Ignored 5: Rebranding “The First Day of Spring”


Bold statement: The Gandharvas’ “The First Day of Spring” is an underrated and/or properly rated song. It’s also a massively missed opportunity to score some sweet, sweet marketing dollars.

While the London, Ontario gangsta rap outfit the Gandharvas have long since moved on (Wikipedia says the singer now lives in Arizona), it is unfortunate that somebody couldn’t pick up the cause and lobby to make their 1994 modern rock classic “The First Day of Spring” (“TFDoS”) an unofficial anthem of sorts for the actual first day of Spring in Canada.

Somebody should/could be capitalizing here.

This assignment could be a potentially powerful marketing exercise and the song itself does a fairly nice job at approximating the anticipation and excitement that comes with the changing of the seasons (albeit in a fairly hesitant and understated fashion).

Five reasons how and why this should happen

1. I do seem to recall hearing “TFDoS” on the actual first day of Spring during the All Request Nooner on Edge 102 back in the day; a logical start and possibly the outlet that could help perpetuate this concept. I’m thinking a ceremonial playing of the song during the morning show, interviews with band members (i.e. “What’s it like living in Arizona?”), listeners encouraged to submit their own version of the song (“Wha’…. A dubstep version?!?… OMG… LOLz”) and so on and so forth.

2. There is a play for The Weather Network here, right? I’m thinking a one-day complementary download of the track on their website. I’m sure their digital team has long struggled with ways to make their forecasts more iTunes-esque. :/

3. “Magical Mystery Tour” was co-opted by the original UK rave kids in the late 1980s as dance floor material. Could we do the same for “TFDoS”? It would be nice if club kids could hear open strains “My friend…” and get all squirrelly-like. If needed, bring in A-Trak or somebody to add some bonus beats because in fairness, the song would be near impossible to dance to. Ideally, we should get to a point where the song could be played once a year and cause people to wave glow sticks and in general, have a great time.

4. Another concept with vague allusions to weather. Could we rebrand Groundhog Day via “TFDoS”? Admittedly, it’s a tired concept and this strategic approach could make Groundhog Day become “cool” again amongst kids of the 1990s and other middle-aged people. The steps…
– Find a groundhog (or gopher) and name it something “cool” that would appeal to this demo. I’m thinking “X-treme Groundhawg” or “#groundhog”.
– Set up a fake hole for February 2. On one side, you have a Gandharvas cover band and an audience of edgy alternative types from 1994 ready to mosh (really stereotypical looks: flannel, facial piercings, severe haircuts, etc). On the other side, you get a Sarah Vaughan lookalike (because let’s face it: they’re a dime, a dozen) and get some old people seated bistro-style at tables. Classy but understated because again, this is outdoors in Canada in the dead of winter.
– #groundhog emerges from its hole and depending on whether it sees its shadow, the fake Gardharvas will play “TFDoS” or the fake Sarah Vaughan will croon “Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year”.
– A leading mobility provider could sponsor and hand out pamphlets at the event.

5. If nothing else, repeat plays of “TFDoS” would serve as CRTC fodder to meet CanCon quotas.

Three reasons why this won’t happen

1. The song wasn’t that popular. I’m thinking it’s one of those songs that is completely ubiquitous and beloved to a segment of people and completely unknown to everybody else. It does have 406 Likes on YouTube though. So there’s that…

2. The video is vaguely disturbing. The guy in the chair with the modified halo brace and skin hooks; not sure what his deal is but sensing he might scare away potential partners. This clip seems like somebody snuck in the backdoor of the video shoot for Nine Inch Nails’ “Happiness in Slavery”, covertly shot a bunch of footage on the down low and then spliced it with some footage of the Gardharvas playing. Somewhat related, why did more than half of 1990s video sets appear as if they’d been on fire the day before? Guess this was the look.

3. The song is maybe a bit too low key. This is great for contemplation but not ideal for marketing purposes. Thematically off but tempo-wise a better fit would be the Gandharvas’ underrated 1997 single “Downtime”. Stylistically, this song is best described as a reworking of the Pixies’ “Gigantic” with Marcellus Hall singing the verses and Perry Farrell singing the chorus.


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