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Gen X’s representation in Valentine’s Day campaigns

As Valentine’s Day continues to expand its footprint, it is crucial for marketers to understand that this celebration of love transcends generations. Today, the week-long festivities that commence with Rose Day and culminate on Valentine’s Day on February 14, have become a norm. 

Gen X born between 1965-1980 were possibly the first generation who were introduced to Valentine’s Day in India by brands like Hallmark and Archies. In the 80s and the 90s when they were growing up and, in their teens, cards, flowers, chocolates and possibly a small gift were the only ways of professing love for one’s partner. It was with the advent of MTV, radio programs and events such as love letter competitions that valentine’s day started getting prominence in India.

Celebration of love was a blend of adopting western traditions and maintaining Indian cultural nuances. It was often a low-key affair, primarily because societal acceptance of Valentine’s Day was still evolving, so quick escapes, face to face conversations, simple dates, group meet ups was the general norm. Small gestures were treasured, the moment was savoured privately, and one went about their day as any other.  

Now, in their mid-40s to late 50s, this generation is transitioning into a phase of life marked by lesser responsibilities and increased leisure time. They are now looking at finally living for themselves. 

They have the savings and the money as many are at the peak of their careers. They want to spend on categories of interest to them like fashion, accessories, beauty, sports and fitness. They feel healthy both physically and mentally (about 78% compared to 73% for Gen Z)). However many marketers are not talking to them, and they feel under-represented and largely ignored in media. This provides a potential to talk to them in a relevant and empathetic manner and Valentine’s Day could provide one such opportunity.

When it comes to relationships in India, 74% of Gen X are satisfied with their romantic life, however this is a bit lower than the level of satisfaction amongst Millennials and Gen Z (Ipsos Lovelifesatisfaction around the world). This presents an opportunity for brands to engage with Gen X during Valentine’s Day, helping them rekindle romance and rediscover their relationships.

It is important to keep in mind that the meaning of love, relationships and romance is different for Gen X. For many in this age group, it is about rediscovering themselves and their relationship with their spouse or partner. However a few things that need to be kept in mind is that given their age and lifestage, depiction of romance and love needs to be subtle and mature. They usually shy away from overt and public display of affection, brought up in the era of DDLJ and QSQT with its sedate show of romance.

Younger generations today view love and such associated celebrations very differently.  Love is measured, love is loud and displayed on social media for the world to witness, and there is nothing personal about it. We need to be watchful of how Gen X are represented in Valentine’s Day campaigns.

There are a few themes around love and relationships which we feel are under-utilised and wbe used in communicating the day in a more relevant and meaningful manner to this TG.

  1. Self-love: Given this TG has spent a large portion of their life caring for others, whether it is their kids, aging parents or even the spouse a resonant theme could be around self-love and how Valentine’s day is about gifting yourself something you cherish-could be a material object or even a new hobby or interest. A few years back Tanishq had a campaign around `you can be your own valentine’ which was well appreciated. We do see resonance of this theme amongst Gen X- many of whom pick up a hobby or interest which was languishing due to other commitments.

  2. Redefining the relationship with spouse: Ariel had a wonderful ad named `See the signs’, which showed how an older couple had drifted apart over the years, and the husband realising this and asking the question `Can we start again?’ This could be a theme which would resonate with the Gen X as many of them do find themselves at crossroads when it comes to their relationship with their spouse. We feel there is a potential for many brands across sectors being able to connect with this theme.

  3. Making new connections or rekindling old ones: 68% of Gen X would like to make new friends and expand their social circle (Ipsos Essentials study). In putting their family’s interest ahead of themselves many GenXers lose touch with their old friends, classmate and colleagues, relationships they truly cherished. This could be another angle which could be explored in communication during Valetine week. We stumbled upon a OTT a movie called ‘Three of us’ which portrayed love between friends who had lost touch – is that a start of a conversation with the Gen X? There is potential for categories such as tourism, dining/restaurant chains to build on this.

  4. Spreading love: India as a society is family centric and this segment has been brought up on values of family first, nurturance, bonding etc. Valentine’s day could be a good way to strengthen the bond with the loved ones.

Addressing these themes and targeting Gen X in Valentine’s Day campaigns could be a game-changer for brands. As marketers, it’s time we recognise the untapped potential of Gen X and engage with them in a more meaningful and inclusive manner.

This article is penned by Maitreyi Mangrati, Executive Director and Service Line Leader, Synthesio, Ipsos India. 

Disclaimer: The article features the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the stance of the publication.

Source: Social Samosa

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