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Marketing to people not like you
NEWSLETTER for April 2020
New This Month

Kelly has 5 new topics to address what your teams or members need NOW. See the new topics here.

Also, you can hear Kelly share “Three Things Meeting Planners & Audiences Want in a Webinar” in her exclusive 2 minute video here.  

For webcast or speaking availability and fee information, contact Sally:  214-217-6103 or sally@mcdonaldmarketing.com 
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Did You Know?
Animal Crossing is Emerging as a Media Channel for Brands in Lockdown 
Just three days after its debut, Animal Crossing: New Horizons catapulted past titles such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Fifa 20 to claim the top spot on the official games chart.

So why the rush to play? The answer is a fortuitous collision of a game that is relaxing, rewarding and satisfyingly slow with a new worldwide population that is stressed, bored and idle. 

The aim of New Horizons is to turn a barren desert island into a colorful paradise through buying and trading objects and anthropomorphic animals. Crucially, if a player connects the Switch game to the internet, they can visit their IRL friends and chat to them in the cartoon island setting. Gamers’ avatars can be personalized with differing skin tones, hairstyles and clothing. 

It is the latter that’s providing a gateway for brands to enter the Animal Crossing world. 

Since the popularity of New Horizons catapulted Animal Crossing into the zeitgeist, a number of companies have produced their own ’official’ lines of clothing. These include Highsnobiety, which has recreated three of its collections in Nintendo form, and lifestyle brand 100 Thieves, which has brought its entire apparel line to the game. 

Animal Crossing is currently free for brands to join in, which is in contrast to other connected games. Epic’s Fortnite, for example, has actively pursued advertisers for in-game special events, while Electronic Arts’ The Sims inked a groundbreaking deal with Moschino in 2019. 

'Brands Are Really Going To Be Judged.' Companies Are Walking a Tightrope During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Like just about everyone, Hotels.com had to change plans when the pandemic arrived.

This spring, the travel-booking company had planned to run a set of commercials that debuted last year and included a spot called “My Dream.” In it, the company’s mascot, Captain Obvious, is riding in an airplane; his arm is pressed up against one fellow passenger and his fingers are dipping, with abandon, into another’s proffered bag of snacks. It was cute enough several months ago, in the old times. But it is out of sync with the new times, when consumers have been advised to cancel vacation plans, avoid flying, and generally stay six feet away from other humans. Companies of every stripe are suddenly faced with making such judgment calls in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, an open-ended calamity that has no obvious parallel for the advertising world.

After the Virus: 10 Consumer Trends for a Post Coronavirus World 

The prospect of a pandemic has been a well-known systemic risk for many years, but no one could have predicted the exact timing or nature of the current coronavirus crisis.

That’s often the way with trends: The big shifts are well-known; there are many weak signals; but it’s hard if not impossible to know exactly the timing and shape of the bell curve that most trends follow.

Here are 10 emerging consumer trends that offer powerful early signals of what people will value and what their priorities in a post-coronavirus world will be.

Why Walmart is seeing increased sales for tops, but not bottoms during the coronavirus crisis

With more and more people working from home, Walmart has picked up on an interesting trend: Tops have seen an increase in sales, while bottoms haven't. 
The reason? Teleworking. 

That's what Walmart's executive vice president of corporate affairs Dan Bartlett told Yahoo Finance on Thursday. Later, a spokesman for the company told CNN the same thing.

Changing America

Bored Teens, Vulnerable Parents—How Coronavirus Is Squeezing Gen X

I’ll admit that at first I thought the Reality Bites memes flying around social media during the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak were hilarious. An eye roll from Ethan Hawke or a shrug from Winona Ryder was the perfect way to encapsulate how Gen X was meeting this moment. 

But as the outbreak grew and then took hold, paralyzing entire cities and communities, I stopped being able to find the humor in it, not just because the virus was terrifying and seemingly everywhere, but because Gen X’ers, in the middle of our lives, were now in a particularly precarious position—worrying about our parents, who were both more vulnerable to the virus and seemed slow in grasping its seriousness, and our children, who are too old to be fully bossed around but still young enough to feel (misguidedly) invincible.

We are a generation best known for our collective slacker reputation, but it dawned on me fast that we would have to shed that persona to get through this.

My parents, in their ’70s, live 3,000 miles away, and I’ve started calling them daily. Before coronavirus, it was once or twice a week. Sometimes my mom would have to email and text before I picked up the phone. Though it’s gone unspoken now, we all probably know that I’m touching base each evening to ensure that neither of them has gotten sick, to attempt to maintain control over a situation that is entirely out of my control. 

On a group text with my friends, we check in to be sure that we are all holding up, then we shift to the bigger picture of what we’re all dealing with: One friend worries that her dad still insists on going to the office. Another asks if she should get her son tested. Yet another notes that her in-laws are fairly isolated and don’t seem to realize how long this might stretch out for. We commiserate, we empathize, we voice sincere concern (new for us!). We sign off with: “Stay healthy and stay sane!” Which encapsulates what a lot of Gen X’ers are wrestling with—being sandwiched between so many risks and so many generations and unable to solve much of anything. 

I reached out to Ada Calhoun, best-selling author of Why We Can’t Sleep, which explores the unique challenges that Gen X women face in midlife, to ask her what made this situation so unique for those of us raised on John Hughes films. “I’ve been thinking today about the timing for Gen X. A huge number of us are single and now have to shelter in place alone for possibly months. Many of the rest are dealing with kids home from school and aging parents who are right in the crosshairs of this disease,” she said. “So this is another perfect storm for Gen X: We have to figure out at-home learning while protecting our parents from dying, while possibly having no income for an indeterminate amount of time.”

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