I collected baseball hats growing up – hundreds of them. Sports teams, colleges, Spuds MacKenzie, you name it. They were thumbtacked to the wood paneling on every inch of my bedroom. I was the easiest kid in America to buy a gift for.
When I was about 8, my dad bought me a special hat. I wore it non-stop for weeks, like when we would go grocery shopping on Monday nights. I loved the gazes it drew from passersby. I can still picture it. A solid, dark brown trucker hat with brown mesh. Emblazoned across the front in tall white letters was one word: “SHITHEAD.”
Seriously. Shithead. I was 8.
Can you imagine a parent doing that today? I would’ve been hauled off to CYS before we got through the produce aisle. My picture – and memes – would be plastered all over the internet.
Do I resent my dad for doing that to his adolescent son? Of course not. He was the best man in my wedding.
I told that story to begin his eulogy a few years ago. It cut the somber tension like a laser. But it also illustrated how he raised us to laugh at ourselves and to brush it off when others laughed at us – an essential life skill when you go through childhood with the last name Dick. Do you know I couldn’t get pizza delivered to my house as a teenager? They thought it was a prank call.
I think about this stuff when I look at our data sometimes. People are more apt to boycott the NFL over anthem protests than domestic abuse. I mean, come on. Everything has become so raw, so polarizing, so serious. Don’t even get me started on the Stage Moms and Gym Dads who think their kids can do no wrong.
Things like discrimination, persecution, and violence are never funny. But somewhere short of those is a place where we’ve lost the ability to laugh at ourselves (and our kids). We’re afraid that if we give an inch, we have to give a mile.
I hope this is all just a phase.
Here are some other phases (or not) that we’re seeing right now:
We’re losing trust in our friends. Well, maybe. During the rise of social media this decade, we began to see people relying more on comments and recommendations from their friends when making consumer choices. The numbers stayed relatively steady until 2016, when the data began reverting to the early-social-media days. Those of you from the TV networks could argue that advertising is just getting more effective. You might be right. I’m more cynical than that…
Don’t blame the TV networks for a lack of originality – it’s what people want. We started the first phase of our analysis of the 2018 Upfronts and the findings are fairly resolute: People want familiarity. Virtually all of the upcoming fall premieres with the best metrics in our data are either a) previously-canceled shows, like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, that were picked up by another network; b) reboots of old shows like Magnum P.I. or; c) name-droppers like FBI, which trace their lineage to well-known TV producers. Isn’t it time to bring Cheers back?
Gen Z consumers are much more likely to prefer product placement over traditional advertising. I won’t say much more than that – you can read the full write-up if you want. Unlike the TV networks, advertisers will need to get more and more creative to break through.
Over 1/3rd of U.S. workers work from home all or part of the time. I did the first of a series of short webinars this week (here are the upcoming ones, fyi). It was entitled Introvert Nation and delved into the what’s, why’s and what-next’s of our “stay-at-home economy.” One dimension we explored in greater depth on our blog was the impact of a remote workforce. The trend is being driven by women (especially moms). Millennials are way more likely to want to work from home all of the time. Gen Xers only want to work at home part of the time – probably because we have kids and we need to get the hell out of the house every once-in-awhile.
Wendy’s has a slight lead on McDonald’s among tech-savvy diners but that’ll probably disappear soon. We did a little side-by-side comparison of Wendy’s and McDonald’s fans and found them to be similar on most accounts. The only noticeable difference was that Wendy’s fans lean more tech-heavy. They’re more likely to be early adopters, addicted to their device, and pay closer attention to tech trends. But McDonald’s is a freight train right now and with the announcement that they’ll be introducing all sorts of new tech-forward ordering features, they’ll probably gobble up those techie Wendy’s customers in about a minute.
Most people don’t eat healthy and there’s not really a single big reason. A whopping 2/3rds of U.S. adults do not believe they are healthy eaters. About 1/3rd blame cost or effort. Not sure how to solve the problem when the excuses are so diverse.
Your Random (Embarrassing) Stats of the Week
- 26% of people feel embarrassed when they receive a compliment
- 50% of people have experienced an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction
- 40% of people have sent an embarrassing text to the wrong person
- 57% of people keep their embarrassing moments to themselves, 33% share it
- 42% of people say they’re easily embarrassed
Not me, thanks Dad.
Hoping you’re well.