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Behavioural Insights for Valentine’s Day

12th Feb 2015

At BIT we believe that “We all need someone to love us the whole day through” and so, for the romantically inclined, we share our hints and tips to make the most of this Valentine’s Day:

  1. I Love all of your perfect imperfections“: After making a blunder, a respected person will tend to become more attractive to the opposite sex. This is particularly true for males (the “Pratfall Effect”). So don’t be afraid of small mishaps on the big date; it may actually make you more endearing.
  2. When are you going to realise, it was just that the time was wrong“: Delivering your Valentine’s message at the wrong time could damage your chance of success. Marketing research shows that sending messages between 8am – 10am and 3pm – 4pm can increase email open rates by over 6% – and every little bit helps. Time your email well to help avoid the delete key, and don’t forget to factor in time zones.
  3. Take me into your loving arms“: Go in for that big hug. Embracing a loved one releases oxytocin (the cuddle hormone), which has been linked to social bonding, devotion and trust. However, be cautious about the potency of its effect. Oxytocin is a complex chemical with a variety of mixed influences on social behaviour, so is not necessarily the natural “love drug”.
  4. Lady in red“: Red hearts, red roses, red wine…, but is red the best colour for a gift? In a comparison between red and blue, it turns out that red enhances cognitive performance on detail-oriented tasks, whereas blue enhances creative tasks. Red also increases avoidance between people, as opposed to approach. However, whatever the colour of the gift make sure you wrap it up nicely; research shows that a gift-wrapped item influences the recipient to have a more favourable attitude towards the gift.
  5. Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away“: Shared experiences tend to provide more enduring happiness than material purchases, especially if the recipient knows they’re getting one beforehand. So plan a surprise, keep your significant other guessing and don’t worry about the outcome as even bad experiences become good stories.

Happy Valentine’s from all of us at BIT!

  1. Intro: “Old Man”, Neil Young; “All of Me”, John Legend. Research: Aronson, Willerman, Floyd, 1966, The effect of a pratfall on increasing interpersonal attractiveness.
  2. “Romeo and Juliet”, Dire Straits. Research: GetResponse, 2012
  3. “Thinking out loud”, Ed Sheeran. Research: CKW De Dreu, 2012, Oxytocin modulates cooperation within and competition between groups: An integrative review and research agenda
  4. “Lady in Red”, Chris de Burgh. Research: Mehta, Zhu, 2009, Blue or Red? Exploring the Effect of Color on Cognitive Task Performances. Howard, D. 1992, Gift-Wrapping Effects on Product Attitudes: A Mood-Biasing Explanation.
  5. “Come Fly with Me”, Frank Sinatra. Research: Kumar, Killingsworth, Gilovich, 2014, Waiting for Merlot, anticipatory consumption of experiential and material purchases