June 26, 2022 BY Jacey Edwards in Newsletter
Life Hack: Don’t Skip the Mac & Cheese
Beat the heat.
Have you heard about gas prices? Kidding. It’s on every headline, every station and every newsfeed. We even cover it in this week’s newsletter- and if I remember correctly, the last several issues touched on fuel’s sky rocketing prices, as well. Sorry we’re always such downers. We’ll cover something more fun next week, like interest rates.
Shockingly, outrageous prices haven’t slowed down anyone’s summer vacation plans. Car rental reservations are up 13% this year compared to last, and 58% of Americans reported intentions to take a roadtrip in the next couple of months, a rise of 1% from last summer. And even with rampant cancellation and delay issues, air travel continues to rebound, up 25% over last year. Regardless of the ridiculous costs, after the pandemic ruined the last two summers, everyone seems to be taking the Clark Griswold approach this year.
Travel advertising has certainly responded to the uptick in business. Marketers of airlines, rental car firms. US tourism and lodging providers invested almost $623 million in advertising from January through April this year, a 43% year-over-year rise from last year. But here’s where the pivot is taking place- many states and cities are devoting their campaign efforts with an emphasis on luring regional travelers. With a more localized focus, marketers are hoping to appeal to those committed to traveling, but also forced to change their big plans due to budget constraints. Wait… isn’t this everyone?
A fair example is the state of Indiana’s latest tourism campaign. Featuring the tagline “IN Indiana,” the main focus of the campaign is to attract citizens from both within the state, and along border states. The advertising aims to shed light on local features that are either unknown or simply not top of mind to locals and neighboring citizens. Think the Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, Indiana Dunes National Park and the University of Notre Dame. Sure, it’s not your bucket list, dream vacation. But to an Indiana local, it could be a quick weekend getaway that doesn’t force anyone to take out a second loan.
Meta shows off some prototypes.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Reality Labs creators presented their work at a virtual roundtable last week. With tens of billions of dollars supporting its XR efforts, the company’s conversation with the press was intended to shine a bit of light onto what that money is actually accomplishing. (TBH, I’ve been curious myself.) The company unveiled new prototypes as a part of the division’s roadmap toward lightweight, hyper-realistic virtual reality graphics. See photo above. Looks like something straight out of The Matrix. Or Doc Brown’s garage. Whichever reference you prefer.
The highly anticipated, high-end headset codenamed Project Cambria was also detailed at the event. The device is set to be Meta’s next best VR headset, and will cater to more than just gaming- perhaps replacing your work PC or laptop. Zuck was sure to reiterate his ultimate goal, which is to provide a device designed to make VR “indistinguishable from reality.” Cool… and terrifying.
President Biden asks Congress for gas tax holiday.
Biden called for a three-month suspension of the federal gasoline tax in an attempt to combat record prices. The president also urged states to temporarily suspend state fuel taxes, which are often even higher than federal rates. The gas tax holiday would suspend the 18.4 cent federal tax on each gallon of gas and 24.4 cents on each gallon of diesel fuel for gas producers. If passed by Congress, experts expect the move will only provide temporary relief. Plus, the funds would take away a cool $10 billion dollars from the Highway Trust Fund, which is utilized to fix crumbling bridges, address the spike in traffic deaths, and build modern infrastructure systems. You know, minorly important things.
So, where’s the long term solution? More gas. Any lasting relief for consumers at the pump will require rebuilding dwindling supplies. The release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is likely to help, as well as growing production from US producers. Another solution? Consumers could cut back. And when we’re at the point in the Texas summer where that metal part of your seatbelt could impose a third-degree burn, this isn’t a terrible idea.
Best of the Week
Stats to See
The Reuters Institute’s annual Digital News Report. Interesting figures, but the overall summary is to be expected. News fatigue is at an all time high. And so is news mistrust. Shocker.
Our favorite marketing team (besides us) shares five success stories from businesses using the StoryBrand framework. We’re big believers in SB, so we give this episode all the thumbs up.
Meet Sophie, our newest teammate and BFFL! Sophie will serve as our Account Management Intern this summer. She’s a Mizzou tiger, a Dance Moms fanatic, and we’re thrilled to have her.
The newsletter team will take a holiday for the fourth, but we would never leave you hanging without some patriotic tunes. Enjoy our red, white and blue playlist. Happy Independence Day, friends!
More News from the Week.
- Kraft Macaroni and Cheese will officially change its name to Kraft Mac & Cheese. Groundbreaking stuff.
- Quit your job! Why? Because Beyonce said so.
- Nearly 500 people reported food poisoning from a Daily Harvest meal. The company is offering a $10 voucher to those affected, which totally makes up for it.
- Elon Musk says new Tesla plants are billion dollar ‘money furnaces.’ Promising.
- And now, a fun read to kick off the week. The Greatest Life Hacks in the World (for Now).