I would totally run for president if I had the money.

And I don’t mean money for ads and yard signs and all that.

I mean because of all the hush money I’d have to dole out to the people who knew me in high school and college. Jeff Bezos couldn’t bankroll that. Hell, I probably couldn’t even survive the archives of this email if someone scoured them.

The campaign slogans would be epic, though. Dick for President.

I would most definitely pick a running mate whose name matched best with mine. There’s a brilliant woman I know professionally named Michele Schmal at the NPD Group and she would be on my short list. Because the Schmal-Dick ticket would be enough to make the entire country laugh itself out of a recession. And yes, I said short list.

I think I’d be good at it. I don’t have any blinding political biases. I trust data and surround myself with people who are way smarter than me and let them do their jobs. I can deliver a pretty solid speech and occasionally write an inspirational word or two.

Also, I’m not 100 years old, my kids aren’t old enough to fleece the government, and Tara would actually be running the whole show anyway because that’s what she does.

I’d readily show everyone my tax returns because they would take about five minutes to review and hopefully someone would find a deduction or two we’re missing. Just kidding, Tara is all over that shit.

Oh, and I’m a 4 handicap so I could handle playing all the golf presidents are apparently required to play every week.

Most of all, I’d be good at it because I genuinely care more about all of you than I care about money or power or adulation or my hair – though I do have some pretty awesome hair. I’d bet most of you are like that – minus the hair.

You care about other people more than you care about your job or your ego or your possessions. You give more than you take. Because you’re a good person.

And I’d probably vote for any one of you for president right now.

(Disclaimer: Michele Schmal approved this message.) 

Here’s what we’re seeing:

The rise in online grocery shopping is staggering but it’s still much less than what it could be, because like I said, it’s staggering. With over 90% of Americans now concerned about being in public places, even going to the grocery store is risky. This week, the number of Americans who said they’re increasing their online grocery buying jumped 17%. The numbers could be much higher, however, if the grocers were equipped for this kind of non-linear demand. I know, personally, we couldn’t find an available timeslot for over a week at our local store. And we’re not alone. Sixteen percent of Americans were unable to order online groceries. Once the grocers figure out the workload and logistics, this is a trend that’s here to stay.

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Some product categories are seeing a long-needed renaissance. Quarantine living has disrupted the daily routines of the vast majority of Americans and created growing fears of shortages in our fridges and pantries. In all of our daily tracking, perishable food is the #1 category people are depleting fastest in most parts of the country. As a result – and with more people at home eating lunch every day – some CPG categories are seeing a return to their glory days. Weekly consumption of canned and boxed soups, for example, is up 33% over this time last month. And try buying frozen mac and cheese right now, trust me.

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Speaking of changing routines, 19% of Americans say they are actually eating healthier now that they’re working remotely. In fairness, 22% say they’re eating less healthy and that’s probably me. Other work-from-home trends – including the remarkable percentage of U.S. adults who stay in their pajamas all day – can be enjoyed here.

If you listened to all of those agencies and creative types preach about the value of “brand” – and took them seriously – you could be reaping the benefits. A remarkable thing is happening in our data right now, not just the questions we’re asking because of the coronavirus, but changes to metrics we haven’t seen in a decade. Established blue-chip brands are seeing big jumps in consumer sentiment, while doing little in the moment to spur it. In our daily brand tracker, McDonald’s brand sentiment climbed 6 points in a matter of days. Or, look at the gains Volkswagen, below, has seen since March 15th. Consumers are – probably subconsciously – gravitating toward brands that reflect stability, reliability, and other virtues that just make us feel better right now. (P.S. Our brand tracker is way better than yours ☺)

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Americans are being pleasantly pragmatic about the shutdown of sports. I’ll be the first one to admit how much I miss sports right now. Looking forward to the Masters every year gets me through the dreary days of February and March in Pittsburgh. I even miss the bloviating rants of the lunatics on Sports Twitter every time the Penguins lose a game. Even so, sports fans are being uncharacteristically reasonable about the current state of affairs – and the need for safety over all other things. From the cancellation of the Olympics to the shortening of pro sports seasons, fans are well aligned and accepting of the sacrifices we’re making.

In other good news, nearly two-thirds of Americans are tipping delivery drivers more than they normally do during the COVID-19 crisis. Because, like I said in the prologue – people are good. Also, please order more delivery and takeout. You can do it and still eat healthy.

OK, I tried to keep it positive this week. But if you’re addicted to bad news, feel free to read this uplifting gem about how people don’t have enough money for retirement; or how people are going to use their stimulus check to pay down credit card debt; or the rise of stress – particularly tied to news consumption – most Americans are reporting;  or, not so negative, how people are shopping for pet food online during the crisis; or trends in fitness app usage during the crisis. That and much more on our blog from this week.

Nobody is studying the effects of this crisis more closely than we are – on as many dimensions, among as many people, every minute of every day. Full stop.

And here are your most popular questions from the past week:    

Answer Key: No judging, no judging, no judging, sparkling, with beans.


Hoping you’re well.