You might think that marketing around Valentine’s Day begins and ends with getting us to spend the most money possible on teddy bears, flowers and heart-shaped things.
But no: lucky for all of us, it’s also a time of year ripe for promotional gimmickry – and 2017 has been a stellar annum for ridiculous (and, we’ll admit, sometimes amazing) Valentine’s gifts.
Banking on the (fair) assumption that if you like something, you’ll like a whole bunch of it, in the arena of alternative bouquets we have several contenders vying for a place in your loved one’s heart.
First up, how about an edible bunch from Greggs?
Yep, the bakery chain has released a how-to guide on creating a doughnut bouquet, complete with cupcakes featuring keepsake plastic rings (scroll to the end for instructions).
Of course, as this is a DIY bouquet, we like to think it would work just as well with pasties and sausage rolls.
Not to be outdone, the cake experts at Mr Kipling also came up with an edible bouquet – the ‘bou-cake’, a 3ft-tall, £400 behemoth of sweet treats and roses featuring the brand’s ever-popular Cherry Bakewells and Fondant Fancies.
While the more affordable £30 version has sold out, we again suggest that those keen on bakes in their bouquets go DIY and stick as many Battenburgs on sticks as they think their beau can handle.
Moving toward the savoury options, KFC asks why say it with roses when there’s fried chicken to be had?
The chain this week unveiled a competition in one of its New Zealand branches, prompting thousands to enter in the hope of winning one of 20 limited-edition chicken bouquets of strips and drumsticks.
And in the process, has no doubt inspired many fans of fried chicken to chuck a Zinger Tower in with their freesias this year.
Meanwhile, bacon roses are doing the rounds again on social media. There are several recipes online should you wish to show your love via meat flowers (not a phrase we’ll be employing again) – just search ‘bacon roses’ on Pinterest and you’ll be set.
Read more: In defence of Valentine’s Day cheesiness
And finally, pizza chain Dominos stepped things up a notch by creating an actual engagement ring.
The gold ring is diamond-encrusted and in the shape of a slice of pizza, coming in its very own cardboard pizza box. The competition to win it has already closed, so ardent pizza fans should probably look into designing their own.
Whether you’re fully behind the idea of unashamedly celebrating love or cynical about the commodifying of emotion, we’re probably all in agreement that giving someone foodstuffs as a present is rarely a misfire, however ridiculous the thought of chicken drumsticks wrapped in tissue paper.
To this end, we’d like to suggest the following as bouquets for next year’s viral marketing campaigns and DIY projects: gin, beer, cheese, coffee and stationery. You’re welcome.
And if you’ve really left it late, have a look at our gift guide featuring several presents that require nothing more than an email confirmation sticking in an envelope (though sadly, no bacon roses).
Find the guide to making your own doughnut bouquet below.
Greggs Edible Bouquet
Note: these instructions are for attaching doughnuts and cupcakes to skewers – you will need a vase and floral foam to make an upright bouquet, as well as real or artificial flowers and leaves to bulk out the bunch.
You will need:
A selection of 5 doughnuts and 11 buns from Greggs
16 bamboo skewers
16 thick card circles, 11 x 4cm diameter, 5 x 7cm diameter
16 rubber washers (or you could use jelly sweets or corks) to hold the card circles in place
A metal skewer
A sharp knife
Make a hole in each washer (or cork) by using the metal skewer. Thread the rubber washers onto the bamboo skewers and thread the card circles on top.
Vary the length of the bamboo skewers by cutting them with a sharp knife.
One at a time, push a skewer into the floral block and add a doughnut or a bun. Use the longer skewers in the middle of the bouquet.