the unending love of friendship. With this in mind we asked industry experts if brands are underestimating the marketing potential of Galentine's Day?

Jay Young

jay young GV.JPG

Managing Director

Grand Visual

Galentine’s Day is all about celebrating friendships and bringing people together - so there is a perfect opportunity for brands to assume a tangible role in driving this message in the real world via creative Out of Home experiences.

Successful activations can go beyond the billboard to create something authentic that speaks volumes. Last year we turned a Budweiser billboard into a stage to help champion female and non-binary artists who would be snubbed by the new gender-neutral category at the BRIT awards. Up and coming artists were invited to perform – driving huge awareness and impact – particularly as the billboard was in the heart of the BRIT Awards attendees’ hotels so reached the biggest and most influential names in music. What this proves is the power of a strong message and how real-world executions can amplify this with authenticity and to great effect.

Lori Meakin

Lori Meakin (002).jpg

Exec Committee Member


Most brands underestimate the power of women’s spend in all kinds of ways, so even the existence of Galentine's Day is somewhat refreshing, as it centres women’s relationships with each other, opposed to the romantic, straight couple ideal that’s often positioned as the most important axis of women’s lives.

But, the question remains: is the renaming of an outdated and patriarchal celebration with a new cute name truly a step forward? (Side note: explore the history of Valentine’s Day. You’ll be amazed!) For every woman who loves how the Galentines name embraces girliness, there’ll be another who rejects that. We can’t tie the same old ideas up with a pink bow and think we’re doing a good job of representing women. Simple ‘pinkwashing' isn’t enough. Brands need to genuinely understand the diverse experiences of all kinds of women and create ideas that serve this powerful audience in fresh, fundamental and meaningful ways.

Catherine Ferguson


Head of Agency Strategy

Pearl & Dean

Galentine’s Day has become a cultural phenomenon, and it’s exciting to see that brands have embraced this in recent years. Using cinema and the power of film to tap into cultural moments is equally as exciting, and this Galentine’s Day Pearl & Dean and Malibu have done exactly that by creating an ownable cinema moment through a partnership with Paramount’s Mean Girls film and Malibu Strawberry allowing customers to celebrate female friendship.

By purchasing a Malibu Strawberry Daiquiri from on-trade partners including Slug and Lettuce, Tonight Josephine and Blame Gloria, audiences can redeem 3 for 2 tickets at selected cinemas on Galentine’s day and throughout the month of February. This is a fun and creative way for a brand like Malibu to spark a real genuine connection with their target audience making them feel that Malibu is the drink to bring friends together and create memorable moments.

Lorna Nathan

Lorna Nathan, International Strategy & Innovation Lead at tms.jpg

International Strategy & Innovation Lead


There’s a huge interest in Galentine’s Day: social is flooded with mentions and it makes good copy for publications aimed at women. It’s becoming a cultural moment, but it doesn’t yet have the tradition around it that Valentine’s Day has, which might be why brands have been slower to pick up on its marketing potential.

For centuries, romantic love has been the ultimate life goal, so there have been negative perceptions around Galentine’s Day as a consolation for sad singles. But the narrative is shifting. Whilst sisterhood is not a new concept there’s a growing movement around girls and women holding each other up, so Galentine’s Day has a new resonance.

Brands can tap into the shift in the narrative as long as they authentically lean into the deeper emotional connection. There’s a real power in friendship; you even see it in fandoms with the Swifties sharing friendship bracelets – it’s about showing each other that you care. 

Female connections have been at the heart of some hugely successful campaigns. Dove’s “Real Beauty” and Sport England’s “This girl can” show the role that brands can play in bringing the female narrative along. It’s good to shine a light on positivity and kindness in a world that is often filled with so much negativity.