You Had Me at Pumpkin Spice


I love Fall. It’s my jam. Apples, gourds, orange, brown, I live to decorate around it. I leave summer to the people with no sweat glands. Give me crisp, cool air; my favorite cardigan; the crunch of leaves under foot, and dare I say it… apple cider. Did you think I was going to say Pumpkin Spice Latte? I know, I know, I’m a cider guy, sorry not sorry. Though you can’t swing a dried corn stalk without hitting something pumpkin spice these days. I totally get it. The warm, comforting, aromatic experience of PUMPKIN SPICE. The popularity of which can most likely be attributed to Starbucks and the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte). What simply started out as a seasonal espresso-based beverage has turned into a full-fledged cultural and marketing phenomenon.

Since the PSL’s introduction in 2003, the pumpkin spice craze has exploded into every conceivable market. It’s not just a trip to Starbucks where its presence is made known anymore. Walk down any aisle in the grocery store and there is something pumpkin spice. Food, beverage, household cleaning, health & beauty, pet supplies; it’s everywhere. It’s even made its way into fashion with clothing and hair color. It’s no longer just a flavor, it’s a lifestyle.

I always wonder what makes something successful from a marketing standpoint. What makes something take flight and have a life of its own? It’s a simple and complex answer all at the same time. At its core, I think a good product combined with good marketing can tap into our emotions. Evoking memories; recalling our senses and creating a personal connection. It becomes more than just a thing; it becomes an experience. People like to relive warm and fuzzy experiences, and for a lot of people pumpkin spice takes them there. So why not have some of that while sipping a latte, or wiping down your kitchen counters, or putting on your mascara. Yes, there is pumpkin spice makeup. Who knew?

The pumpkin spice craze has been going strong now for 16 years and shows no signs of slowing down. That’s pretty impressive in our world of quick-changing trends. You’d think at some point there would be too much of a good thing. Yet, it seems every year there are new pumpkin spice products to enjoy and also chuckle at. Pumpkin Spice SPAM anyone? Just goes to show there is a customer for everything. I’ve even seen a joke product of Pumpkin Spice Clorox. Which I actually thought was a pretty good idea. Who wouldn’t want to dry off with a fluffy white towel that smelled of pumpkin spice? See what I mean? A customer for everything.

Who knows? Someday we may see the end of it, but for now let’s just enjoy the spicy, aromatic splendor of pumpkin spice. Happy Fall, everyone.