Good morning friends. Great stuff after last week’s diatribe…

Honorable mention to an honorable elected official who won Reply-of-the-Week with: “John, you should call your band Root Beer Schnapps. That crap is never coming back.”

You had to read last week’s write up and probably at least be Gen X to appreciate that. Classic.

In unrelated news, I’m running a three-day gauntlet next week of:
Pittsburgh → Seattle → Redmond → Bellevue → San Francisco → Cupertino → Menlo Park → Mountain View → Los Gatos → L.A. → Culver City → Pittsburgh

If you’re in any of those neighborhoods, hit me up. I’ll need plenty of coffee (to stay awake) and adult beverages (to fall asleep).

Here’s a little sip of everything we’re seeing this week:

Not without its risks, Dick’s Sporting Goods made a smart business move with their new gun policies. The way I see it, I’m endowed with two inalienable rights, per my tortured childhood: 1) The right to make fun of people’s last names and; 2) The right to make Dick jokes with impunity. So, imagine how difficult it was for me to write up this research about the Dick’s news this week. It was a veritable minefield of puns and innuendo but I made it. The main takeaway is that, yes, while Dick’s Sporting Goods significantly over-indexes in favorability among gun owners, those customers don’t seem to be the type to boycott over something like this. More importantly, the move has the potential to win over large, otherwise-lukewarm consumer segments, like women and Millennials.

The Great Tech and Media Ecosystem War is here. There are few higher-stakes trends in the consumer marketplace right now than the emergence of “the ecosystem” (think: Amazon Prime plus Echo plus Prime Music plus Fire Stick etc.). The biggest tech giants are all vying to own it and we’re all more than willing to fall into their clutches. 35% of U.S. adults and 47% of Millennials now say that ecosystem is an important factor in their purchase decisions.

We published our first research delving into the Amazon ecosystem and the consumers that are further and further down the rabbit hole.Unfortunately, the study is only available to our clients, but if you’re not one of those, you can read a synopsis here. I can also be bribed with Spanish wine orHamilton tickets. One line sums up the analysis: “The consumer of the future will be as identifiable by their tech and media ecosystem as they are by their favorite sports team, their political party, or their religion.” Doubt it, if you’d like. Just remember this email one day when Apple eventually buys Netflix and Google buys Target or Walmart.

Speaking of Netflix, we found new, counter-intuitive proof of their power this week. In the research we shared two weeks ago, we saw that Netflix is crushing the other streaming services and it’s not even close. We did, however, see a sizable and growing group of consumers who subscribe to multiple services – leading us to believe that Hulu, Amazon, and others could cannibalize Netflix’s audience attention. On the contrary, it looks like the more streaming services someone subscribes to, the MORE engaged they are with Netflix. It seems anything that steers eyeballs away from linear TV is a big win for Reed Hastings & Co.

The Olympics were a big mixed bag for NBC. We told you before the Winter Olympics began that audience interest in the U.S. – particularly among younger viewers – was sky high. That sentiment held course through the first days of the Games, with NBC touting the number of viewers they were delivering. But, once Shaun White bagged his gold medal in the halfpipe, the numbers started to slide. One silver lining for NBC is that the Games did maintain pretty high attention among Gen Z and younger Millennials. Side note: 6% of consumers 13+ watched at least some of the Games on a mobile phone. Most of those fell into younger age groups.

HQ Trivia is a thing. Since I’m always chauffeuring my kids home from one activity or another at 9 pm, I haven’t fallen victim to the HQ Trivia addiction – which I likely would otherwise. The game seems to have taken the nation by storm, particularly among the Gen Z crowd, which makes up 58% of regular players. Interestingly, however, the largest group of self-reported “intenders” look to be over the age of 45. It’s honestly too early to tell if HQ Trivia will be a juggernaut or a flash in the pan. But it’s off to a good start.

Some Random Stats of the Week

From our most-answered questions of the week:

  • 22% of people would clone a beloved pet if they could;
  • 29% of people have friends they can’t invite to the same gathering because they don’t get along;
  • 13% of air travelers do not want to sit in the exit row on a plane;
  • 32% of people picked Guillermo del Toro to win Best Director for The Shape of Water at the Oscars on Sunday.

I’ll be on a plane from Pittsburgh to Seattle during the Oscars. Sitting in the exit row.

Hoping you’re well.