Big Winners in the Super Bowl Commercial Game

CommercialsDid you see Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. dancing to the routine from “Dirty Dancing” last night during the Super Bowl’s commercial lineup? Granted, I did not watch the Super Bowl in its entirety, so I missed several of the commercials – but that one might have been my favorite.

I also enjoyed the marketing gusto behind the “It’s a Tide Ad” commercial. Did you have a favorite?

While the actual football game was exciting, the commercials were a mixed bag, with a few bright spots among some duds, per usual.

Forbes has a listing of the top commercial spots, as determined by a new startup that uses opt-in technology to measure actual eyes on the screen and viewer reactions:

TVision’s ranking system uses a score of 100 as a baseline, so numbers higher than 100 represent better than average performance. Here are the top 10 spots that got attention from viewers in the moment when they aired last night during the game. Note how different this list is from the spots that resonated most on social media or in earned media views online.

  1. Bud Light – Bud Knight – 130.8 
  2. E*Trade – This is Getting Old – 123.6
  3. Mountain Dew/Doritos – Doritos Blaze vs Mountain Dew Ice – 116.9
  4. Mission: Impossible – Fallout –  Mission: Impossible – Fallout – 114.2
  5. Avocados from Mexico – #GuacWorld – 113.7
  6. NFL – Touchdown Celebration – 112.4
  7. M&Ms – Human – 112.1
  8. Tide – It’s a Tide Ad –  111.1
  9. Netflix: The Cloverfield Paradox   – The Cloverfield Paradox – 110.9
  10. Amazon – Alexa Loses Her voice – 110.7

TVision also tracks a metric called the Smile Index, using data the observes the facial expressions of its opt-in panel to identify positive emotional responses. So which ads lit up the room? According to the data, it was…

  1. Bud Light –  120.2 on the Smile Index
  2. Avocados from Mexico –  118.8
  3. M&Ms –  117.8
  4. Netflix – Cloverfield – 117.2
  5. E*Trade – 115.2

Seeking Productivity in 2018

If you’re like me, you probably made a few resolutions for 2018 and you may or may not be sticking to all of them. But now that it’s just February, you’ve had ample time to adapt to some new life habits and still plenty of time to call any such habits “New Year’s” resolutions.

Maybe it was to work on your health (that’s one of mine!), or perhaps it’s to be more present with your family (okay, also me!) or get more sleep to help with all facets of life (me again. Hmm, I’m sensing a pattern…).

If you’ve got “be more productive” on your list for 2018, this post from Forbes offers three smart tips to help you on that path:

  1. Figure out your to-do and not-to-do list and don’t do unnecessary things because it can hamper your productivity and slow you down.
  2. Automate your life – the article mentions a few apps to help you automate everything from your home’s thermostat to adding events to your calendar and more.
  3. And maybe you’re in a position to outsource tasks. Is it time to consider hiring an assistant (even a virtual assistant) to help manage your day-to-day tasks? It could be that hiring the kid down the street to come mow your lawn once a week frees up enough of your time and energy to be more productive.

Whatever you’re doing to improve yourself or your work in 2018, keep it up; because then we’ll all have fewer resolutions to try and keep track of in 2019.

Indiana INTERNnet: My Experience With A Virtual Internship

Tech Talk: Catching Up on Some Conversations

Podcast

Two of the focus areas of the Indiana Chamber’s EchoChamber podcast are education and technology. Both take center stage in the early months of 2018.

Two conversations – with Marian University President Dan Elsener and WGU Indiana Chancellor Allison Barber – are available now. Three more to come feature Trine University President Earl Brooks (January 30), Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Bob Stutz (date to be scheduled) and South Bend’s Rich Carlton, president and COO of Data Realty (February 27).

Innovation is one of the themes that carries throughout these discussions. Elsener was greeted with a great deal of skepticism when he announced plans to start a medical school at the private Indianapolis university. Its first graduates came in 2017. That is among a variety of initiatives that has Marian well on the way to doubling in size by 2025.

