Sunnier Side Of The Home Office – September 16, 2020

"Now that I have your attention. VOTE Nov 3rd!!!" 

- Chris Evans, responding to his accidental NSFW Instagram post with a reminder to vote. At least he is making the most of the situation. 

Is the Selfie Emoji Dead?
By: Jessica Bedussi 

Scrolling through Twitter is like holding a giant mirror to culture. Every thread, image, and RT adds a layer to the current state of politics, fashion, and popular culture. Much of this conversation is done through Twitter’s official language: emojis. And as the world changes, so does emoji usage.

This week, Twitter Data released a thread detailing emoji trends since the pandemic that reflect changes in hobbies, personal habits, and fashion IRL.

With people spending more time indoors, their hobbies and exercise habits shifted accordingly. On Twitter, the yoga/meditation emoji grew 161 percent from 2019 while in the real world, yoga equipment saw a 154 percent increase. Hobbies reflect a desire to move off-screen as retailers like We Are Knitters saw an annual sales growth spike from 10 percent to 235 percent. The yarn ball emoji found its time to shine with a 67 percent increase in Twitter growth.

Personal style received a cozy makeunder. As we started buying more pajamas (143 percent increase from March to April) and less jeans, the selfie emoji decreased by 32 percent. Shelter-in-place shut down barbers and salons in many cities leading to a 32 percent decrease in the haircut emoji. With a shift toward a more au natural aesthetic, the beard emoji jumped up over 100 percent. 

The lasting effect of these emoji trends is TBD. Usage will likely shift as the novelty of shelter in place wears off and other cultural moments influence conversation. But who knows, maybe this is finally the death of the selfie emoji.

If You Give A Mouse A Discount...
By: Jiho Chung

To help reduce costs for their consumers’ mobile phone plans, AT&T’s CEO John Stankey introduced the “Sponsored Data” program in a recent Reuters interview. In short, this program will cut $5 to $10 from their plans in exchange for more advertising on the user’s device.

Even though consumers will pay slightly less, the telecommunications giant sees this as an opportunity for brands to take advantage of, especially since it will not interfere with the consumer’s data cap.

A win-win situation? Yes. Fair to all advertisers? Potentially not.

A few years ago, AT&T launched a similar experiment where services for sponsored data were also owned by AT&T: DirecTV, U-verse, and FullScreen; granting a heavy advantage when consumers are choosing between service providers (e.g., DirecTV vs Netflix). 

In addition to mobile plans, Stankey also commented about how HBO Go will also have a similar ad-supported tier, much like Hulu. Hardly a coincidence.

Tell Em Jack Sent You
By: Emily Menken

Travis Scott is a Gen-Z darling whose record-breaking Fortnite concerts and cult following delight anyone who is even casually on the Internet. His latest escapade is a highly-anticipated McDonald’s partnership, named after Travis Scott’s record label, Cactus Jack.

The collaboration features a merchandise collection with limited edition apparel and swag, a TV commercial, and Travis Scott’s signature order: “a Quarter Pounder With Cheese, fries with BBQ sauce and Sprite” called “the Travis Scott Meal”. Publications across the board, from Food & Wine to Complex, are taking note.

A week after the debut, the special meal is already selling out, with franchisees running out of ingredients. McDonald’s released a statement to USA Today: “In fact, it’s been so lit, some of our restaurants have temporarily sold out of some of the ingredients in the meal.” Note: The last time McDonald’s had a celebrity meal was in 1992, featuring Michael Jordan. 

The partnership is causing a scene, literally. Mr. Scott visited a McDonald’s in Los Angeles, starting an Instagram Live to update fans. 500 came (several unmasked). As such, Scott and the McDonald’s location have been fined for “failing to obtain event and filming permits”. 

Today (9/16), McDonald’s launched the Spicy Nugget, which will be sure to prompt even more e-boys and -girls to join the drive-through line. The brand is offering “spicesurance” for the spicy treat (in the form of a free 6-piece Classic Nugget) just in case the consumer is too weak for spice. 

Food collaborations might be 2020’s biggest trend: Charli D’Amelio and Dunkin Donuts also released a signature item. Charli has the highest follower count of anyone  on TikTok (not an exaggeration). "The Charli" is a concoction of cold brew, whole milk, and three pumps of caramel swirl.

Not surprisedly, our social media habits have gotten a significant boost during the pandemic. In a recent survey, 72% of the US and UK consumers who follow social media influencers are spending more time on social since the outbreak. And 64% of respondents are likely to continue using social media to the same extent once pandemic-related restrictions are lifted.