Tara and I had a very romantic, storybook first encounter.
We were shooting pool in a smoky dive bar when I got into a fight with one of her friends and fell down the stairs. Just like a Nora Ephron movie. Every girl’s dream.
It was 1998 – right after I moved home from college. My friend Jaison and I walked into a random bar to shoot pool and the place was packed. After putting our quarter (yes, one quarter back then) on the table, we waited our turn – getting hammered on Captain Morgan.
Two girls were ruling the table, including this beautiful blond with perfect skin and blue eyes. When our turn was up, I racked the balls and asked her for a lighter as an excuse to start a conversation. Of course, I had my own lighter and, yes, that was a lame and transparent move.
Jaison and I won the game and held the table for most of the night. I also set a record for chain-smoking cigarettes, just so I could ask for that lighter every five minutes.
As the drunken flirting started, I could tell that her friends – and one guy in particular – didn’t approve. At one point, I brushed past him to line up a shot, to which he said, “Watch it, tool.” Even by 1998, people weren’t saying “tool” anymore, which I took physical exception to.
Instantly, Jaison and I realized we were the only two outsiders in the bar. And, even though it was merely a bunch of dorky Pitt Grad School students and we were no strangers to bar fights, 100-to-2 were really bad odds.
As I was shuffled down the stairs, certain I’d ruined my chances with the girl, I fell flat on my face onto the sidewalk, only to see her standing over me, phone number in hand. It was a miracle.
Naturally, I subsequently lost her number, failed to meet her the following week as promised, had to stake out that bar until I saw her again, and will spend the rest of my life getting grief for it. She’ll probably also say I conflated a bunch of these details as soon as she reads this. But that’s how I remember it.
And the whole thing was worth it. Sometimes the biggest moments of our lives happen when we don’t even realize it. And often while drunk on Captain Morgan.
Here’s what we’re seeing this week:
We finally published our research with Bloomberg this week about how Gen Z is actually more like Gen X than Millennials. I hinted at this finding a few weeks ago but now it’s official. So, go ahead and click on this link, minimize the window, finish reading this email, and come back to it. It’s important.
It’s hard to sustain the kind of dominance Netflix has enjoyed over the past several years. Your favorite streamers in Los Gatos took a beating from Wall St. last week after reporting their first negative subscriber numbers in eight years. And the coming surge of competitors like Disney+ will certainly dial up the pressure. But to give Hastings & Company’s superiority some context, we looked at the perception of their original content compared to peers, namely Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Even though Prime is gaining, they’ve been a country mile away from Netflix since we started tracking it five years ago. These streaming wars are going to be fun to watch.
If the kid who won $3 million playing Fortnite shocked you, just look at the data behind Twitch. The number of people who watch other people play video games is staggering. And when you dig further, you see that the audience for a big site like Twitch is a marketer’s dream. They’re young, urban, Hispanic, and obviously very tech-savvy. This is why video game competitions are drawing the kinds of sponsorship dollars to fund larger prizes than Wimbledon. As an aside, my favorite stat from our study was how popular Twitch is among active members of the military. Cool.
The other thing young people love is Dunkin’. If you want to see a brand that figured out how to refurbish itself for Gen Z, fly to Boston and buy Dunkin’ CMO Tony Weisman (not a client) a beer. Their favorability numbers among teens and college-aged kids are off the charts. Investments in media partners like Cheddar and Barstool – whose popularity highly correlates with Dunkin’s in our data – have clearly aligned the brand with emerging consumers. And, as they roll out Beyond Meat (another Gen Z obsession) on their menu, expect to see things get even better.
Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency has such an enormous hill to climb, I can’t even see the top. We got enough press for this study last week, so I’m not even going to elaborate on it. Let’s just say that Facebook has a lot of trust to rebuild with people before they start asking to manage their digital wallets. Not impossible, for sure. But not easy.
I kept seeing commercials for GoodRx on Shark Week, and now I realize it’s a thing to keep an eye on. Pharmacy discount/coupon sites make so much sense, I assumed they had always existed. But no, it’s a pretty new phenomenon. And it’s gaining traction. Even Millennials, who have fewer prescription needs, are using GoodRx at a high rate. As long as drug prices keep climbing, sites like these are worth betting on.
Last but not least, your most popular questions from the past week:
- Do you get ever mad if someone is on social media but they haven’t texted you back?
- How often do you wash your car / take it to the car wash?
- Would you ever want to be on a reality TV show?
- Mouthwash: overrated or necessary?
- Rom-coms: love them or hate them?
Hoping you’re well.