Spring Forward, Fall Back….

        Spring Forward Fall Back? Not according to Nicole, our Business Management Executive…

If like me, you were completely oblivious to the changes to our clocks this weekend you can take comfort in the fact that you were not alone! In an era of smartphones, watches and laptops that all automatically adjust to account for the Daylight Savings, many of us didn’t even notice the difference. As we woke up, comforted by the lack of alarm clock buzzing in our faces and the knowledge that we all had the Bank Holiday separating us for another day from our offices; that lost hour of sleep didn’t seem all that bad.  Although some of us barely noticed it, it’s clear that many of us are still unaware of why somebody somewhere has decided to take that beloved extra hour of sleep away from us! Let me explain.

DST (Daylight Savings) is the practice of setting our clocks forward by 1hour during the Summer months and back again by 1hour in the Fall. London observes GMT between 1st Jan – 27th March 2016, BST begins when the clocks go forward by 1hour (this year) on the 27th March and ends when the clocks go back 1hour on the 30th Oct. GMT then resumes from the 30th Oct – 31st Dec.

time zones


The concept of adjusting our clocks has a number of potential benefits, the primary reason for its adoption was in order to allow us to enjoy an extra hour of daylight in the evenings. It was implemented for the first time during WWI, nearly 100 years ago, as a practical means of conserving energy. This reasoning still applies as significant savings are reportedly made on artificial lighting which would otherwise be required for longer in the evenings.

Aside from making better use of natural daylight and conserving energy, putting the clocks forward has also been found to decrease the number of road accidents – as the naturally lit roads makes for better visibility at peak traffic times. Despite these benefits less than 40% of countries in the world use DST.

 Thinking about this, and wondering how many other people actually forgot (or had no idea about it?!) we analysed social media data (using the Brandwatch Analytics Platform) for UK based conversations taking place between the 24-29 March 2016 around the topic of the changing clocks


Whilst we are moaning about how tired we are having lost that extra hour of pillow time, we must not forget our canine comrades who have to go for morning ‘walkies’ while they are still half asleep and have no idea why! So a little paw-holding may be required through this confusing time.

morning dog walkdog doesnt understand

lost hour



We couldn’t escape the evident heavy-reliance of people on their smart phones and gadgets to notify them of the change or automatically adjust to the difference. Many people also noted that as we have become so accustomed to our devices making the switch seamless for us that we can often be caught out by those devices which aren’t so clever – like the good old wall clock!

 clocks on cars

ovenwall clock


Surprisingly to the two mothers in our team, the data didn’t highlight any comments regarding the effect DST has on young children. As they have been experiencing only too well over the last few mornings and nights, children get up just as early but don’t understand why they are meant to go to sleep while it is still so light outside! We assume that conversations around this topic will grow over the next few months!


Our research highlighted a definitive divide evident between two different types of reactions to the DST this year:

  • the pillow time – box set enthusiasts who stayed safely in bed, using Easter Sunday as a (valid) excuse to eat lots of chocolate to make up for this loss of sleep
  • and the go-getters who were going to make the most of every extra hour of daylight

For sport and nutrition brands this second set of people provided a valuable opportunity to capitalise on and further motivate go-getters. Adidas led by example here:

If you didn’t happen to be in this second set of people and instead made the most of the Bank Holiday Monday tucked up in bed and are still haven’t worked out how to change the clock on your oven – just hang in there for another 7 months and all will be well again!






© Disruptive Insight 2015.