Today is the third Monday in January, which, as some of you may know, also goes by the name “Blue Monday”. This specific day supposedly marks the lull after Christmas and New Year. The day when realisation sets in that you can’t lie in every day, watch rubbish films and eat as much chocolate as you like. Mondays are a drag, but the third Monday in January is said to be the biggest drag of them all, as it is “The Most Depressing Day of The Year”.
Tell Me Why I Don't Like Mondays
It is, of course, nonsense. This isn't just a cynical view; it actually is an invented concept. Sky Travel cleverly put together the idea that this was the most depressing day of the year back in 2005 as a way of selling more holidays (the idea being, that if you feel unhappy being back at work, you’re more likely to want to book a holiday). The Guardian launched a particularly scathing attack on Blue Monday earlier today. Reinforced by a formula devised by a mental health charity (which claimed to provide the science behind Blue Monday), the idea has been perpetuated by businesses, media outlets, and ourselves.
Here’s the formula which has identified the third Monday of the year as the most depressing:
T=time since Christmas
Q=time since failing our new year’s resolutions
M=low motivational levels
Na=the feeling of a need to take action
This has been discredited as pseudoscience. There aren't even any units for how depression is measured! Adding weather to debt and dividing by motivational levels? Either way, this hasn't stopped businesses using this as a marketing opportunity to sell treats, luxuries or “New Year, New Me” type products or experiences.
Interestingly, the happiest day of the year has also been calculated as part of a PR campaign from Walls Ice Cream. Unsurprisingly, this was found to be in June. A month in summer when people tend to eat more ice cream!
Monday, Tuesday, Happy Days
This method of boosting sales is nothing new. Black Friday is perhaps the biggest example of increasing customer spending. Where Blue Monday is a little more subtle in its consumer persuasion, Black Friday is unashamedly forceful in the way it prompts us to shell out extra cash. Visit the Days of The Year website, and browse through the upcoming “days”. In the next week alone we will be celebrating “Popcorn Day”, “Cheese Day”, “Camcorder Day” and “Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day”. Yes, seriously. While not everyone is going to go out and buy a block of cheese just because it’s “Cheese Day” or book a holiday just because it’s Blue Monday, it is an opportunity for marketers to take a unique angle in selling.
Remember, not everything you read is 100% kosher, and these weird and wonderful days of the year that keep cropping up are more often than not just tools to push out an (often disguised) message.