The new romantics

11 February 2008

If the emails we’re sent by personal finance press offices were any guide, the next issue of Moneywise would be wall-to-wall Valentine’s Day. Now, most years I attempt to make my wife realise that for her, every day is Valentine’s Day – she remains to be convinced – but I appreciate that it’s a money spinner for greeting card firms, restaurants and flower shops.

But for personal finance firms? When it comes to excuses to send out a preposterous press release, their creativity knows no bounds. Take this one from PayPal, using the fear approach – ‘Time to avoid the cold shoulder on Valentines Day’. This concerns a survey comparing what we allegedly want from a partner on 14 February (a weekend away seems popular) with what we actually get, which is a card and dinner in most cases.

Nationwide has also jumped on the bandwagon, using it as an excuse to bombard us with more information about the charges for using ATMs overseas, while Bupa has revealed that red roses are the Valentine’s flower of flower for the residents of its care homes.

Most nauseatingly Friends Provident, for some bizarre reason, has chosen to reveal that 15 million Brits want Kate Middleton to propose to Prince William on 29 February. I’d be amazed if 15 million Brits would give a damn if she instead proposed to Prince Philip or one of the several million upturned-collar sporting, loafer wearing, horse molesting rugger toffs in West London who appear to base their entire wardrobe on that of the future King. But Friends Provident obviously has its fingers on the pulse of middle England better than me. At least it doesn’t make a ridiculous link between Valentine’s Day and one of its investment bonds or something.

The press offices of the land are no doubt scheming away on the next batch too, most likely including some ingenious link between pet insurance and what to cook your partner on Valentine’s night. I’ll spare you the details.