23 Sep What is it about Autumn that seems to suck the creativity out of marketing companies?
It’s officially the start of Autumn today (September 23), and we all know what that means – it’s the return of ‘pumpkin spice’…yay. Pumpkin Spice coffee, Pumpkin Spice breakfast cereals, Pumpkin Spice brownies, Pumpkin Spice curtains, Pumpkin Spice football boots (okay, I made the last two up, but you get the picture).
Sorry, but this is an issue we need to address…
This is a problem. Seriously…it’s a BIG problem. What is it about the autumnal season that seems to stunt all creativity when it comes to marketing? Why are we inundated with a plethora of needless, ridiculous product campaigns that basically mirror last year’s ideas but are worded slightly differently? As soon as late September – early October hits, you can guarantee that your social media feeds, TV ads, and even newspaper ads will be saturated with lukewarm, middle-of-the-road, rust-coloured adverts for pumpkin spice lattes. You could pumpkin spice a wet flannel at this time of year and people would lap it up, but does that make it okay? Just because something sells, is that a good reason to keep pushing it in the same way?
If it works, why bother changing it?
Some might say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – there’s certainly an element of truth to that, but marketing is about creativity; marketing is an art form. It seems as though the marketing departments of various snacks and beverages companies sit around a table and decide that this year the cardboard coffee cup on an orange background with a couple of leaves is the absolute best they can do, and that people are so excited about anything pumpkin spice flavoured, that they needn’t bother with any real ideas because the products sell themselves. Again, this makes complete sense from a spending point of view, but companies quite literally make money and new customers off the back of smart advertising and clever PR & marketing.
This could be a seasonal thing
It’s altogether possible that with Christmas on the horizon, companies don’t want to spend a large chunk of their budget in late September to early December, thus saving it all for a huge Christmas splurge. We all know that it isn’t just Christmas songs that begin to rear their glittery heads in early October, it’s Christmas everything. With companies fiercely competing with each other to have the best Christmas ads on social media and television, more and more money is being pumped into CGI animals with big budget, Hollywood-esque 4 minute videos being the flavour of the season.
Speaking of flavour…
The ‘PSL’, (yes, pumpkin spice latte has an official abbreviation…sigh) seems to tap into something within the millions of customers who wait 9 months for its limited appearance. I’ve heard about it being described as “a familiar old friend” and a “warmly-scented BFF”, seriously…I’m not joking, and neither are they. However, as I write this, my brain is alive with smatterings of incomplete, yet very bright ideas of cute advertising campaigns that could be implemented using these silly little descriptions of this undoubtedly successful flavour profile. Maybe it’s the romantic creative in me, but I’m almost restless at the thought of Starbucks’ marketing manager approaching me with a request for creative ideas and a blank cheque…and I don’t even like this product. Sorry, but it really irks me to see the same adverts over and over again. Maybe this year will see a different approach – I wait with pumpkin-spiced bated breath…