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February 14, 2019

I like candy | A brief history of a Valentine’s Day classic

The tradition of Valentine’s Day originated in ancient Rome around 278 A.D. Its root was the rather pagan Lupercalia festival (nothing says romance like sacrificing a goat) which was celebrated on February 15th, the day after various forms of courtships were formed.

In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be celebrated around the 17th century by friends and lovers exchanging small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. This progressed in the 1900s, due to advancing technology, printed cards began to be manufactured, enabling access to ready-made cards to send to your enamoured.

So, it seems there are many ways to say, ‘I love you’ – but, what could say it better than with candy (literally)?

Created over 60 years ago years ago by UK confectioner, Swizzels ‘Love Hearts’ have been declaring cute, comical statements stamped across a candy heart. As times have progressed, each iconic holiday sweet has developed into phrases more suited to current trends – ensuring Love Hearts as a brand, will be forever relatable as technology and communication moves forward.

From being available free with a copy of Beano magazine, to the phrase “Tweet Me” embossed on the face of the sweet, these conversation candies have vastly moved with times on how conversation has been pushed into the 21st Century. This charming history explores and conveys each milestone of technology and its effect on modernised communication.

We can almost use these tiny messages to pinpoint a time in history which could provide a window into specific years of publication, for example, in 1990 the home computer became increasingly popular, resulting in Swizzels generating ‘high-tech hearts’ to match the progression in technology. “Fax Me”, and ‘Page Me’ could be seen printed across the faces of these chatty confections.

This progressed into the 2000s with additions of minute sculpture of the Millennium Dome in celebration of the new millennium. Each miniature motto expresses fashion trends and popular movements, and even conveys a nod to 2001’s celebrity wedding with the inclusion of niche, yet recognisable, phrase “Wayne Coleen”.

Forever evolving, Love Hearts are evaluating what’s modern and forecasting future trends to match relevant content put on their sweeties. These forward-thinking candies are representational of technology, slang, trends and how we can speak to each other without even using words. In 2017 Love Hearts completely ditched words altogether in favour of emojis!

Swizzels uses a platform as a reflection on how we communicate with one-another, keeping messages short and sweet (pun intended), similar to conversations had in 2018/19, with texting and tagging, there are far fewer words being used. Much like Twitter, Swizzels themselves are also being put to a wordcount, ensuring each candy heart’s content is impactful and relevant. Eating these candies is not the point – it’s not about the candy, but the words on the candy.

Whilst the idea of Love Hearts remains the same, the sentiment and messaging on them changes constantly, however, Swizzels has famously never printed a negative phrase or conversation, making the element of ‘love’ (friendship and/or otherwise) forever present.

Valentine’s Day has experienced a transition from history into pop culture by the way it has been perceived, discussed and distinguished. So, whether you’re sacrificing a goat, making hand-written notes, or ‘@-ing’ someone on social media – we wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day! From Point 6, with love.

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