Pumpkin Spice: Is the Seasonal Hype Just As Nice?

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With fall officially here, our minds can now turn themselves to what this season is truly about.

NFL and college football games played on and around Thanksgiving, cool brisk date nights in dim hipster coffee houses, turtlenecks and covering up are things that go with fall as much as seeing the leaves change color and hit the cool earth below.

Another thing that we have come to associate fall with is the ever-popular cultural phenomenon of pumpkin spice.

In what has become an annual rite of fall, as soon as Labor Day is over and the proverbial calendar turns to fall the buildup and hype of pumpkin spice can be seen full bore on social media, in your neighborhood Walmart food aisles and over-marketed and sold at your favorite Starbucks.

And much like last season, the ‘pumpkin spice’ seasonal hype is once again over the top and to the point that Cinderella herself will be feeling #FOMO for missing her pumpkin carriage of fairy tale lore.

Pumpkin spice. It’s everywhere.

It’s like the hip, trendy; non-stop hashtag love child of those annoying and ever-so-cultured hipsters all over social media who feel the need to be in the know in posting their love and affection of #PSL.

It’s even worse in grocery stores.

Here in Parma, I went to my local Giant Eagle not far from my suburban Cleveland home to try and find my share of pumpkin-hued nectar from the faux-trend gods for some research on this blog.

And not too surprisingly, I found not one—but two to three—of Starbuck’s newest Pumpkin Spice Iced Frappuccino drinks—at $2.99 each mind you! —tucked away underneath and hidden behind the other Frappuccinos!

I mean, I get it. Someone wanted to protect that PSL stash ever so fiercely, by trying to hide it from would-be customers, but THAT is a little bit extreme.

And this coming fall, it will only get WORSE.

Get ready for pumpkin spice-flavored chips, ales, vodka, Pop-Tarts, tea, and Pringles, per The article would go on to state that the pumpkin craze shows no sign of slowing down,

“This year is on track to be one of the most active years for seasonal pumpkin menuing” and could top the 2011 record, when more than 60 pumpkin-related dishes appeared on the menus of America’s top 250 chain restaurants.”

Based on the information above, kudos to those master Seattle-based social media and marketing evil geniuses from Starbucks for basically influencing our food consumption and hijacking our taste buds this season.

If Starbucks was a genie, then their Pumpkin Spice Latte and 13.7-ounce bottled Frappuccino with 46 grams of sugar is their wish granted upon you without your command.

According to an Adweek article titled, “Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes Are Killing It on Instagram” written by Lauren Johnson, Starbucks has all but mastered and conquered the realm of social media;

“Starbucks has become a bit of a case-study example for marketers when it comes to creating social buzz for its products, and in no season is that more evident than fall when it sells the popular pumpkin spice latte drinks.”

Johnson’s article would go on to state how popular Starbucks’ uber-drink is on the go-to must-have social network Instagram.

“On Instagram, there have been more than 731,000 posts tagged with #pumpkin related to the drink and another 468,000 are labeled with #PSL. Moreover, Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes receive 493 percent more likes per photo than shots tagged with #Starbucks.”

With fall now here, get used to seeing, hearing, smelling and drinking all the pumpkin you can handle because—pardon the pun—it is the de facto flavor of the season.

Go get yours this season!

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]