February 05, 2023 BY Jacey Edwards in Newsletter
Love (and controversy) is in the air: NL #128
V-Day Conversation St❤️ers
Here’s your reminder folks, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
You know, for a holiday that’s all about love, it’s only slightly surprising that some historians trace the origins of Valentine’s Day back to an ancient pagan festival. But is that really different from the candy-coated, diamond-studded, petal-powered, marketing carnival that it is today? Tomayto tomahto. Valentine’s Day is here to stay, and as long as there’s chocolate, that’s ok with me.
Here’s what we can expect for this year’s day o’ love:
Big spending: Americans plan to fork over a record $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day, up from $23.9 billion in 2022. Those who plan on spending will be eyeing the usual holiday buys: candy (57%), greeting cards (40%), flowers (37%), a night out (32%), and jewelry (21%). Millennials top the charts as the highest spending demographic and are expecting to drop $336 on average to celebrate the big day. That’s a lot of giant teddy bears.
Winning, short-form content: Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram have quickly become the go-to shopping channels for millennials and Gen Z consumers. These crowds will be flocking to the apps for gift ideas, inspiration for the perfect romantic getaway, and ways to make the holiday memorable for their special someone. Brands that push short, digestible content centered around moments and experiences will win big this year.
Enough love to go around: Valentine’s Day may have started out as an ode to romantic love, but brands like Teleflora are making room for other “love interests” in a heartwarming V-Day ad about a teacher and her class. (I’m not crying, you’re crying.) Offshoots of the holiday like Galentines, Palentines, and even pet-themed love days are making the statement that the holiday isn’t just reserved for couples. Turns out, when you celebrate love of all shapes and sizes, there’s even more room for brands to show up where they haven’t before.
Whatever your Valentine’s Day plans or non-plans are, I hope they include some of these Friends-themed conversation hearts. Afterall, is there anything more endearing than a heart-y “How YOU doin’?” I think not. (Unless you’re on a break.)
M&M’s ‘spokescandies,’ Maya Rudolph, and the Super Bowl
Sometimes you can have your candy and eat it, too. At least that’s what Mars-Wrigley seems to be saying after pulling off one of the sweetest PR stunts of all time.
The story starts over a year ago when the candy company faced backlash for rebranding the look of it’s M&M’s mascots to reflect a “more dynamic, progressive world.” Critiques of the characters resurfaced again a few weeks ago, prompting the company to announce they were pulling the spokescandies indefinitely from the limelight. Their replacement? Actress and comedian, Maya Rudolph. Sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.
This news, of course, broke the internet. (And was quoted on Twitter over 22,000 times.) Then, just five days later, the New York Times confirmed a rumored twist: the spokescandies would indeed be back . . . for the Super Bowl. And after that? Forever and always. Don’t mess with America and her candies, folks.
What I would give to be a fly on the wall at M&M’s PR meetings. Checkmate, culture wars.
The DOJ files suit against Google
The Department of Justice, along with eight other states, is suing Google for running an illegal monopoly in a digital ad market.
In a press conference, U.S. Attorney General, Merrick Garland cited Google’s 15-years of “anti-competitive conduct that has allowed it to halt the rise of rival technologies . . . forcing advertisers and publishers to use its tool.” The suit claims that Google allegedly keeps at least 30 cents of each advertising dollar, which Google admits would not occur regularly in a competitive market. Yikes.
The DOJ also alleges that Google gives priority to ads on its own properties by routing the most profitable ones to destinations like Search and YouTube. Then, Google uses knowledge of the prices sellers will charge for their ads before offering buyers a lower price to ensure they get routed through its system. In this equation, Google gets several pieces of the advertising pie: one from the buyers, one from the sellers, and one for handling the sale. If true, this is not a good look.
Unsurprisingly, the tech giant is planning to fight tooth and nail against the suit, claiming that it gives too much power to the DOJ to “pick winners and losers,” and would “hinder innovation, raise ad fees, and hurt small businesses.”
The case is slated to go to trial in September. BRB, just grabbing some popcorn.
Best of the Week
Stats to see
Experts are projecting a 6% jump in ad spending this year as digital priorities continue to shift. Dig more into the breakdown here.
Readers are leaders
We may be Tegan Digital, but we like to go analog once in a while, too. Here’s what’s currently on our team’s eclectic reading list: Making Numbers Count: The Art & Science of Communicating Numbers, Atomic Habits, Loonshots, Bringing up Bebe, Beautiful World, Where Are You, and Horse.
We’re thrilled to announce that Tegan is officially teaming up with the Dallas-based commercial real estate firm, ROCKCAP Company. Besides becoming BFFs, we have some exciting projects in the works with these fine folks. Read all about them here.
Ahhh, love is in the airwaves. Get in the mood with some of our Valentine’s Day favorites.
More News from the Week
- Chick-flicks and chill. Netflix is teaming up with Bumble to play matchmaker for TV soulmates.
- Hold on to your Hawaiian shirts. Trader Joes announced their 14th Annual Customer Choice Awards winners. Without even consulting our expertise. We’ll be here “trying” to get over it.
- Google’s new AI turns text into music, and it’s pretty wild. Watch out T-Swift, here we come.
- After a two year ban, Meta is allowing Donald Trump back on its platforms. (With a few guardrails in place.) What could go wrong?
- Marie Kondo is giving up. In the most relatable twist ever, the queen of “sparking joy” by tidying up isn’t quite so organized these days after welcoming a 3rd child.