Monday, September 3, 2012

The inferiority complex of Labor Day, and what to do about it

Is there a U.S. holiday which has more of an identity problem than Labor Day?  Think about it...

- Martin Luther King Day is obviously a day, during Black History Month, when we stop and observe all that Dr. King did to move the cause of civil rights.

- Memorial Day is the unofficial jumping off date for summer and, of course, the grilling season.  Retailers use this date in May to push grills, charcoal, swim and pool gear, summertime foods and, of course, beer to the masses.

- Independence Day, a k a the 4th of July, celebrates our country's independence and is a day typically set aside for families to come together to test their hands at pyrotechnics, or watch others blow up stuff. It's a day where America's fascination with fireworks is on full display.

Labor Day stands alone as a misunderstood holiday.  Does the word "Labor" mean that I'm supposed to do some sort of work, or absolutely nothing at all?  What's on television on this date?  Nothing, unlike Memorial Day which has tons of war movie reruns for all of us wanting to once again see John Wayne as General James Gavin in The Longest Day.  Heck, Labor Day doesn't even signal a return to school for the kiddies as everyone seems to be jumping to an early August date for the beginning of the school year.

Labor Day has no personal brand and thus is in need of a major makeover.

Here's what I suggest:
- Let's make Labor Day the official opening weekend of all football.
- The Thursday night prior to Labor Day will be the college football kick-off.  Let's schedule a major game (e.g., this past weekend's Alabama-Michigan game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX) as the opener and then have a full slate of games on Saturday of Labor Day weekend.
- High school football then would kick off (pun intended) on Friday--a true Friday Night Lights across all America.
- Sunday would be our NFL opening weekend and then, on Monday--on Labor Day--we have the first NFL Monday night game of the year with a major match-up, perhaps featuring the two teams from the prior season's Super Bowl.

Using Labor Day as our official football opening weekend makes all kinds of sense--it brands the weekend with our country's most-watched sport, and unites us across the country around that greatest of inventions, the television set.

Let's go market this thing, shall we?

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