Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: August 17, 2020

Marketing’s stupidest religion

Among all the dumb things that marketers believe, my favorite is the voodoo of generational uniqueness -- like Millennials, or Gen Z, or Baby Boomers. These groups are often treated as new species of humans who are profoundly individual and have to be explained to us by our industry's high priests of sociological claptrap.

This idiocy exists because every 20 years or so the research industry has to come up with new fresh and mysterious "generational" horseshit to sell to marketing dimwits. And, of course, we eat this shit up.

As I've been writing for years, there is just as much variation within generations as there is between generations. But marketers, too lazy or too stupid to figure this out, accept the existence of these imaginary consumer segments in order to avoid the difficult and esoteric task of thinking.

Recently, BBH Labs in the UK released a study that wonderfully undermines the silliness. It's called "Puncturing the Paradox: Group Cohesion and the Generational Myth." Read it here. As part of their study, they created something called a "Group Cohesion Score." The Group Cohesion Score calculates the single-mindedness of a group of people. Presumably people whose beliefs and behaviors are similar will have higher Group Cohesion Scores.

And, to the surprise of absolutely no one with their head screwed on straight, the high Group Cohesion Scores among "generational" segments are nowhere to be found. In fact, people who eat nuts every day have a higher Group Cohesion Score than Millennials. Crossword puzzle doers, and Orangina drinkers have higher group cohesion than Baby Boomers.

As the study concludes, "The truth is that these ‘generations’ are simply random collections of people who share no special connection beyond being born within two decades of each other." – Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

Longtime Star columnist Richard Gwyn, dead at 86, set the standard for Canadian political journalism

Journalist, author and political commentator Richard Gwyn has died at age 86 following a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Born into a life of privilege mapped out for him in Great Britain, Gwyn instead emigrated to Canada at the age of 20 and forged a brilliant career in newspapers, television and as a historian, writing biographies of Newfoundland premier Joey Smallwood, prime minister Pierre Trudeau and finally, in his 70s, a well-received two-volume biography of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.

He was a long-time columnist at the Toronto Star, beginning as a national affairs writer in 1973, following five years as a federal public servant in Trudeau’s government. – Francine Kopun, The Star

Federal cabinet says wholesale broadband rates could stifle investment but declines to overturn ruling

The federal cabinet says the new, lower rates that Canada’s large phone and cable companies are allowed to charge smaller internet providers for access to their networks could lead to less investment in telecom infrastructure.

However, the Governor in Council declined to overturn the August 2019 ruling by Canada’s telecom regulator that reduced wholesale broadband rates, saying it would be premature to do so because the CRTC is already in the midst of reviewing its decision. – Alexandra Posadzki, The Globe and Mail (subscription)

CRTC to spend $750M to connect 51 communities with broadband

Five northern community broadband projects in the N.W.T., Yukon and northern Manitoba will share in $72 million of Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Broadband Fund money.

According to a press release from the CRTC Wednesday, the projects are designed to improve broadband internet service for about 10,100 households in 51 communities.

The CRTC will dedicate $750 million to projects that improve broadband services in rural and remote communities over the next five years. Many communities in the North rely on slower satellite data connections for internet service. – Anna Desmarais, CBC News

CTV snags TIFF Tribute Awards

Honourees include Sir Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, film director Chloé Zhao (Songs My Brother Taught Me and The Rider), and filmmaker Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake, Queen of Katwe and Salaam Bombay!). The one-hour tribute show will be broadcast Sept. 15 on CTV and its affiliated platforms and globally streamed by Variety.

More commuters now walk or bike to work than take public transit

Prior to the pandemic, 75% of workers commuted by private vehicle, 13% used public transit, 7% walked or cycled to work and about 1% used another mode of transportation. Fewer than 1 in 20 workers teleworked (4%).

Although private vehicles remain the most common mode of commuting since the onset of the pandemic, its share has declined from 75% to 67% in June. The decrease in the proportion of workers using public transit was even more pronounced, falling from 13% to 3% of workers—half the rate of those who walked or bicycled to work (6%). In June, 22% of Canadians were working from home and slightly less than 2% were using another mode of transportation.

One reason for the decline in private vehicle and public transit use may be attributable to the more than five-fold increase (from 4% to 22%) in Canadians working from home since the onset of the pandemic. – StatsCan

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