“Retailers…have a void from a storytelling standpoint from back-to-school in early August until Halloween.”
This is a quote in The New York Times by Greg Portell. And something you probably have noticed yourself. As the article points out, Pumpkin Spice Cheerios have been in stores since mid-August. Krispy Kreme began offering pumpkin spice lattes and doughnuts lat week. And Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte — the best-known pumpkin spice product in the market — arrived last Friday.
Two additional points in the article: “Consumers associate pumpkins with fall and are most likely to seek out products when cued to the season.” And, “By setting start and stop dates retailers can foster an aura of scarcity.”
Both points make sense, though this final quote provides the ever-popular “on the other hand”: “ Move it forward too much, and you risk the same association people have with Christmas creep — that it’s a greedy ploy to take advantage of the consumer.”
So it’s not really only about pumpkins. Or Halloween or Christmas. It’s a question of when you start associating your product with a holiday. Too soon and you appear greedy — too late and you get lost among all the other promotions.
My take is slightly different. I think that for the most part, the timing isn’t the most important factor. What truly matters is…and you know what’s coming…how good is your idea? A good idea transcends seasonality, timing, and your competition’s efforts.
And I don’t care if you think outside the box, next to the box, inside the box, or on top of the box. Just make certain your idea is relevant, and shocking. And the heck with the calendar.
Got the idea?