Top 10 List: Reopening Trends You Need To Know About

Top 10 List: Reopening Trends You Need To Know About
Tracking the reopening has turned into a full-time gig for me

It’s 9/11 today and just as I never quit the city in the months after the World Trade Center attack, I simply can’t imagine leaving the city at this time.

  • This week was also supposed to be the start of my cross-country road trip but I am staying put because it’s far more exciting to be here to witness my city getting back on its feet.
  • The people of New York are getting their mojo back and in the process, transforming the city into a better, more creative, more welcoming metropolis. And it’s happening DESPITE all the impediments our bozo mayor puts in our way.
  • All my nomadic plans have been put on hiatus until next August when (fingers crossed) I will be departing on my next NatGeo trip.
  • In the meantime, I’m staying in the city to support New York in general and local businesses in particular, especially restaurants.
  • But I also know that just by being here I’m broadening my horizons. The last six months have been stressful AF but also empowering in a strange way, filled with new and unfamiliar experiences. I’ve met amazing people and become much closer to my longtime friends.
  • I also got out and about as soon as it was viable to do so. Being locked up at home is definitely not my thing.

As one of my favorite astrologers wrote this week:

Strive to make even the most trivial encounter a positive learning experience. The same function can be served by doing things that are different from your normal routine. This is not the time to retreat to your home.  Recognize that you are still eager for new understanding and satisfy this need by breaking out of your everyday mold and getting out into the broader world.

AstroDienst
Which brings me to This week’s Top 10 List

A big emphasis this week on art and entertainment. The artworld reopening warms the cockles of my heart. I am also thrilled to report that Brad (for those of you who know him) is in a major show of Contemporary Native Artists at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. It opened on September 4th and runs through January 3, 2021. If you’re heading to Phoenix or Scottsdale, check it out.

Scroll down for more on what made it onto this week’s Top 10 List.
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Walmart’s Super Bowl Commercial Is The Big Winner Today!

Walmart’s Super Bowl Commercial Is The Big Winner Today!

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and without the Packers playing, I’m ONLY interested in the commercials. Here are six favorites plus the award for most cringeworthy.

My litmus test for what makes a great commercial is pretty simple but my standards are high.

Commercials have to be memorable, engaging, persuasive and eminently deserving of the Super Bowl platform. To do that, they have to deliver on #1 and #2 below while absolutely steering clear of #3.

  1. Blaze a fresh trail creatively. Sometimes this means putting a new spin on an old brand that lets us see it with new eyes. While I’ve been a Walmart customer for a long time, the Walmart spot signals the brand is making major strides in becoming more contemporary and is a leader when it comes to retail. Absolutely stellar and fun with strong, highly relevant messaging.
  2. Show me a breakthrough innovation, e.g., Hyundai’s Remote Smart Parking Assist technology. I don’t have a car and don’t plan to get one but this ad is going to have me talking (and plenty of others as well). Equally important, with all the car companies advertising on the Super Bowl, this spot is memorable as coming from Hyundai. No confusion as to whether it’s Kia or Audi or GM that’s offering remote smart parking.
  3. Avoid being heavy handed or emotionally manipulative. I detest treacly, sentimental, pandering commercials. I don’t know why that fake feel-good stuff is such a turnoff but it makes me cringe. And certain brands just can’t help themselves from going there. every. single. time (talking to you Budweiser).

I also want to add that I recognize that the majority of the Super Bowl commercials are not intended for my 65+ cohort. However, I’m weighing in because my age group is the fastest growing and we buy everything from cars to candy to beverages (adult and otherwise).


Here then are the top commercials from this year’s super bowl.
1. WALMART – the winner.

Kudos to Publicis Groupe’s Department W.

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I Went Down The Bang Energy Drink Influencer Rabbit Hole. Nasty.

I Went Down The Bang Energy Drink Influencer Rabbit Hole. Nasty.

WOW! I should have been a detective! Read on for what I uncovered yesterday.

I read about Adam Weitsman, the scrap king, of Upstate New York who has been named one of the Top 10 Entrepreneur Instagram Influencers by VIP Media and HighKey Agency (two companies I had never heard of and could find nothing on even though I googled like mad).

Besides the scrap king, the Top 10 list was comprised mainly of “fitness influencers” who were half-naked young women not shy about displaying their best assets. I find this display of T&A a bit tacky but it is how the Kardashians got their entrepreneurial start so who am I to judge, right?

But something just didn’t smell right about this whole situation so I checked out the influencers’ Instagram accounts and the one thing that kept popping up was Bang Energy Drink.

I googled some more and that’s when I came across this incredible video by Ryan Trahan, a Texas teenager who has has over 2.25 million subscribers on YouTube.

He had gone down the same rabbit hole and wow did he turn up some juicy stuff. It’s totally worth watching even at 18 minutes. Especially worth it if you want to understand more about the tawdry world of influencers and the brands that exploit them. Wow, just wow! And if you do watch, don’t let the first 30 seconds turn you off. Keep watching. It’s worth it. I promise.

Ryan Trahan, you are my man. Genius video!

Scroll down to see more of this current crop of Bang Energy influencers.
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Alien And UFO Sightings On The Rise. What Gives?

Alien And UFO Sightings On The Rise. What Gives?

Anybody else picking up on this? From the U.S. Navy drafting new guidelines for pilots to report encounters with “unidentified aircraft” to a Gallup Poll that found one-third of Americans now believe alien UFOs have visited the earth. Most recently, the UK’s first astronaut, went on record to say: “aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it.”

I’m intrigued that Astronauts believe aliens exist.

