While kids reach into buckets of candy, adults are reaching deep into their wallets. An expected $7.4 billion will be spent on Halloween festivities in 2014, including over $2 billion on candy. Do you have a furry friend who likes to participate in the festivities? About $350 million will be spent on pet costumes. Check out the infographic below from Zanifesto to see more spooky spending.
In the world of academic anthropology the theories, hypotheses, and debates around human migration are a defining characteristic of the field. Entire careers are built on developing and/or supporting migration theories from the Multiregional vs. Out-of-Africa origin of biologically modern humans, to the Bering Strait land bridge vs. Atlantic crossing theories for the peopling of the New World.
While discussing the strengths, weakness, and supporting evidence of various migration hypotheses can be an interesting exercise in and of itself, what is particularly interesting about human migration patterns is thinking about how migration impacts cultural evolution.
A recent article from the NY times, “Where We Came From, State by State,” displays a fascinating series of infographics showing state-by-state migration trends from 1900 to the present for all 50 states. It is interesting to view this information while thinking about why state-to-state migration has changed, from the simple fact that automobiles made it significantly easier to move long distances, to economic factors both pushing and pulling people to or from certain places. It is also particularly interesting to view this data in the light of what it says about the collective culture of a state as a whole, from Nevada which has the largest percentage of residents born outside of Nevada (75%) to Louisiana which has the largest percentage of native born residents (79%).
North Carolina, where we are based here at W5, had the highest percentage of native born residents at the turn of the century (95%) while that number has decreased to 58% of residents born in North Carolina in 2012. So how has the culture of North Carolina changed as a result of this increasing influx of residents from outside of North Carolina?
A recently published book, “Talking Tar Heel,” details the history of language in North Carolina and how distinctive dialects and accents have changed over time. For an interesting overview of the ways language in North Carolina has both changed and stayed the same over the decades (and to hear some really interesting NC dialects) check out this North Carolina Public Radio podcast with one of the authors of the book.
So what does the data displayed in these infographics say about the culture of your state, and how has your state’s culture changed over the years? We would love to hear your perspectives! Leave a comment to share your thoughts!
The 17th Annual Black Hat cybersecurity conference wraps up today in Las Vegas. The conference rallies hackers, cybersecurity researchers and feds to discuss the latest hacks and newly found bugs. The hottest topic this year: challenging the security of Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT refers to the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing like devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. A few examples include smart TVs, webcams, wearable technologies, home thermostats, remote power outlets, sprinkler controls and automatic door locks, a natural target for hackers. According to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020 and ABI Research estimates that more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the IoT by 2020. And, while the IoT marketplace is forecasting to grow exponentially, plenty of us are already connected.
Is it easy to hack common IoT devices? Apparently so. A study by HP reveals that 70 percent of the most common IoT devices had security vulnerabilities ranging from the recent Heartbleed bug to weak password requirements. How Safe is your Quantified Self, a report by Symantec “found security risks in a large number of self-tracking devices and applications,” including the finding that “all of the wearable activity-tracking devices examined, including those from leading brands, are vulnerable to location tracking.”
What happens if your fitness tracker gets hacked? According to Symantec, the perpetrators could know:
• Mileage you are covering
• When and where you usually go running
• Where you live
• Your age, sex, height, and weight
• Your heart rate
• Your altitude
• Where and when you are on vacation
Curious to see how wearable technologies, smartphones, apps and social media have changed the way people use the Internet and interact with technology? Check out this infographic by 4A’s and Statista:
The Midwestern United States is often seen not as a place, but a region between places, a vast expanse of normality between the extremes of either coast. I’ve encountered people in New York or Los Angeles who proudly use their Midwestern roots as a personality heuristic that says “I’m nice. I’m approachable. I drink pop like everyone else.”
Geographically, Midwestern identity is more amorphous.
Sasaki, an environmental design group, is exploring how people draw the Midwest’s borders through MyMidwest, an online survey and mapping tool. Visitors trace the outline of the region and answer a couple of questions. Try it.
