What really grinds my gears close

Rachel Wilde
14th December 2011
What really grinds my gears

This month’s festive grinds my gears is something that I'm only reminded of once a year, but every year without fail it gets to me. Christmas Pudding! Hot, delicious, moist, fruity goodness topped off with a bit of booze and cream. What could be better? Nothing.

So, why if it's so great, are we restricted to only enjoying Christmas Pudding at Christmas?

On Christmas Day millions of us tuck into the Great Christmas Pudding (herein GCP), even when we are ready to burst from a full days eating, we force it down knowing "eat it now, or regret it for another 365 days". Surely I am not the only one that wouldn't mind, after a dinner party in August, being offered a yummy bit of GCP?

I guess a similar thing could be said for mince pies, or even pumpkins at Halloween. Every year in early November there are loads of people serving up delicious pumpkin pie or pumpkin soup, under the pretence that they are just getting rid of the left overs from Halloween and it's the seasonal thing to do. If you look to other countries however, you can buy pumpkin no matter what season, because the fact is people actually like it and people generally buy what they like regardless of the time of year - there is demand all year round.

Which brings me to my tenuous link to agency life. Let's adopt the Christmas spirit all year round. At this time of year everyone is thinking "let's do something festive". Briefs suddenly have that fun factor, with clients wanting to be more humorous and light hearted....because that's the spirit of Christmas.  But do their audience actually change at this time of year? Do people go from being miserable, serious types to jolly, cheerful folk just because it's December? Does what they desire from a brand suddenly change because the sound of The Pogues is in the air? I don't think so.

I think we stay the same. The way to capture our attention and engage with us stays exactly the same. What we like and don't like stays the same. What a brand/product/service is offering should be consistent with the audience, not the season. Fit in with what your customers want, not what tradition tells you to.

In an attempt to reinforce my point I'm going to turn to GQ's chef of the year Mr Heston Blumenthal. Last year his GCP's flew off the shelves, there was unprecedented demand, Waitrose (the only place to buy them) couldn't keep up and in the final days before Christmas the only way to get your hands on one was eBay for over £500. So what did Mr Waitrose do to respond to this demand, to capitalise on this cash cow? Well obviously, because it wasn't Christmas anymore he took them off the shelves.  For 9 months in fact, only making them available again in September. And now EXACTLY the same thing is happening again. I just don't get it. Give us Christmas Pudding all year round!

And that my festive friends, is what really grinds my gears. Merry Christmas!