“I believe extraterrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this planet from other planets. Every day, in the USA, our radar instruments capture objects of form and composition unknown to us.”

Gordon Cooper, American Astronaut
celebrities (of course!) have forged a special kinship with aliens

Celebrity believers include Kesha, Nick Jonas and Khloe Kardashian. West Coast celebs typically claim to have seen UFOs and spaceships hovering in their backyards. Alien explorers, it appears, are as captivated by “influencers” as are we Earthlings.

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Instagram Bombarding You With Ads? Me Too. So Sneaky.

Instagram Bombarding You With Ads? Me Too. So Sneaky.

Instagram’s user growth is slowing but their ad revenue is booming. In 2020, it’s expected to grow by 46% to $13.86 billion. Yikes! You know what that means?

Newly introduced ads in different parts of the app, like the “Discover” tab, open up more inventory for advertisers. Shoppable ads are currently in beta on the platform, but we expect that they will play a major role in future growth.”

e-Marketer
The ad meisters of social are doing a bang-up job

Those smart (but sneaky) folks over at Instagram/Facebook have made great strides in figuring me (us?) out.

Over the last few months, I’ve started to get more relevant ads in my feed. Almost all the sponsored content coming my way focuses on the specific types of travel, health and fitness, fashion and home furnishings that I like, e.g., adventure travel to Easter Island, zero beaches.

What’s sneaky is that Instagram’s knowledge of my specific interests is being fed to them directly by Facebook. Facebook is where I routinely post my blog, e.g., when I did a post about wanting to replace my linens, I immediately started getting sponsored content from The Citizenry Home Goods and Brooklinen Luxury Bedding. Same thing happened when I wrote about Botox.

What Facebook and Instagram have not (seemingly?) figured out yet is how to distinguish between a topic being covered positively vs. negatively. For example, I wrote about the Keto Diet and slammed it but Facebook’s algorithms clearly believe that “any press is good press.” I’ve been getting tons of sponsored content around various Keto diets. If Facebook’s algorithms were up to snuff they would figure out that based on what I’ve written about Keto, I have zero interest in faddish diets.

What to Expect from Instagram in the future?

Expect Instagram to follow the Facebook model, i.e., more ads, more clutter, less info from and about your friends.

Expect Instagram to become THE social shopping site (if it isn’t already).

Expect Instagram’s growth to stall (at the still impressive 1 billion+) while Tik Tok attracts younger users. Plus, I hear Snapchat is having a bit of a resurgence.

Bottom Line.

Instagram will ultimately be populated by the same older crowd that is currently on Facebook. The cool kids, meanwhile, are migrating to newer, more fun sites like Tik Tok as well as to upstart sites not even on our radar yet!

What these newer sites all have in common is that they require a level of tech artistry that only the young(ish) are willing to master. And that means it will be fun for people like me to visit Tik Tok as a tourist but it won’t be where the Facebook/Instagram crowd lives.

The kids will finally have a room of their own!

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Fascinating To See All The New Ways We’re Consuming Books.

Fascinating To See All The New Ways We’re Consuming Books.

The biggest gamechanger for me has been the Blinkist app (which I’ve written about previously). Although not specifically called out in this recent WaPo article, the writer does credit technology along with streaming TV, and the surprise comeback of the indie bookstore as the main reasons for the radical transformation of the book industry and the uptick in reading.

Here’s my edited take on the WaPo piece highlighting the major changes in the industry. If you’re into publishing or work in the entertainment industry, highly recommend you read the article in its entirety. Link here.

Here are the 11 trends that have most changed how (and what) we read:
1. the indie bookstore has made a comeback as chains crumble

From a low point in 2009, the indie bookstore ranks rose by more than 50% as store owners figured out how to create connections with their communities and offer an artisanal experience that their online nemesis can’t.

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Snapchat’s Predictions On What’ll Be Cool And Fun In 2020

Snapchat’s Predictions On What’ll Be Cool And Fun In 2020

If anyone has friends and family coming for the holidays, check out this Snapchat survey of what the cool kids (i.e., 18-24 year olds) are into nowadays. Hopefully, you did not toss your old Monopoly and Uno games because they’re trending big time. Overall, if there’s a theme to this, it’s Retro-Contempo, i.e., old school fun with a contemporary twist.

Big thanks to both Snapchat for the fun info and to Social Media Today for putting it on my radar. And big shout out to my friends, Erika and John, who always host the best game days – I miss you guys!

Scroll down for Snapchat’s most buzzworthy fun and games.
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2020: New Year, New Decade. Are You Ready?

2020: New Year, New Decade. Are You Ready?

What a crazy decade it’s been, right? And as we head into 2020, all I can say is buckle up because it’s only going to get weirder. And while this post is NOT meant to offer any kind of all-inclusive list of trends, I do believe that every topic I have included will impact our lives in the future. One thing I am absolutely certain of: change is inevitable and it’s coming at us faster than ever, mostly because of technology and the power of social media.

My criteria for what to include (or not) in this “next decade” post is based on the work I’ve been doing with trends and culture shifts for the Opinionator since its founding in 2014. It’s been extremely helpful to see which themes have gradually become more prominent, what topics have received the most comments and shares, and, importantly, what countertrends are developing as we become a more pluralistic, multi-track society. Like it or not, we are increasingly moving away from being ONE nation and instead we’re seeking out “our” tribes among the myriad of micro-communities that have sprung up around us.

Looking ahead starts with looking back, then connecting the dots that define the present. Only then, can one get clarity about the future.”

Steve Jobs
Scroll down now to begin this journey into the future!
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