I’m writing earlier than usual, on a plane to Orlando for my college alumni weekend. Chances are certain I’ll be hungover by the time you’re reading it.
Oh to have a collegiate liver again.
My fraternity is honoring me Saturday night, which is the only reason Tara is being such a good sport about me going. I already have a generous slate of guy trips on my annual calendar.
Why the recognition? Basically because I was fraternity President when we won a competition for the crown-jewel house on campus. And it afforded my contemporaries and I a place in the history books among our successors.
I know the whole thing probably sounds trite. I guess you had to be there.
My first year at Rollins, a few of us joined a nascent fraternity, which was widely considered social suicide at the time – outcasts relegated to the dank basement of a freshman dorm.
One of the older guys – and the best salesperson I’ve ever met – convinced us we could make the place our own. Rather than morphing into the mold of the established fraternities (the jocks, the partiers, the rich kids, etc.), we could build something new. And we bought it.
No, this isn’t an Old School sequel.
But, man, was it rough for a while. Girls acted like we didn’t exist. Guys mocked us behind our backs – and to our faces. It was a great test of our huge egos.
Eventually, we turned things around. And by the time we left, we had the coolest house and the most coveted pledge class at the school. And 20 years later, they’re still rocking it.
Maybe nobody else on the campus cared or even noticed. But we did.
Whenever my daughters are upset about some social drama at school, my first instinct is to tell them that it’s not important – that they’ll never remember it in the grand scheme of things. And when it comes to the negative stuff, yeah, hopefully they’ll forget it.
But some things will always feel important. Even something as silly as a fraternity house.
I hope you have as much fun this weekend as I’m bound to have.
Here’s what we’re seeing this week:
Your kids are addicted to their screens because you are. Sometimes I read the research wepublish and it makes me cringe – because I’m such a dead-on stereotype. This is one of those times. If you’re wondering why kids are glued to their devices 24/7, it’s probably because their parents are.This study we released is full of so many wild stats, I could dedicate an entire Saturday morning to it. So just read it yourself if you’re interested. My favorite finding was that non-parents are much more likely than parents to think kids’ screen-time should be “very restricted.” If you’ve never longed for just five minutes of peace and quiet from your kids, you can’t relate.
It’s early but we learned a lot about the potential for Apple’s new stuff this week. You probably saw this on Tuesday, if you’re a client, but we ran a ton of overnight research following Apple’s big product reveal on Monday. Mostly, we just wanted to gloat about how fast we are. Still, it was interesting that a) the announcement generated so much visibility in less than 24 hours, b) political partisans are much less interested in Apple News, and c) the streaming service is so heavily limited to current iOS users. It will be fun to watch how they break through those barriers. And we’ll be watching, for sure.
Millennials don’t care if their clothes are American-made, so long as they’re made responsibly. We ran a study this week looking at the power of “Made in America” as a marketing proposition for the apparel and footwear industry. The findings were useful, if not shocking. The younger someone is, the less they care if their clothes are made here. Interestingly, those same young consumers do care about a brand’s social consciousness. Evidently, supporting domestic manufacturers and workers, by itself, doesn’t qualify.
Speaking of clothes, we’re seeing a remarkable rise in apparel and accessory shopping on Amazon – by Hispanics. You don’t need to be a high-paid data scientist (I’m neither) to know that more people are buying – nearly everything – on Amazon. The increase in shopping for clothes and such, as one example, has climbed steadily for as long as we’ve tracked it. But look at how spending in that category is sky-rocketing among U.S. Hispanics. Since 2016, the percentage of Hispanics who purchased wearables on Amazon climbed from 26% to 47%, consistently ahead of non-Hispanics by 5% or more. Want to know why? I’ll bet you do.
Cord-cutting in Pittsburgh is way behind national norms and you should care even if you’renot from Pittsburgh. U.S. cord-cutting slowed in March after a torrid 90 days prior. But even as the number climbed to 30% of U.S. adults, my hometown is lagging far behind. Why? Sports. AT&T SportsNet, our local provider, isn’t available on ANY streaming services. That means no Pirates or Penguins games. And in case you’ve been asleep your whole life, this is a gigantic sports town. Eventually, something’s going to give – particularly if the teams feel the pain in their sponsorship negotiations. Until then, DirecTV, Dish, and Comcast are loving it. For me, a cord-cutter, it sucks.
A Few of Our Most Popular Questions This Week
- Do you feel you have a true calling in life?
- Do you ever want to live somewhere other than where you live now?
- Have you ever gotten angry at someone in traffic and realized it was someone you knew?
- Do you name your WiFi network?
- How often do you make a meal in the microwave?
Oh, and some of you asked for a lightweight “Best of” link you could share when you send people this email. The nation has voted – well, two people on our marketing team anyway – and here is the Top Ten.
Hoping you’re well.