Rejected Pumpkin Spice Products

Fall used to be a simple time.  Back to school.  Football season.  Halloween and Thanksgiving.

But in recent years, fall has been replaced.  The change of season marking the end of summer is can be summed up in two words:

Pumpkin Spice.

The return of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is a highly anticipated event and generates a cult-like following.  Eager to cash in, food and drink makers are all rushing to put out a pumpkin spice version of their product.  So far, I’ve seen Oreos, M&M’s, bagels, non-dairy creamer, and dozens of other products aimed at pumpkin spice fanatics.

How brand managers think in autumn.

Unfortunately, not all pumpkin spice products are home runs.  Some are horrible failures.  For example:

  • Pumpkin Spice Brussels Sprouts
  • Starkist Pumpkin Spice tuna
  • Totino’s Pumpkin Spice Party Pizza
  • Pumpkin Spice McRib
  • Chlorox Pumpkin Spice Bleach
  • Pumpkin Spice Coke
  • Pumpkin Spice Rice
  • Phillip’s 66 Pumpkin Spice Ethanol
  • Ragu Pumpkin Spice Spaghetti Sauce
  • Pumpkin Spice limes
  • Hormel Pumpkin Spice Bacon
  • Massengail Pumpkin Spice Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Spicy Pumpkin buffalo wings
  • Pumpkin Spice Noodles
  • Pumpkin Spice Poodles
  • Pumpkin Spice Cole Slaw
  • Pumpkin Spice iPhone 6 (wait, that one would probably do really well)
  • Pumpkin Spice rat poison
  • Pumpkin Spice sauerkraut
  • Camel pumpkin spice cigarettes
  • Winchester pumpkin spice 12 gauge shotgun cartridges (perfect for turkey hunting!)
  • Charmin pumpkin spice toilet paper

An Autumnal Yawn

An Autumnal Yawn

It has been
a very long day.
Stretching over the course of minutes
and months.

Mother Earth awoke early
and put on her bright spring colors.
Life sprang from every corner.
Beautiful, new, and full of potential.

She basked in a warm, and fruitful summer.
The glory of endless day and sunshine
nourishing her creations and growing them strong.
But now is the time to reap her bounty.

She slips into her autumnal gown
colored in warm hues of red, orange, and gold.
The colors of sunset;
of the end of the day.
She yawns
and knows the long night will soon be here.

Mother Earth walks to her garden
Green grass browning at her feet
Daylight is growing short.
She must harvest before the cold winter sets in.

Her work complete, Mother Earth heads home
She will celebrate the day
with a feast of Thanksgiving
And then settle in
for the long, cold sleep.

She dreams of a new day.
Where she can put on her
bright spring colors
and face the warm sun once more.

Spring vs. Fall

Today is the first day of Fall (or Autumn, if you’re a fancy-pants).  Each year, I’m blown away by how many people I hear saying “Fall is my favorite season of the year,” because I just don’t see it.  Sure, there are some nice parts to fall (college football, pretty leaves, Thanksgiving dinner) but in my opinion it has can’t hold a jack-o-lantern’s candle to Spring. 

So to prove my point, convince the doubters, and kill 1,000 words, I propose a 12 round title fight between the two seasons.  Call it the Seasonal Showdown:  Spring vs. Fall, winner take all.

Round I:  Equinox
Spring:  Vernal
Fall:  Autumnal
Verdict:  Fall.  Even though Autumnal is not the greatest word in the English language, Vernal makes me think of Jim Varney.

Round II:  Length of days
Spring:  Days get progressively longer
Fall:  Days get progressively shorter
Verdict:  Spring.  Who gets excited when it’s dark at 6 pm?

Round III:  Daylight Savings adjustments
Spring:  Spring forward (“lose” an hour)
Fall:  Fall back (“gain” an hour)
Verdict:  Fall.  Even though the kids are still up too early, it’s nice to think you’ll have an extra hour of sleep.

Round IV:  Major Holidays
Spring:  Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day
Fall:  Halloween, Thanksgiving
Verdict:  This is a close one.  Easter combines the two key strengths of Halloween (obscene amounts of candy) and Thanksgiving (massively large meal with random relatives) in one day.  Memorial Day is a much-needed three-day weekend, and everybody loves Mom.  Spring takes the round.

Round V:  Sports on TV
Spring:  March Madness, Major League Baseball starts, The Masters (if you’re into that), I think the NBA and NHL are typically going.
Fall:  College Football, NFL Football, Major League Baseball playoffs, I think the NBA and NHL are typically going.
Verdict:  Fall.  During the dead of winter, the thought of Opening Day is one of a few things to give me hope, but nothing beats a college football Saturday on a crisp fall day.  Personally, I think football is one of the biggest reasons people favor fall over spring.

Round VI:  Leaves
Spring:  Barren branches spring to life with buds, blooms, and bursts of color.  Minimal raking.
Fall:  Those green leaves that provided shade all summer are dying, but they sure look pretty doing it.  Obscene amounts of raking.
Verdict:  Spring.  People have this New England ideal of the brightly colored trees popping red, orange, and yellow, but most of the leaves around here are shades of brown and tan.  For my money, the blooming and flowering trees of spring are every bit as pretty as your maple in October.

Round VII:  Plants and other vegetation
Spring:  Little green nubs poke themselves out of the semi-frozen ground and become tulips, daffodils, and other beautiful spring plants.  Your lawn goes from a disgusting brownish-yellow color to a gorgeous green.
Fall:  Aside from the random mum (watch out for that early frost!), everything you worked so hard to plant and tend all spring and summer is dying.  The lawn is going dormant, which after a summer of mowing twice a week isn’t exactly a bad thing.
Verdict:  Spring.  This is an easy one. 

Round VIII:  Temperature
Spring:  Gradually getting warmer.  Get the shorts and t-shirts ready and start shopping for a new pair of sandals.
Fall:  Gradually getting colder.  Dig out the jeans and sweatshirts and start shopping for a new pair of gloves.
Verdict:  Spring.  A 50 degree day feels much warmer in March than it does in October.

Round IX:  Snow
Spring:  It may snow, but it won’t last too long.
Fall:  It may snow, and it could last all winter long.
Verdict:  Unless you own a ski resort or snow cleaning business, Spring is the clear winner here.

Round X:  What’s on TV
Spring:  Season (and series) finales.  Wrapping up story lines, cliffhanger endings, and saying goodbye to beloved characters and shows.
Fall:  Season (and series) debuts.  That exciting cliffhanger is resolved in 45 seconds, then you spend the rest of the episode trying to figure out who these new people are.  Go ahead and get invested in that TV series that may be cancelled by Thanksgiving.
Verdict:  Spring.  Finales are some of the most watched shows.  Debuts – especially pilots – are typically pretty forgettable.

Round XI:  Alternate Definition
Spring:  “to rise, leap, move, or act suddenly and swiftly, as by a sudden dart or thrust forward or outward, or being suddenly released from a coiled or constrained position” (dictionary.com)
Fall:  “to become less or lower; become of a lower level, degree, amount, quality, value, number, etc.; decline:” (dictionary.com)
Verdict:  Unless you are a fan of declining into a lower level of being, Spring it is.

Round XII:  Seasonal Symbolism
Spring:  Birth, growth, life
Fall:  Death, decline, dying
Verdict:  Spring.  Only a mortician could love death that much.

 Final Decision:  Spring scores the TKO by a 9-3 tally.  Even college football could not overcome that deficit.

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