Branding Autumn When It’s Summer Outside

FacebookLinkedInTwitter

As James Taylor once crooned, “Well, the leaves have come to turning / And the goose has gone to fly . . . The frost is on the pumpkin / The hay is in the barn . . . .”  But wait.  It’s September 4th and 90+ degrees (32+ degrees Celsius) in most of the northern hemisphere (blame seasonal temperature lag, particularly here in coastal California).  Yet in a time-honored ritual as certain as the New Year’s Eve countdown in Times Square, as soon as we round the corner from August to September it’s time for coffee shops to ditch refreshing coolers appropriate for current atmospheric conditions and focus on pumpkin, pumpkin and more pumpkin.


In fact September 4th is the first day of the season you can find a Pumpkin Spiced Latte at many Starbucks. But just as one swallow does not a summer make, one pumpkin-based drink does not make it autumn.  From a thermometer reading, it is hotter than the brass hinges of Hades.  Even from an equinox (the equal division of night and day, not the health club) perspective, we still have 18 days to go.  Despite all the hoopla, at Peet’s the other morning, we saw a tray of pumpkin latte samples go begging . . . and for good reason. However devoutly one might might wish a return to the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” it is hard to imagine cozying up next to a fire and curling fingers around a steaming mug when the temperature is still sufficiently sudoriferous to fry an egg on the sidewalk.

 

Don’t get us wrong.  We love Costco‘s Christmas in August as much as the next brand-builder.  Halloween in May. Fall Fashion Week in February. We’re not hung up on seasonal ceremony.  We also know that Ma Nature doesn’t always cooperate with marketing calendars. But is anyone really craving the “seasonal” treat of a Cinnamon Gingerbread Latte right now? For brands that are going to be consumed in situ, there should at least be some flexibility to adapt to actual real world climate conditions, rather than slavishly following the edicts of central planning.  And as much as we look forward to what’s next, sometimes what’s here now is just fine too. And unlike thawing out from a long winter to embrace an early sacre du printemps, some of us are loathe to see the easy informality of summer slip away too quickly.

For coffee purveyors, there might be an an additional benefit to showing a bit of seasonal restraint: selling more drinks. Who knows.  Perhaps some L-Tryptophan-crazed shopper will still want a Pumpkin Latte when the next great migration to Peppermint Mochas occurs the day after Thanksgiving.

Now It’s Your Turn
FacebookLinkedInTwitter
Show all responses
  • Mellooey McJustice
    Sep 10, 2012

    Well, your blog just made me thirsty, and I’m not even in California. I agree it’s too soon for the pumpkins and gingerbread. Why not step outside and feel the heat, instead of being a slave to the calendar? I still wear white shoes after Labor Day, although I risk condemnation. Thanks for standing up for reality, sudoriferous though it be.

Culture, Trends
Looking Back in Time: the 1920s vs. the 2020s

The end of a decade inevitably elicits a thoughtful analysis of the previous 10 years. What were the defining cultural phenomena of the decade? What inventions have helped us evolve? How should we view ourselves as a society now? While every decade has its remarkable facets, some decades are characterized by more noteworthy milestones, breakthroughs […]

Learn More
Technology Brands
Smart Cities Evolutions – Smart City Expo World Congress Barcelona

Each year at the end-of-November governments and private organizations at the vanguard of the smart cities movement convene at the Smart Cities Expo World Congress in Barcelona. For three days last week nearly 25,000 attendees from 143 countries explored innovations not only in the IoT, AI and 5G technologies underpinning smart cities, but also the […]

Learn More
Technology Brands
Mobile World Congress LA 2019: Full-Throttle 5G, But Huawei a No Show

Mobile World Congress Los Angeles just wrapped up a jam-packed week. It’s always a whirlwind of activity at MWC, with a full slate of client meetings, presentations, product launches, exciting companies coming up the ranks and the general feeling that we have a front-row seat to what’s new and next in tech innovation. Newly-christened this […]

Learn More
Corporate Culture
Remote Working as a Cultural Phenomenon

Remote working is now an established cultural phenomenon. From a societal and organizational point of view, a successful remote working policy must be a cultural imperative at an organization, with an intentionality behind it that strives to mitigate factors that weaken remote-worker success, such as poor communication, a sense of detachment from the organization, inadequate […]

Learn More

Ready to talk about how your brand and culture can do more for your business?

Let's talk
Let's talk