Autumn means layering your sweaters, drinking cider, and harvesting stuff, but mostly it means pumpkin spice lattes. Let’s talk about pumpkin spice lattes. Why are we so obsessed with them? Who started this? And has it gone too far? (There is such a thing as pumpkin spice dog treats, so I’d say it’s possible.)
Here’s the deal with pumpkins: there’s an Irish folktale about a guy named Jack who was cursed to wander the Earth in purgatory, so he stuck some everlasting hellfire into a carved-out turnip to light his way. You know, like you do. He was known as Jack of the Lantern, or Jack O’Lantern. The Irish believed this practice would ward off the devil. Irish immigrants brought the whole shindig to America (which is where the pumpkins were), and here we are 300 years later, appropriating their spiritual lanterns into an unholy hybrid of pumpkin spice Pringles. Yes, pumpkin spice Pringles are something that’s happening. And we’re letting it happen. Check out these stats:
Now, the lattes came before the Pringles. But how, and why? I’ve got two words for you: experiential marketing. I’m serious. We’re not buying the latte, per se; we’re buying the experience that the latte represents. The latte embodies all things warm and cozy on a crisp fall day. The latte is candy corn and fallen leaves and comfy sweaters. The latte is autumn in a nutshell. Starbucks found a way to bottle autumn.
This whole pumpkin spice conspiracy just goes to show the power of experiential, and if that doesn’t blow your woolly, pumpkin-patterned socks off, I don’t know what will.