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Introducing the Clarity Pumpkin Spice Index

We all know about Christmas creep – and, in fact, it’s probably our colleagues in marketing who are behind it – but this year we had another “season” start prematurely: Pumpkin Spice Season (PSS).

It’s mostly Starbuck’s “fault” that we have PSS to begin with. Still, they’re certainly not the only brand pushing the taste (and smell) of that (in)famous blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.

This year, I decided to take a look at the media coverage of all things pumpkin spice (PS) to see what trends I can schuss out. I admit, the endeavor is a bit like a pumpkin spice Oreo: not really necessary, but kinda good in its own way.

Our first big burning question is, when does PSS start?

The answer: late July.


With monitoring beginning Memorial Day, we see that a couple of PS-related articles pop up here and there, but the first spike is really July 22, when three brands announced product launches: Captain Morgan (Jack-O-Blast Pumpkin Spice Rum), Kit Kat (Pumpkin Pie flavor) and Yankee Candle (Fall Collection). The peak is still sub 50 hits per day, though.

Things pick up a bit in early August, then we see a giant spike when Starbucks announces the launch date for its famous Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL). Starbucks essentially owns the conversation until August 26, when they blew the minds of PSL lovers everywhere by launching a cold brew version. Also on the 26th, we see Spam get into the game, hitting their peak coverage on August 28th.


By the time we hit September 1, most of our product launches are done, however, along with some non-Starbucks coffee brands, Krispy Kreme comes with its seasonal selections on September 2, then the never-to-be-underestimated Poo-Pourri comes in on September 5. For those not already in a sugar coma, Twinkies come to the rescue on September 15.

In the next update to the Pumpkin Spice Index, we’ll look at some specifics on how the media are covering which products, and how almost every article about every product mentions Starbucks somewhere.


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