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Depression Sells

Dr. Cliff Arnall claims he’s got a formula for pinpointing the most depressing day of the year. The unlucky date? Yesterday. Why January 24th? Well, it’s complicated; Arnall’s formula takes into account factors like the day of the week (Monday) and people’s tendency to break New Year’s resolutions by late January. But more interesting than the math behind his conclusion is the impetus for the work: leveraging bad vibes for dollars.

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Dr. Cliff Arnall claims he’s got a formula for pinpointing the most depressing day of the year. The unlucky date? Yesterday.

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Why January 24th? Well, it’s complicated; Arnall’s formula takes into account factors like the day of the week (Monday) and people’s tendency to break New Year’s resolutions by late January. But more interesting than the math behind his conclusion is the impetus for the work: leveraging bad vibes for dollars.

Arnall, a psychologist who specializes in seasonal disorders at the University of Cardiff, Wales, developed the formula for PR agency Porter Novelli. In turn, Porter Novelli’s client, a travel agency called Sky Travel, is using Arnall’s findings to help seduce weary souls into getting away from it all with things like round trip tickets to Tahiti or a suite on the next Caribbean cruise line. In other words, the worse you feel about things like your job and the weather, the more susceptible you’ll be to escape-themed advertising.

Science, opportunism or a win-win situation?