The results are interesting. People who were born and have lived in Illinois, the cradle of Midwestern civilization, draw a tight border along the western edge of the Dakotas and along the Ohio River. Californians who have spent little to no time in the Midwest, see Utah and Colorado as potential Midwestern states.
It is an interesting experiment in regional bias that explores both how we define home and the places that are not.
Over the past few decades, the bottled water industry has seen steady growth. Even in a down economy, sales for bottled water are booming with sales in the United States increasing 6.7 percent in 2012, to $11.8 billion, according to the International Bottled Water Association. It’s no surprise to see a trickle of new brands entering the marketplace in an effort to capture some of this liquid gold.
The latest product launch comes from our good friends at Nestle with the launch of resource Natural Spring Water, its domestically sourced premium still water brand with naturally occurring electrolytes for taste.
Larry Cooper, group marketing manager for resource, said the brand, which was introduced in Whole Foods in 2009, then Southern California in 2012 before its national rollout early this month, is intended for the most discriminating water drinker. “We look at bottled water as being at a more value, mainstream or premium level,” Mr. Cooper said. “And we have incredibly good coverage in those first two tiers, but we haven’t in all these years had a premium entry to compete with the Smartwater, Fijis and Evians of the world,” he continued, referring to the Glacéau, Fiji Water Company and Danone Waters of North America brands.
Keep in mind this is not new territory for Nestle. With over 30 years of experience providing healthy hydration in the bottled water segment, Nestle Waters North America is already a leader in the category producing six regional natural spring water brands in the United States, distributes three international brands, and produces Nestle Pure Life, its nationally distributed purified bottled water.
What is new for Nestle is the premium tier category where resource is making its splash. Speaking of splash, the official product launch was nothing short of premium. Actress Alyssa Milano introduced resource and co-hosted a consumer launch event in New York City. There, the brand also presented “Electrobatique-An Enchanting Discovery,” an original performance featuring water effects, aerial choreography and acrobatic dance and interactive projection design effects.
Shifting gears from water in the bottle to the big picture of water around the world, check out this great infographic produced by Seametrics, a manufacturer of water flow meter technology that measures and conserves water. The Water Rich vs The Water Poor looks at the disparity in water consumption between wealthy and underdeveloped nations.
Please excuse me while I take a moment to reconnect with my anthropological roots and contemplate an evolutionary explanation for the increasingly important position that online product videos occupy in the consumer path to purchase. According to this infographic (shown below) shoppers who view product videos are 174% more likely to purchase than those who do not, and there are other sources (found here and here) that further discuss the relationship between online product videos and increased engagement and sales.
Susan Weinschenk, a Ph.D. psychologist, explains why online video is persuasive (summarized here) by mentioning how humans are drawn to faces, voices, emotions and movement. However these are surface explanations of the deeper reason why humans seem to prefer moving pictures over other modes of communication.
The human species evolved to primarily understand the world around us through our most dominant sense of sight. When we describe something or someone we don’t first mention the way they sound or smell, as a dog might, but we focus on the way they look, describing attributes such as color or size. Because sight is our primary method of collecting information about our surroundings, it makes perfect sense that more people would prefer to watch a video about a product than read about that product.
While reading is something that most people do with their sense of sight, we must remember that blind people also read, and that reading is actually the mental interpretation of symbols. Reading is not a “natural” part of being human, rather it is a relatively recent (evolutionarily speaking) culturally constructed method of communication that has to be learned. On the other hand, watching visual stimuli and listening to spoken voice is an innate part of humanity that has a much deeper evolutionary history. This attraction to visual stimuli in the form of video can have quite a magnetic pull, as anyone who has seen a child mesmerized by TV can attest to.
Just as the emotion of fear has been used by marketers to drive behavior by tapping into our primal urges for acceptance, success and survival, product videos have become so successful because they stimulate our naturally evolved visual learning process.
As we all know, the world of media is constantly changing. You see so many new channels appear on TV or have so many choices of radio stations that you’d never think that only six major companies control almost all of it. But it’s true! GE, News Corporation, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBC are in control of 90% of what we read, watch or listen including TV, news, radio and movies. Check out the infographic below to see the “Big Six” rule the media kingdom.