13 November, 2007

Fall is the New Spring

You know what I love? I love fall. Who’s with me here? I bet a lot of hands just went up across cyber space. Or at least a lot of my Gen X/Y compatriots grunted some sort of less than enthusiastic, but positive response. So, I’m thinking about it, and I’m like, “Why do I like fall?” There are many reasons, but I think in some sense the 17.5 years I spent in school has reset my psyche to where I now associate cooler temperatures and crystal clear skies with a nervous excitement about the season to come.

As a kid growing up, I was rife with scattered anxiety and enthusiasm for the school year to come. Then as I got older it only got more intense. At that point, I’m looking at meeting new girls and going away to college-- a whole new level of, well, newness. This inane, yet somehow fixating line of thought led me to an epiphany and a conclusion that I’d never thought of before- fall is the new spring.

It’s true! (For me and all the members of my cult, anyway) In generations past, we were an agricultural society planning our months, and even our measure of time, with one foot on the tractor and the other in a cotton gin (thanks to Eli Whitney). As an aside, I actually don’t know what the heck a cotton gin is, or if you can even put your foot in it, but for some reason, I’ll always remember that Eli Whitney invented it. [Editor’s note: No he didn’t. Catherine Littlefield Greene came up with the idea, but women weren’t allowed to receive patents in the late 1700’s. Way to perpetuate the sexist agenda, Ken.]

Anyway, I digress. [Editor’s note: Yes, you do.] I have never planted an ear of corn. I don’t work the field and look forward to harvest dances with Betty Lou (Who?). I’ve never even planted a flower outside of 3rd grade science class. So I, like many of my generation and probably the generation before, have barely any concept of spring as a time of re-birth and newness. But come the chilly months of September and October, we could always look forward to new friends, new adventures and new challenges.

So, what does all this have to do with advertising? Well, I’m not really sure, but as “experts” on demographics, market trends, and making meaningful connections with an audience, it’s important to identify changes that can take place on a generational level.
If they question time-aged traditions, then so be it because sometimes traditions change without an act of Congress or decree from the Pope. Sometimes a culture evolves without really knowing it. It just happens day after day, season after season. And sometimes, even the seasons themselves change.
Now, I’m left with another inane question-- if fall is the new spring, what does that make the old spring? I believe it has something to do with baseball, but I’ll have to think on it for a while.

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