January 23, 2012 marks the Chinese New Year which this year is symbolized by the Dragon. According to infoplease.com, “Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in dragon years are innovative, brave, and passionate.” I happen to be a Dog.Pause for the jokes…ok, we all can’t be Dragon’s but this year we can act like one. I believe that the dragon is the patron Chinese animal of all great marketers as the charactersitics are spot on. To be even more precise, I found a break down of the KIND of Dragon’s born during the Years of the Dragon. 2012 is the year of the Water Dragon as was 1952.
Water has a calming effect on the Dragon’s fearless temperament. Water allows the Dragon to re-direct its enthusiasm, and makes him more perceptive of others. These Dragons are better equipped to take a step back to re-evaluate a situation because they understand the art of patience and do not desire the spotlight like other Dragons. Therefore, they make smart decisions and are able to see eye-to-eye with other people. However, their actions can go wrong if they do not research or if they do not finish one project before starting another.
Interesting indeed. So let’s take a look at some of the best innovations from 1952.
In 1952, Edward Teller and his team build the hydrogen bomb. Perhaps not the most peaceful invention but one who’s science led to greater things. Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver were issuers of the first patent for the bar code. I think all marketers can agree that this changed the face of retail. Very little has changed with the respect to the bar code until very recently with the advent of QR Codes and the like.
Lest we be to serious, I think we can all agree that to get through our day, most of us indulge in a diet soft drink or two or three or four. Well, the year of the Water Dragon ushered in the first sale of the diet soft drink which was dubbed the “No-Cal Beverage”. It was a gingerale that was sold by Kirsch. 2011 saw DIET Coke surpass Pepsi for the first time so it is safe to say the “No-Cal” beverage has had an impact on business.
The year of the Water Dragon also saw Mr. Potato Head patented. An invention that has stood the test of time and technology and remains a favorite amongst children everywhere. The developers and marketers of this product certainly understood a great deal about human nature and the simple joy of changing expressions and attitudes on an unattractive potato that somehow was both a release and source of joy.
Looking back at these inventions, you can see the Water Dragon at work. The bar code, the diet soft drink and Mr. Potato Head could be described as something more than just interesting inventions but rather thoughtful marketing insights that led to mega industries that have lasted when most inventions have gone by the wayside. In fact, these inventions of 60 years ago have not really changed in that time span. Sure soft drinks use other synthetic sweetners than in 1952 but essentially they are sugar-free, colored, caffeinated (thank God) water. The bar code and Mr. Potato Head are pretty much the same too. How many other inventions of 50+ years ago have remained nearly the same? Very few I would guess. So the calming effect that the water has on the dragon seems to work in that it does require a “step back” for greater insight which tends to have a lasting effect. As for the hydrogen bomb, all I can guess is that it was an invention that was developed in a hangover from the previous years more aggressive dragon. Still. there is no arguing that it has stood the test of time.