Genetically speaking, I’m 50% Country. Redneck, even.
My mom is from a tiny Appalachian town about two hours from Pittsburgh. My dad hunted there as a kid with his dad and eventually became a barfly at the VFW where my mom’s mom tended bar. The rest writes itself.
I spent my childhood at our cabin there, hunting, fishing, riding ATVs, and overdosing on Calamine lotion. Our daughters love it now, so we’re there every weekend, biking, rafting, and otherwise sitting around a fire, listening to bluegrass and drinking copious cans of Miller Lite.
There’s no cell phone coverage or high-speed Internet, which is awesome once you detox.
And the loveliest people live in the nearby town; lovely, that is, until you hear some of them talk about race and politics. There are Confederate flags. Bigotry flourishes.
For the record, they do have every reason to be ticked off. Their main street was gutted, jobs disappeared, and the brightest young people moved away for better opportunity. None of that, they believe, is their fault. And they’re right, for the most part, even if they don’t know why.
Sadly, many of them blame their plight on people of color – “the Others,” they’re told, who took their jobs and hijacked their culture. It’s easier to fear the boogieman than to wrap their heads around global economics or education policy. I’m not apologizing for them but you can understand where it comes from. We’ve all done a lousy job of helping them see otherwise.
For sure, there’s nothing more prevalent in our data right now than the proliferation and consequences of tribalism. It’s affecting everything. And it sucks.
My guess is that the people who most vilify rural, lower-middle-class Trump supporters know few personally – much in the same way that few of those country-folk know people of different races and lifestyles beyond what they see on TV. Being “Facebook Friends” doesn’t count.
So, basically what I’m getting at is that you’re all invited to our cabin, anytime. Maybe we can change the world a little and drink a beer or ten while we’re at it.
I’ll be there next weekend celebrating the birth of our (always and still) great nation, which means you won’t hear from me for a couple weeks.
Until then, here’s what we’re seeing:
More and more people are boycotting brands based on where they advertise. Speaking of tribalism. You may recall that we wrote about this exactly a year ago. At the time, 39% of Americans were either currently boycotting a company over its media placement or had in the past. Fast forward to June of 2018, and the numbers climbed even further. 25% of Americans are currently boycotting at least one brand, and 48% have done it overall. For those of you out there in brand marketing, I’m not sure there are many more profound consumer trends you should be monitoring. Beware the company you keep, my friends.
World Cup audiences may be down, but the value of individual viewers is only getting better. With the U.S. team a no-show this year, obviously Fox is feeling the impact in its ratings. But viewership of non-U.S. games among U.S. audiences is up substantially over 2014. More importantly, according to our data, the audience is a marketer’s dream: Gen Z, Millennial, Hispanic – and even more female than I would have guessed. We haven’t seen any public numbers on YouTube viewership for the World Cup, but I’ll bet you a dollar they’re crushing it. The incidence rate of YouTube viewership among World Cup fans is off the charts.
The percentage of Americans who play video games has been declining even as younger people are growing more addicted. We didn’t discover this – video game sales have been dropping for a while, and companies like GameStop are paying the price. But the story isn’t all bleak. Juggernauts like Fortnite, VR/AR, and disruptive gaming consoles seem to have stemmed the tide recently. We published an entire eBook on the gaming space this week. If you don’t want to download it, let me know, and I can slip you a copy. I know people.
Apparently, all of you have tattoos and never told me. Seriously, lots of good tat data here. About 1 in 4 U.S. adults has a tattoo (or more than one) and another 13% want one. Ok. Seems reasonable. Women are a whopping 50% more likely than Men to have a tattoo. Didn’t know that. One-third of Gen Xers have one (and 25% of Millennials want one) – I’m ink-free but whatever. Here’s the stat that made my day. When we looked at the results by job type, nobody had a higher rate of body ink than professionals and managers. You rebels, you.
Friday was national Take Your Dog to Work Day, and I have the cutest dog in the world, as evidenced by this article on our site, I don’t care what anyone says. And Dog People are happier than Cat People. We also drink more vodka. And listen to more music. The numbers don’t lie.
Random (Totally) Stats of the Week
15% of people went to high school with someone who is now a celebrity;
21% of people name their cars;
16% of people have caught a foul ball at a baseball game;
67% of people say they know how to identify poison ivy (B.S.!);
26% of people sometimes pretend to know a lot about something they know nothing about…
Talk to you again in July.
Hoping you’re well.