Sweethearts candy chooses unsexy theme for Valentine’s Day 2022

The new "Words of Encouragement" candy hearts send supportive messages to loved ones.

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Sweethearts Conversation Hearts product shot
Image: Spangler Candy Company

The cynics among us will say that Valentine’s Day was invented by Hallmark in order to sell greeting cards full of sweet nothings by the millions. The true sage, however, knows that Valentine’s Day was invented by the candy companies in order to sell boxes of sweet nothings by the millions.

Or at least, candy companies have had a lock on this “holiday” for decades. Sweethearts Conversation Hearts, a product of Spangler Candy Company (which acquired the rights from Necco in 2018), are probably the thing that springs to mind fastest when you think about Valentine’s Day, with slogans like “YOU + ME” and “XOXO.” This year, though, Spangler has announced the 2022 theme for its Sweethearts slogans will be “Words of Encouragement,” emphasizing friendship instead of flirtation. Who could have seen this coming?

According to a press release sent to The Takeout, the platonic little messages will be added to the mix, but won’t supplant the more traditionally sexy wink-wink slogans.

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“Fans of the beloved candy hearts will find 16 new sayings inside this year’s boxes including, ‘WAY 2 GO,’ ‘CRUSH IT’ AND ‘HIGH FIVE’ alongside classic messages like ‘BE MINE,’ ‘HUG ME’ and ‘CUTIE PIE’,” reads the press release. “The 2022 theme aims to show recipients just how special they are, give their spirits a lift and say a special thank you to anyone who helped them do and become their best – from teachers, mentors and coaches, to family, friends, teammates and countless other difference-makers.”

These new phrases sound more like something I’d say as an attendee of an AYSO soccer game than anything I’d utter to my loved ones, but to each their own. It probably makes sense for Spangler to widen the scope of who can give and receive Sweethearts to each other. It’s not sexy, but then, perhaps we should never have been trying to make these candies sexy in the first place. They’re an invention of Necco, for god’s sake.

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The flavor line-up hasn’t changed, which ought to make the traditionalists happy: Wintergreen, Orange, Lemon-Lime, Blueberry, Banana, Grape, and Cherry will be featured in each box.

I’m sure these new “Words of Encouragement” hearts will come as a welcome update for many people. Perhaps especially grade school students? I, for one, remember swapping candy during classroom Valentine’s Day exchanges as a kid, agonizing over whether handing out Sweethearts was somehow too forward and boldly flirtatious, wondering whether I’d be held accountable for any heart reading “XOXO” that landed in the hands of a crush. If I could simply have given out hearts with messages like “WAY 2 GO,” it might have abated my annual anxiety around the festivities. High fives all around!