WGU Indiana brought a new online, competency-based approach when it became the state’s eighth public university in 2010. It offers an avenue for working students (80% are employed full time) to advance their skills and earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Trine has expanded its academic and athletic offerings, with significant growth both geographically and in enrollment.

Stutz has touted Indiana’s tech environment since his arrival in 2016. Carlton is passionate about data management and community development. We know you will enjoy their insights and getting to know them a little better.

You can listen to all EchoChamber conversations online. Subscribe at iTunes, GooglePlay or wherever you get your podcasts to be notified about the latest episode. Also, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts.

Chamber Releases Legislative Agenda Matching Positions to Actual Bills 

Our first edition of the 2018 Legislative Agenda is now available at www.indianachamber.com/agenda. This document details bills introduced in the Indiana House and Senate that the Indiana Chamber has taken a position on and the reason for that stance.

Bills of high importance to the Chamber are labeled with a “priority icon”, while legislation viewed as detrimental to employers and the workforce are denoted with a “job-killer” symbol.

This publication provides direction on issues that not only affect the Indiana business community, but communities, families and individuals throughout the state. We strive to provide our members, legislators and the public with a clear understanding of our positions on these key bills.

In addition to being posted on our web site, this information is sent directly to legislators. We plan to use votes on the bills – those that make it to the House or Senate floor – contained in this document in our annual Legislative Vote Analysis, which scores legislators on their voting record during session.

Trying to Attract the Tourists

Unique tourism campaigns are nothing new. Governing magazine recently highlighted several:

As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. That’s exactly what South Dakota did with a new tourism approach a few years ago.

After hearing from focus groups across the country that the Dakotas were nothing more than a “barren wasteland,” the state tourism agency came up with a unique campaign angle: At least we’re not Mars, an actual barren wasteland.

The voiceover in a TV ad says: “Mars. The air: not breathable. The surface: cold and barren. … South Dakota. Progressive. Productive. And abundant in oxygen. Why die on Mars when you can live in South Dakota?”

Their efforts may have paid off: The state has had a record number of tourists in the past two years. 

Instagram on the Road

Last year, Minnesota decided to tackle the perception that the state is just a cold, snowy place by bringing its attractions to you. Really.

Explore Minnesota Tourism, the state’s tourism committee, created traveling photo booths featuring two of the state’s main attractions: the First Avenue music club, which was featured in the 1984 Prince movie Purple Rain, and scenes of the Minnesota outdoors.

The state set up the booths in cities across the country, ranging from Denver to Chicago to Kansas City, and modeled them after Instagram to encourage people to share their photos on social media.

The Prince booth came complete with a fog machine, purple lighting and a drum kit, while the other booth featured a canoe and a machine that generated morning mist and bird calls.

Come Get an Operation

San Diego doesn’t need to do much to convince people to visit: It has legendary beaches, a world-famous zoo and plenty of sunshine. Even so, the city is now betting it can convince tourists to get that elective surgery they’ve always wanted in between getting a tan or frolicking on the beach.

In 2017, city leaders launched DestinationCare San Diego, a public-private partnership to get more tourists to think of San Diego as a place to get medical care — and recover afterwards. The city hopes to compete with world-renowned medical destinations like the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota or the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

The city does have a strong medical sector. It’s home to the University of California health systems and Rady Children’s Hospital, which is ranked one of the best children’s hospitals in the country.

Freelancing Frenzy to Continue

(Originally published in smallbiztrends.com)

In the coming decade, the majority of workers in the U.S. are expected to be freelancers, according to a report from Edelman Intelligence.

The study surveyed 6,000 U.S. workers to determine changing working patterns and the impact freelancing will have on the future of working and employment practices in the U.S. This trend is being driven by the millennial generation, of which 47% currently freelance.

Technology is playing a huge role in changing workplace practices and ushering in the rise of freelancing, says Amy Sept, managing editor of the Upwork blog. According to the survey, 71% of freelancers said the work they acquired online has increased during the past year.

