Peeps!

by

When I heard on Marketplace last night that everybody’s favorite marshmallow treat, Peeps, were going to be available year round I had two reactions:

The Village Peeps!  Photo courtesy of cdwilliams1

1) I thought they were already.
2) This may not end well.

The original marshmallow Peeps, shaped like little yellow chicks, are usually available around Easter.  Over time, the line has expanded to little bunnies, hearts for Valentine’s Day, trees for Christmas, and so on.

Year-round Peeps is emblematic of a greater trend in retail that I call “The Celebration Never Ends!”  At stores and malls you start the year with the post-Holiday afterglow, moving swiftly into Valentine’s day, then St. Patrick’s Day, then on to Easter, then Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, random summer fun theme in August, Labor Day, Back to School, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa, and back to the start.  I think it’s exhausting yet entertaining.  I get a kick out of seeing what’s being celebrated in the seasonal greeting card section at Target.  It’s always something, but rarely something I’d buy a card for.

But, I digress.  Is this year-round strategy a good move for Peeps?  If you look at another Easter favorite, the Cadbury Crème Egg, maybe not.  Cadbury tried the year-round approach in the 80’s and it failed.  Sales fell and they went back to the January 1 through Easter strategy, instead focusing on a greater variety of eggs in that season.  People respond to scarcity, and if you take that away then the Peeps are just fancy marshmallows.

The reason why I don’t think this is going to be a disaster is that you can make marshmallows of any shape, color and flavor you want and as long as you keep those varieties limited to certain times of the year people will find their favorites and look forward to them each year.  The vanilla flavored heart Peeps of Valentine’s day, the lemonade flavored Peeps of Independence Day, and the masked Peeps of Mardi Gras that reportedly taste like booze and regret will all be special to someone.  As long as those folks keep on getting their Peep on, our colorful little friends will be here to stay.

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