Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Persuasion, Sensation-Perception, Sensory-Perceptual Development.

Description: It used to be that you could tell that Halloween was approaching because boxes of small candy bars would start appearing in n grocery stores (in late August). While this is still true, the other indicator of the pending arrival of Halloween is are the grand announcements of the return of pumpkin spiced everything, but especially coffee and muffins. The trend is so pronounced and persistent year over year it cannot simply be driven by seasonal marketing but must also be supported by significant consumer traction. So, the question is, what is the deal with people’s regular huge positive (buying) reactions to pumpkin spice? Are we wired for it? What else might it involve? Once you have a thought or two in mind have a read through the article linked below to see what research has to say on this.

Source: Why are we addicted to pumpkin spice? Perception Researchers stress the power of fall scents, Wyatte Grantham-Philips, USA Today.

Date: September 22, 2021

Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

Article Link: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2021/09/22/pumpkin-spice-addiction-science-behind-fall-flavor-obsession/5785384001/

So, were you surprised that there is no pumpkin in the spices that make up pumpkin spice smell and taste? The associative connections between taste and smell are very very powerful. The associations connected with pumpkin spice are fall related, comfort related and socially grounded (e.g., Thanksgiving). The habits that are wrapped up in the liking of pumpkin spice are much deeper that Halloween.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. If you like pumpkin spice, what is it about it that you like?
  2. What sorts of things contribute to the HUGE sales of pumpkin spice stuff?
  3. What other sorts of things might benefit from a marketing campaign like that used for pumpkin spice?

References (Read Further):

The Science Behind the Appeal of Pumpkin Spice Link

Legg, S. (2004). Memory and nostalgia. Cultural geographies, 11(1), 99-107. Link

Barrett, F. S., Grimm, K. J., Robins, R. W., Wildschut, T., Sedikides, C., & Janata, P. (2010). Music-evoked nostalgia: affect, memory, and personality. Emotion, 10(3), 390. Link

Waskul, D. D., Vannini, P., & Wilson, J. (2009). The aroma of recollection: Olfaction, nostalgia, and the shaping of the sensuous self. The Senses and Society, 4(1), 5-22. Link

Holbrook, M. B., & Schindler, R. M. (2003). Nostalgic bonding: Exploring the role of nostalgia in the consumption experience. Journal of Consumer Behaviour: An International Research Review, 3(2), 107-127. Link