We're on Time's Side

A Modest Proposal for an Urban Rebranding of Standard Time

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Doug Melville Doug Melville
Almost two weeks have gone by since the "springing ahead" of the majority of clocks in America for the annual ritual of Daylight Saving Time (DST).

But is DST good marketing, or just a symbol of the "Founding Father's generation" who came up with the idea?

As legend has it, Ben Franklin thought up the idea of Daylight Saving Time as a joke in a satirical piece of work he was writing in 1784. The concept of DST, as Ben saw it, was based on the fact that if we all got up earlier, we would get more sunlight during the summer and therefore get more work done. He was very busy and needed more daylight. Who would want to work by candlelight when you can work by the light of the sun?

You may not be able to save the Manatees, or save the ozone layer, or save your money (because you love spending), but you can do something bigger than that, you can save daylight -- possibly the most precious resource that we have, as without it we all are extinct. Yes, YOU!!! You are now part of the solution, saving daylight each and every day, month after month until the winter moonlight comes. All hail the joy of Daylight Saving Time.

But Ben laughed at the feasibility of actually implementing such a system -- as no man owns time. Alas, 134 years layer in 1918, DST made its debut in the U.S.

Ben Franklin, has had plenty of influence on today's urban culture. He may be best known by Gen X & Y for having premium face-time as the star of the $100 bill, which in turn inspired Diddy's 1998 No. 1 hit and now-classic "It all about the Benjamin's." Back in his day, Ben was a trendsetter who had a heavy influence on those around him. From drafting the Declaration of Independence to inventing the lightning rod and bifocal glasses to successfully charting the ocean's Gulf Stream, he was the true, forward-thinking visionary of his day.

This is where his work has inspired me. Franklin's concept of DST was his way of manipulating the marketing of time to reflect a generation he lived and worked in. If you're living in a society in which there is limited lighting available, you would definitely be interested in a way to save daylight. He was able to imagine Daylight Saving Time as a fun, effective, and appealing solution to reflect the need of his generation. I can imagine the marketing campaign now, "Squinting? Cramped over a book with no light? Want to learn more, but it's too dark? Try Daylight Savings Time! Save your day -- don't throw it away!"

What if the influence of the 100,000,000 Multicultural Americans who inspired our generation was reflected through "time" we developed ourselves? In 2008, DST seems really ho-hum. Man-made light is everywhere. And it's not like the majority of us are toiling in jobs that need sunlight. Truthfully, are we really adding more daylight to our lives -- or are we just waking up early?

I propose that we take the concept of DST, which was a sign of the times of our Founding Fathers, and create a new vision for Standard Time, one that will reflect Urban America, Gen Y, Gen X and the hip-hop generation. We need to rebrand "time" for our generation just as Ben Franklin did during his. Rest in peace, Standard Time; we're going to change the way you tick.

Nowadays people are working most of the day in an office building, sitting down in a similar work environment day after day after day. For the most part, people are virtually inactive during the day. For me, this has increased the anticipation and the experience of going out at night. When night rolls around, I am rejuvenated. Under the glow of the moon, I am constantly looking to find out what lurks in the dark. Fashion Shows. Political Events. Movie Premieres. I get inspired by the huge nighttime buzz the streets give off.

Under the glow of the moon, the drinks come out and parties across the nation get started -- the real fun begins. Young people in there 20s and 30s as well as urbanites thrive after hours. I would say that most of the major trends -- and trendsetters -- come out after sunset.

The moonlight, not the daylight, is the lifeline for the entertainment industry, restaurants and bars, TV networks, liquor and beer companies, movie theaters and events. Imagine how many deals have been made, introduced or thought-up over a drink? Or after the sun went down? How many of today's movies, scripts, songs and books were written or recorded after dark? If you ask me; the moon is ready for a comeback campaign -- and I want to jump start it.

I propose our generation bands together to re-brand, and re-position Standard Time as Moonlight Saving Time. Jay-Z, Diddy, Russell Simmons, you were able to change lifestyles, television, music and the influence of the hip-hop culture throughout the world. Now let's take that same influence to Time.

Let's revitalize the part of the day that has the most potential and make our generation feel good about an idea we can stand behind. I can see it now "Tired of being inside all day? Ready for some fun? Be creative, maximize your day. Introducing: Moonlight Savings Time. Under the Glow of the Moon, Anything Can Happen."

Imagine the possibilities! I already started writing the business plan. I'm just hoping this doesn't take a 134 years to kick in -- by then, our generation's influence may be passé.

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