Archive for September, 2011

Chipotle Goes Viral With “Back To The Start”

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

DISCLOSURE: This post was originally published September 29th. See the original + follow up comments on the Casanova Pendrill blog.

I’ve written before about Chipotle’s fresh marketing strategies, and this time they’ve delivered an incredible short film that is both an engaging and moving brand story.

Notice anything?

There’s no mention of dollar menus, happy meals, sizzling burgers or anything remotely associated with fast food – and why should it?

It doesn’t go head-to-head with the other fast food brands, and it doesn’t have to. In 2 minutes, Chipotle has created their own sub-category.

This is a much bigger idea than getting a quick meal at a drive through. It’s about a bigger purpose: going back to basics and treating food (and where it comes from) with respect and integrity.

Not only that, with over 1.2 Million views on YouTube, it shows you can earn a lot of attention online without traditional advertising.

BONUS: Check out the “Making of…” video


What The Wealth Gap Means For U.S. Latinos

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

DISCLOSURE: This post was originally published September 20th. See the original + follow up comments on the Casanova Pendrill blog.

A recently released study from the Pew Research Center says that the median wealth of white households in the U.S is 18 times greater than the wealth of Latino households.


1. The bursting of the housing market bubble in 2006

“Sixty-six percent of their [Latinos] net worth* derives from home equity,” Kochhar says. “And they are concentrated geographically in parts of the country such as California, Arizona, Florida and Nevada, where the housing downturn was most severe.”

Consequently, the average Hispanic family lost two-thirds of its wealth between 2005 and 2009.

Even though the recession officially ended in mid-2009 and the stock market has rebounded, Latinos have not benefited since such a small percentage are invested in stocks, mutual funds and retirement accounts. Meanwhile, the housing market has yet to recover.

2. The recession that followed from late 2007 to mid-2009

Hispanics are more likely to be unemployed due to the recession, forcing them to dig into assets (like savings or pensions funds) or increasing their debt load (through credit cards, education loans, etc.).

As a result, about 1/3 of Hispanic households had zero or negative net worth at the end of the recession in 2009 — twice the level of white families.

What does this mean for brands?

The news can be disheartening to brands as consumers reevaluate purchases and disposable income, however, there’s still some positive news:

  1. Household wealth, which, in the case of Latinos, is mainly derived from home equity, has no direct effect on spending power. Although it can be psychologically and emotionally damaging, the loss of home equity does not also mean a reduction in income.
  2. Simmons data (Winter 2011 NHCS Adult Survey 12-month) shows us that compared to the Total Population, Latinos are optimistic about an economic recovery and their ability to make purchases:
  • Economic Outlook – Next 12 months: Significantly Better Off (Index 117)
  • Economic Outlook – Next 12 months: Significantly Better Off (Index 165)
  • Buy Big Ticket Items – Last 30 Days: (Index 130)
  • Household Essentials – Expect to Spend: A Lot Less (Index 121), but we also see A Lot More (Index 126)
  • I Go Shopping Frequently: (Index 120)
  • Hard To Resists Kids Requests for Non-Essentials: (Index 140)
  • Movie Attendance – How Often Last 30 Days: 3-4 (Index 133) and 5+ (Index 186)

It’s true – many Latinos are struggling financially. We’re seeing it in the data and we’re seeing it first-hand in ethnographies across the country.

Even so, Latinos will continue to spend and it’s important for brands to understand how to make their products relevant to this growing consumer base — that’s a topic for future posts :)


* Household wealth is the accumulated sum of assets (houses, cars, savings and checking accounts, stocks and mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc.) minus the sum of debt (mortgages, auto loans, credit card debt, etc.). It is different from household income, which measures the annual inflow of wages, interest, profits and other sources of earning. Wealth gaps between whites, blacks and Hispanics have always been much greater than income gaps.

Source: Study Shows Racial Wealth Gap Grows WiderNPR

Source: Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics” – Pew Research Center


Who Do Millenial Men Consider Role Models Today? Not Who You Think.

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

DISCLOSURE: This post was originally published August 19th. See the original + follow up comments on the Casanova Pendrill blog.

A recent AdAge article talks about a study conducted by regarding men and role models. The results are somewhat surprising:

1. There’s been a shift where Gen Pop men consider entrepreneurs as their most ideal models, before athletes and entertainers.

“Today’s men want to succeed in their careers and they don’t see that happening in any traditional way. They understand that, perhaps now more than ever, success requires that entrepreneurial combination of vision and invention. There is no career ladder to the position of a Steve Jobs or a Mark Zuckerberg.”

Whereas the last generation focused on getting “good” jobs as doctors, lawyers and accountants, today’s man has realized that following this “career ladder” with a predetermined destination doesn’t necessarily equate happiness. The result is an urge to become self-made, even if that means straying from the more conventional path (I think the other part of it is a desire for guys to make stuff – look at the interest in DIY culture).

