Where will you dine this Valentine's Day?

In the few weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, many advertisers look for opportunities to tie their products to the national day of love, devoting a portion of TV ad budget to commercials themed with the holiday. Top spending categories include the obvious: jewelry, candy, crafts, department stores and other retailers—highlighting deals on gifts for your Valentine. Nearly 27% of jewelry TV ads from January 26 through February 8 used Valentine-themed creative, and this proportion was even higher for big box retailer ads (29%). But which advertisers racked up the most dollars for love-themed ads? Restaurants—with $13 million on Valentine-themed TV commercials during this period.

This seems appropriate, since Valentine's Day is the second-most popular day of the year for restaurant visits, according to the National Restaurant Association. And restaurants use this opportunity to promote menu offerings to make the day extra special for diners. At the top of the group are quick serve restaurants, promoting indulgent and affordable options to show your loved one you care.

Top QSR Valentines Day Advertisers 2014

QSRs were responsible for 78.9%, and coffee/doughnut chains 20.2%, of Valentine's Day restaurant spend from January 26 to February 8. At the top of the list was McDonald's, who invested $10 million—representing 41% of its total TV ad budget for this period. Nearly 89% of Dunkin Donuts ads used love themes, thanks to $2.6 million in spots for its heart-shaped doughnuts and new white chocolate raspberry coffee. Dairy Queen also entered the Valentine's Day game with a smaller investment for its red velvet blizzard cupid cake ad.

McDonalds Valentines Day AdMcDonald's Ad, 1/25/15

Dunkin Donuts Valentines Day AdDunkin Donuts Ad, 1/25/15

Dairy Queen Valeintines Day Ad Dairy Queen Ad, 2/7/15

Other national brands have also featured some rather creative Valentine's Day initiatives: Starbucks kicks off its "Meet Me at Starbucks" event today in partnership with Match.com, White Castle continues its annual candlelit Valentine's Day dinner with table service, and Qdoba will offer free burritos to smooching patrons.

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