Why New Year needs a rebrand

Andrew Mulholland
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Last drink for a while? (Source: Getty)
As the headache from the night before started to kick in, I had the opportunity to reflect on what a New Year really meant (as opposed to just felt like).
I’m sure countless books have been written on the existential significance of turning a new page, yet I couldn’t help but wonder, from a less lofty perspective, what it all meant.
Take each of our businesses, for example. Presumably we all have a financial year. Irrespective of how long-term our view is, the end of a year and dawning of a another is the day of reckoning for most of us.
This goes just as much for employers as employees, as the recruitment market will bear testimony to, with the inevitable uplift in people looking for greener pastures in January.
And in our personal lives too, this would appear to be the case. En masse, we set resolutions for the coming year, in the hope of becoming better people; and even though the first day back to work is now being branded as “Divorce Day”, as couples look for greener pastures in their personal lives. Still - I like to think that the overriding spirit is one of optimism…
So if the power of the New Year is so compelling, how come so few brands take so little advantage of it, beyond flogging us last year’s stock at discount prices? Think about it for a minute: marketers are happy to “own” other occasions - Christmas, Valentines, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day. Even the 11 o’clock break.
But as I write this, I struggle to recall one brand that has been able to directly harness the positive power of the New Year, beyond those flogging fireworks and frozen nibbles for the event itself. And surely an occasion that has such impact both physically and emotionally deserves more attention?
Perhaps the challenge is in the timing of the day itself. I don’t know about you, but as the countdown to the new year starts, I’m awaiting the moment I can hit the hay and, without fear of ridicule, turn down the next drink.
Perhaps the Chinese have it right, and we should celebrate the event later on, when our wallets and gullets are ready to take on more, and when we’re less blinded by the Christmas glow, driving us to make resolutions most of us will break within the first week, consigning us to a guilt-ridden winter with no hope of reprieve until the spring.
Either way, from a branding perspective at least, I’m ready for a New Year’s revolution in the way the marketing world approaches this date...

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