Published on February 12th, 2011 | by Alvin


Brand New Year !!

As brands go, very few can quite match the universal meaning, richness and significance of January 1, with all itsattendant brands of ‘New Year’s Eve’, ‘New Year’s Day’, the ‘making of resolutions’, the ‘keeping of resolutions’, and the ‘breaking’ of those resolutions .

Out in Australia, what with it being in the Southern Hemisphere and ‘down under’ and all that, this time of the year is summer, so the revelers aren’t bundled in woolens. It may even be a bit like Goa. But New Year is New Year, and there’s that certain something to ‘ringing out the old’ and ‘ringing in the new’ that is the same, anywhere on earth, even if you are in New York and the windows are white with snow.

The phenomenon of the New Year taps on one hand into mankind’s deepest desires to get ‘another chance’, to ‘begin again’, and to ‘reinvent’ oneself. Something in us finds that idea of ‘another crack at life’ compelling and energising. We are in so many ways fatigued with the everyday ennui of living, the ceaseless process of days filled with the same drudgery, the senseless capitulation to meaningless things, and the constant background static in our sense of our life.

At the core of the everyday life, there is the glimmer of a hope that something will happen, that will tear down these prison walls, the walls so obviously made of paper and so bewilderingly strong as steel, something that will right the wrongs, something that will at least revive if not restore the meanings we seek, something that will bring back to our lives the sparkle and verve that we have always suspected should be there and is eluding us. There’s a little more to the crazed countdown we all do with so much gusto from 11:59:50 to the stroke of midnight on Dec 31 …. the bellowed 10 … 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… we all indulge in … somewhere, we are glad to be in one piece as a significant period of time closes, and we are elated to be in one piece as another promising period of time opens its gates to us.

It’s important to us, this moment; just try and dissuade the next person from the hoopla that descends on us. Try and tell them that “It’s just another night, you know, calm down.” At the very least, you’ll be looked at with dismay. Because it’s not just another night, you know.

But, thinking brand, this one night is a night so rich with meaning. And yes, there is an important quality to those meanings: all the meanings are all gladly agreed on, and there isn’t a soul who would deny themselves or anyone else the fresh crack at life that the New Year promises. It’s one of those wonderful, mesmeric, overwhelming occasions that all mankind agrees to agree on something.

And yet, just in observation, isn’t there something amiss in the all too common fact that on the one day we can bid goodbye to a closing year, instead of indulging in a few moments of gratitude, in a few moments of introspection, we find more comfort, indeed, meaning, in bringing in the new year at a pub or a disco, ‘partying’, definitely inebriated, and well on our way to a state of disorientation. The quieting of the conscience, the taking of stock, the purposing to address oneself with a new commitment or energy is left to the priests who are preaching to the faithful. It’s even stranger that if on the evening of January 1, if we are aching from every joint, nursing a hangover, and looking for all the world like a truck ran over us, we congratulate ourselves on having brought the new year in ‘well’.

Then again, I’ve always been struck by the fact that almost no brand employs the New Year to add a fresh level of meaning to itself. The only brands that rouse themselves are the usual restaurants, hotels and shows. Why on earth don’t more brands make use of the ‘New Year’ and the extraordinary opportunity it brings with such unfailing regularity? So much of the advertising and marketing is all geared to just plain shopping.

It would be fascinating to see at least one brand employ the New Year in a launch that would redefine its place in the marketplace. It would be a humdinger of a challenge to pull it off against the static of the celebrations or, indeed, to use the entire fanfare to its advantage. Wouldn’t it be something if a brand unveiled a brand new face at 00:00:01 on January 1?

(The author of this article is Alvin Saldanha, National Creative Director at Idea Domain wrote this  for Agencyfaqs)

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