2. A desire for more financial freedom

“According to the 2010 survey of Millennials by Euro RSCG, men are six times as likely as women (12% vs. 2%) to choose “money” as the thing that best describes happiness. But these out-sized ambitions have as much to do with freedom as with wealth. When answering the same question — “What best describes happiness to you?” — 22% of men vs. 13% of women chose “freedom” as the No. 1 factor. Perhaps what men find most attractive about entrepreneurship is exactly that: the freedom to be the master of your own destiny. “

Money will always be a motivational driver, even if it’s just for the bare necessities. Many guys today, however, appear to be more interested in using their hard-earned dollars to explore other channels for happiness (Ex: travel, dining out, shopping, learning a new skill, etc.), instead of sitting back and admiring their growing bank accounts.

3. Men are buying higher quality items, like Apple products, because these men are confident in their future success and think it’s important to invest in themselves.

This is an important point to keep in mind — look at the declining sales of “throw-away” fashion retailers like H&M and Zara. Or the back to basics positioning and emphasis on craftsmanship in the Levi’s “Made and Crafted” line. Or Chrysler’s “Made In Detroit” Super Bowl spot:

Recent research has shown us that there’s a greater desire, for both young males AND females, regardless of race or ethnicity, to carve out their own path to success.

I wonder how Latino men would respond: Who are their role models? What do you think are their greatest motivations and ambitions?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments!!

Categories: CULTURE

What does “American Psycho” Have To Do With Yelp?

September 29, 2011 1 comment

DISCLOSURE: This post was originally published June 21st. See the original + follow up comments on the Casanova Pendrill blog.

“Patterns of media consumption have been profoundly altered by new media technologies that enable us to archive, annotate, appropriate and recirculate media content.” — Joshua Green & Henry Jenkins, “The Moral Economy of Web 2.0″

Just wanted to share a quick observation from something I saw on Twitter the other day.

Someone had tweeted about how Dorsia in NYC wasn’t a cool restaurant to go to anymore. Fans of author Bret Easton Ellis or “American Psycho” — either the book of the movie with Christian Bale, may remember that this was one of the main character’s hangouts.

But here’s where it gets interesting:

There was a link to Dorsia’s Yelp page and there were tons of reviews about the restaurant.

Keep in mind, Dorsia is a fictional restaurant – IT DOESN’T EXIST. As an interesting aside, the majority of the interviews were just quoting comments the main character made in either the movie or the book; it’s pretty funny if you’re a fan like me :)

So now you’re like, “OK — so what?”

Well here’s my Planner analysis:

A fan of “American Psycho” took it upon himself (or herself) to create a Yelp page with fake reviews. Other fans latched onto the idea and followed suit. Bud Caddell has written some clever stuff before about Fan-dom and I think this is just another example or people taking a brand – in this case the AP book/film and making it their own.

On the flip side, we have BP who tried to PREVENT the creation of online content about their brand.

Last year during the oil spill fiasco, someone took it upon himself to create a fake Twitter account – @BPGlobalPR – to poke fun and spread news about the company. BP tried to shut the account down, was unable to and the end result was that it just drew more attention to the Twitter account and more followers.

I remember the same thing happened when the film version of “The Davinci Code” came out – the Catholic church protested the movie’s release and told people not to see the movie. So what happened? People went to see the movie (doesn’t the church know about reverse psychology?).

I know that many big brands/clients can feel a great deal of anxiety when people do stuff like this – repurpose your brand in a way that you did not anticipate, but it CAN be a way to grow your brand in positive ways you never imagined.

Categories: SOCIAL MEDIA

Less Optimism for Today’s Young People

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

DISCLOSURE: This post was originally published May 6th. See the original + follow up comments on the Casanova Pendrill blog.

A recent article from The New York Times points to a Gallup survey that says, “…for the first time on record, most Americans said they did not believe today’s young would have better lives than their parents…”

As Keanu Reeves so astutely proclaimed in The Matrix, “WHOA.”

This is big news.

It’s big because people generally talk about the U.S. as the land of opportunity. If you can “make it” anywhere in the world, this is the place. It’s the reason both my parents emigrated to the United States and the reason many foreigners continue to do so today.

But things are changing.

People used to believe that a middle class family who worked hard and saved money could afford a house, an education and a comfortable life.

Well, now, maybe not so much. We need to keep in mind some of the challenges we face as a society:

Oh, and the economy still needs a little work too — “Fully 80 percent of people say the economy is in fairly bad or very bad shape, according to a New York Times/CBS Poll last month.” Source: The New York Times, “A Mission Not Yet Accomplished

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So what does this mean for Latinos, especially those still in other countries, like Mexico, who are considering moving north?

How does this affect their perceptions – do they think of the U.S. as the BEST option or just a BETTER option for themselves and their families?

These are big questions and the answers may reveal themselves over time. The most recent Census data tells us that 1 in 6 Americans, roughly 50.5 million, are Latino. This accounts for more than half (56%) the national growth since 2000. And even though the larger share of our growth is coming from births instead of immigration, Latino newcomers are still a substantial portion of the market.

It will be interesting to see if growth over the next 10 years matches projections or if immigration will start to decline.

What do you think? Is the American dream still alive and well? And what impact does this have on people who are considering the U.S. as their future home?

On another note, I highly suggest reading this NYTimes article, “The Experience Economy,” as a companion to this post. It’s a good observation of the past century’s shift in values.

Categories: TRENDS
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