Three more pumpkin-spicy bits

On the 23rd, “The pumpkin spice cartoon meme”, with a variety of developments of pumpkin spice ‘spice for pumpkin (pie)’ to concrete uses for the flavor of such spice and the scent of such spice and then to figurative uses ‘special, extraordinary’ and from there ‘top-grade’. Now, some further developments:

The possibility that Pumpkin Spice might be a Spice Girl (Michael Palmer asks on Facebook, “Which of the Spice Girls is Pumpkin Spice?”).

More generally, the rule of thumb: if spice, then pumpkin spice, as in this playful e-card:

(#1) The verb spice up > pumpkin spice up

And, as also illustrated in #1, the metonymical extension of pumpkin spice to ‘autumnal’ (thanks to the association of the spice with the fall).

From NOAD2, re #1:

verb spice: [with object] (often as adjective spiced) flavor with spice: turbot with a spiced sauce; add an interesting or piquant quality to; make more exciting: she was probably adding details to spice up the story.

These days, most uses of pumpkin spice are playful. Some are entirely jokes; I give you the pumpkin spice condom, tampon, and laxative suppository; and the pumpkin spice buckshot and handgun.



(#4) Seasonal Dulcolax (#5)

(#6) The seasonal Glock

Two are explicitly seasonal — special issues for the autumn. All presumably are supposed to convey high quality, and the first three maybe a spicy scent.

Other advertising uses of pumpkin spice are playful, but represent actual offers — in particular, Mighty Auto’s fall specials, which I’ll get in a moment. First, some music.

Spice Girls. From Wikipedia:

(#7) The Spice Girls in a 2008 reunion concert

The Spice Girls were an English pop girl group formed in 1994. The group originally consisted of Melanie Brown (“Scary Spice”), Melanie Chisholm (“Sporty Spice”), Emma Bunton (“Baby Spice”), Geri Halliwell (“Ginger Spice”), and Victoria Beckham, née Adams (“Posh Spice”).

The naming pattern led to all manner of nominal goofing, strikingly in this xkcd cartoon (#1554):


… which was then played with further in a 7/22/15 Language Log posting “Spice lists” by Mark Liberman.

Fall comes to Mighty Auto. This posting was set off by Chris Ambidge’s posting this image on Facebook:


At first I thought this was just image tampering, but no, it’s a thing. The image above is, I think, from a Mighty Auto outlet in the Dallas/FortWorth Metroplex — as reported on in a web story of 9/22 by Rebekah Black, on the sites of CBS Radio’s FM stations KVIL 103.7 and KLUV 98.7 in that area. From Black’s story:

It looks like everyone is cashing in on the pumpkin spice craze. Even brake pads!

Wait, what???

A company called Mighty Auto has gone viral after offering “pumpkin spice” brake pads. And apparently, this isn’t the first year the auto company has offered up these deliciously flavored car parts. What’s next? Pumpkin spice tires???

What exactly can you expect from pumpkin spice brake pads? How do you know they’re really pumpkin spice? Do you get to smell them before they’re installed on your vehicle? When you slam on the brakes, do the cars behind you get a whiff of pumpkin spice?

The company’s intention is to convey ‘autumn special offer’ and maybe also ‘top of the line’, but not, I suspect, the spicy scent of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.

The Mighty Auto Parts company, headquartered in Norcross GA, has over a hundred local distributors nationwide. Most of them seem to participate in fall pumpkin spice advertising campaigns; Steve Anderson reported on Facebook that the Asheville NC store offers pumpkin spice oil changes every fall.

2 Responses to “Three more pumpkin-spicy bits”

  1. Stephen R. Anderson Says:

    I posted a picture on the FB thread — here it’s just a local garage, I think, not a national chain.

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