Each week, Padilla’s Insights + Strategy team stands at the intersection of people, culture and brands to bring you five stories that you can read in five minutes.
1. Facts on identifying opinions.
In a reanalyzed study released this week, Pew found that Americans (18-49) are better at distinguishing facts from opinions in the news. Furthermore, ideological slants of news stories didn’t reduce their ability to correctly categorize a statement. Why should you care? This difference was partially explained by weaker party affiliations and greater “digital savviness” among Americans aged 18-49. However, younger Americans did not align with other characteristics that made someone more likely to correctly identify a fact such as higher political awareness and trust in the national media. Therefore, whatever the medium, if targeting younger Americans, don’t try to pass off an opinion as a fact because they’ll likely know the difference (and won’t thank you for the deception). [Pew Research Center]
2. Reward points beyond rebates.
Tesco is using customer data, acquired through the Clubcard loyalty program, to identify what “triggers” healthy behaviors so they can encourage their shoppers to make healthier choices. Why should you care? This new initiative will allow app users to receive healthy recipes from Jamie Oliver based on what they buy. Tesco will also use this to understand what “health” means to their customers to refine their promotions to encourage healthier behaviors. Given the data scandals this past year, it would be easy to be skeptical. However, in the past few years, Tesco has made several changes to make their stores encourage health, such as giving kids a free piece of fruit instead of candy at checkout or calling out healthier substitutions available in the store for the same cost or less. Customers will likely trust Tesco with their data, because they have done the important legwork by demonstrating their commitment to health and being open about how customer data will be used. [Marketing Week]
3. Philosophy 101 for cars.
A paper published this week in Nature illustrated divergences in moral preferences across different cultures and economies. In other words, cultures don’t agree on the answer to dilemmas like the “classic trolley problem” where, if a trolley derails and the only two options are 1) take no action and hit 5 people on the current path or 2) take action by switching tracks and hit one person, who do you save? Why should you care? This study was the largest of its kind and though researchers advise against directly implementing the findings, it gives us important insights. For example, when presented with scenarios like the “trolley problem” in the study, individualistic cultures (like the US) tended towards saving more individuals and younger people while collectivist cultures (like Japan) tended towards saving fewer individuals and older people. As we advance in areas such as autonomous cars, where some elements of decision-making will be relinquished to technology, it is important to recognize that moral preferences aren’t universal and cars may need to be programmed to reflect different cultures. [MIT Technology Review]
4. Memes under scrutiny in Europe.
A group of academics from Loughborough University wrote a letter to a British parliamentary committee on the negative impacts of memes on youth health. They argue that memes “have the potential to normalize undesirable behaviors,” “contain inappropriate material or ridicule others by race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, body shape, religion, diet,” and cause large-scale harm when they “carry political, corporate or other agendas without priorities tailored to the needs of 13 to 16-year-olds.” Why should you care? Since September, the Swedish government has denounced the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme as sexist and the European Parliament passed a copyright law that may significantly restrict the ability to create and share memes. On the surface, this seems a bit…puritanical (and just asking to be meme). However, Europe is often ahead of the United States with consumer protections, so this should be on the radar. [CNN]
5. Planting trees in exchange for views.
Busch Beer recently launched an ad on YouTube, where for every full view of the “Tree-roll” ad, Busch will plant a tree as part of their partnership with the National Forest Foundation. Why should you care? The ad itself is fun. This is also a clever trick to get people to watch an ad. Rather than targeting people they know are passionate about the environment, they shamelessly target everyone’s conscience. Even those not enthused by environmental causes, would likely rather wait the 37 seconds for the ad to finish then feel guilty for hitting “Skip Ad” and knowingly preventing a tree from being planted. [Food and Wine]
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