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The Year of the Owl

February 3, 2012

No, it’s not The Year of the Owl in China.  The Year of the Dragon just began there. 

Nor do I refer to Temple University where (shameless blogger bragging to follow) daughter of blogger recently graduated in only 3 1/2 years!

However, if the Temple University Owls continue winning basketball games, it could very well be the Year of the Owls, plural.

But what I’m talking about here is the current crazy popularity of the owl in American culture.

We just finished a round of trade shows from coast to coast. Your 1730 blogger visited Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago (at the Merchandise Mart – a building featuring Northwestern Terra Cotta decorations probably fired in our building!!), and New York. While visiting our booth at the Javits Center in New York, a journalist friend chatted about what she had seen on display at the show.

“Owls,” she said.  “They are everywhere. What’s going on?”

“We have lots of owls,” I replied.


“People like them.”

“I never would have thought of writing an article about owls, but I’m going to have to.”

Not too many minutes later, an old friend from York, Pennsylvania, whom I hadn’t seen in over three years, tapped me on the shoulder. After exchanging pleasantries I looked at her badge.  She owns a store called The Gardener of the Owl Valley. Here’s her logo:

Last week we had a meeting to discuss our website  Top selling items were listed. And what do you think was at the top of the list?

You guessed it!  Owls. You can see them by clicking here and typing “owl” in the search window.

Yesterday we had an operations meeting.  Our heads of accounting and customer service mentioned that they had been chatting about owls a couple of days ago!

A lively debate ensued about the true popularity of owls. On the one hand, sales figures don’t lie. But on the other hand … owls? Who knew?

I decided to do a little scientific research by using the world’s favorite marketing research tool (besides Wikipedia) — GOOGLE! 

I pit owls against dogs and cats, using the terms “… lovers gifts” because if I used just the animals’ names I would get all kinds of dog collars and cat playthings that are considered gifts for the pets themselves.  I wanted to quantify those looking for gifts whose design themes are based on the three animals.  Here are the results:

Cat lovers gifts:  1,960,000 Google links

Dog lovers gifts:  3,140,000 Google links

Owl lovers gifts:  8,940,000!!!

It wasn’t even close! Owls rule!

As the week progressed, and our crew had time to contemplate the higher meaning of it all, the puns began.

“What a hoot!”

“Owl bet you never never thought owls could be so popular!”

“Woo hoo hoo!”

“You’re going out on a limb with that analysis!”

“You’re so very wise … and old …”

“Owl! That hurt!”

I began to wonder just how far you could take owl punning. So, of course, I googled “owl puns.”

150,000 results! Try it!

In the meantime, be sure to catch some owls at 1730 Outlet, 1730 W. Wrightwood, Chicago. Mon-Fri 10-6. Sat 10-5.

Owl see you there …


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