Pining for pumpkin-flavored treats? The marketing is working

CLEVELAND - Did you gorge on candy corn this Halloween?  Are pumpkin and eggnog calling your name now?  You are not alone. 

There was literally a "pumpkin panic" on the Internet when the Wall Street Journal reported that Starbucks stores were running out of syrup for their pumpkin lattes.

According to one researcher, it's all about our need for rituals.

Katherine Sredl, assistant professor in the Department of Marketing at the University of Notre Dame, said that it's no surprise when big-name items, like a spiced latte in October or brand of shoe during back-to-school shopping season, become inextricably linked with the season in which they appear.

"Rituals, when they go well, give you a good emotional feeling, that's what people want," Sredl said. "They want to feel like there's something they can rely on."

But breaking a ritual has another impact, and that's what happened with Starbucks. People come to rely on these products, and when they are no longer available, it can actually cause stress, according to Sredl.

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