Thank you all for the very kind comments after last week’s email. I’ll try to keep exercising your brains as best I can.
Here are a few thought-provoking things we’re seeing right now:
Consumer confidence keeps climbing. Our Economic Sentiment Index jumped almost another full point in the past two weeks, and two points over the past month. The biggest leaps came from improved attitudes toward the housing market and major purchases, the latter of which should be a good sign for the holiday season. With the expectation that more and more consumers will start their shopping early this year, we could see some big-ticket items ringing the cash registers if this warm and fuzzy feeling continues.
The Papa John’s dude has a point. Our weekly brand tracking numbers definitely slid for Papa John’s since the beginning of the NFL season, particularly in the last 45 days. And, indeed, most of that slide emanated from Republicans, who historically have a 20% more favorable view of Papa John’s than Democrats do – and who were much more likely to be offended by the NFL player protests. The company’s PR conundrum, however, is interesting. By blasting the league and its players, they may win back some of those begrudged Republicans, but they’re also going to push Democrats further away. And, given that Papa John’s just renewed its multi-year sponsorship deal with the NFL, you’d think they would be trying to drive fans back to the sport, not vilifying the league even further. I guess they’re in a tough spot.
The number of people thinking about switching health insurers or enrolling for the first time is on the rise. It may not jump out of the chart below, but the percentage of people who are considering switching/enrolling rose to 26% compared to 22% this time last year. Maybe people want to sign up for ACA while they still have a chance. Or maybe they’re fed up with premiums from their current carrier and want to shop around. In any event, it should make for an interesting marketplace over the next couple months.
The hot new form of advertising might be – on the bus?!?! We’ve always kept a close eye on trends in public transportation, particularly as more Americans – and especially younger people – move to the city. Our beloved Millennials are more than twice as likely as my fellow Gen Xers to use public transit once or more each week. Admittedly, a lot of this might be more about life stage than generation. Let’s see how keen those 20-somethings are to take the subway when they’re hauling around two kids, a stroller, and a bunch of soccer equipment. In the meantime, there’s a strong case to be made for physical advertising, aimed at younger, digital-ad-blocking consumers, on the bus, subway, or train – at least until Facebook knows when someone is on the train and can deliver an ad while they stare at their phones. Hell, maybe they already can.
Kevin Spacey’s popularity had already been sliding over the past three years. We saw temporary jumps since Q2, which coincided with that season’s release of House of Cards. In 2014, fans of Spacey outnumbered his detractors by more than 9-to-1. Right now, it’s about 3-to-1. And I’ll bet you my original VHS copy of Usual Suspects that we never see it that high again.
And One Random Stat of the Week
It’s the first sign I’ve seen in a long time that we’re not all just reverting further and further into our own shells. Maybe there’s hope for us after all.
Hoping you’re well.