Despite income predictability being perceived as a barrier to freelancing, the report found 63% of freelancers believe working for a range of different clients, and therefore generating multiple income streams, is more secure than relying on one employer. Freelancers, on average, have 4.5 clients every month.

Savvy freelancers are also looking to the future, keen to learn new skills. The report found that 55% of freelancers took part in skills-related training, compared to just 30% of non-freelancers.

Airbnb’s Top Indiana Cities Revealed

In late 2017, Indianapolis was identified as a top trending American city for Airbnb. The company also announced that Indiana hosts welcomed approximately 175,000 arrivals in the past year – earning more than $20.7 million.

The 175,000 guest arrivals to Indiana via Airbnb represents 108% year-over-year growth. This comes as “Hoosiers increasingly embrace the home sharing platform as an opportunity to earn supplemental income and make ends meet.” There are now just under 3,600 Indiana hosts who share their homes via Airbnb, 37% of whom simply share an extra, unused room (i.e. empty nester).

The top Airbnb markets in Indiana in 2017:

  1. Indianapolis: 73,000 guest arrivals; $8.42 million in host income
  2. South Bend: 20,000; $2.89 million
  3. Bloomington: 16,800; $1.87 million
  4. Michigan City: 5,700; $867,300
  5. Fort Wayne: 4,250; $437,900
  6. West Lafayette: 3,050; $311,350
  7. Lafayette: 3,050; $383,500
  8. Nashville: 1,950; $207,700
  9. Fishers: 1,800; $200,600
  10. Evansville: 1,670; $163,700

These Students Are the ‘Major’ Switchers

(Published originally in Inside Higher Ed)

Almost a third of first-time college students choose a major and then change it at least once within three years, and students who started out in mathematics and the natural sciences are likelier than others to switch fields, federal data show.

The report from the National Center for Education Statistics, drawn from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study, finds that 33 percent of bachelor’s degree pursuers who entered college in 2011-12 and 28 percent of students in associate degree programs had changed their major at least once by 2014. About one in 10 had changed majors twice.

Students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs were likelier than those in non-STEM fields (35 versus 29 percent) to change majors.

And students who started out studying math were likeliest of all: 52 percent of those who initially declared as math majors ended up majoring in something else, followed by 40 percent of those in the natural sciences, 37 percent in education, 36 percent in humanities disciplines and 32 percent in engineering and general studies.

math

What does it mean that math majors are likelier to leave their major than students in other fields? Given the marketplace demand for math majors (and students in other STEM fields), is it a problem that STEM majors are abandoning their majors at a greater rate than other students are?

Ed Venit, managing director of the student success collaborative at EAB, which published a study last year showing that students who changed majors graduate at a higher rate than those who don’t, said many students who plan to major in rigorous fields like math because they excelled in high school may find themselves “in a little over their head” in the college-level discipline.

Given employers’ strong demand for math majors and other students with strong quantitative skills, and by extension the desire among students to pursue such majors, it’s essential that educators seek ways to make those fields less off-putting to students – and not by reducing rigor, Venit said.

Michael Pearson, executive director of the Mathematical Association of America, acknowledged that math has sometimes been seen as a barrier to postsecondary success and that math educators were striving to improve instruction and the perceived relevance of the discipline.

But he noted that enrollments in math courses at all levels of education are up about 20 percent in the last five years, and said that the interest in graduates with strong quantitative skills was strengthening the “pervasiveness of mathematics.”

Pearson said he was inclined to attribute the large proportion of students leaving math for other fields more to the reality that college students “are exposed to new areas of study, like engineering, that don’t have nearly as much visibility in high school” than to a decision against math.

“I suspect they’re choosing to use their math skills in new ways,” he said.

Room to Improve in Financial Literacy

Financial literacy

Indiana receives a “C” on a report card evaluating how well high school students are taught financial skills.

The Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College issued the report card on how well the 50 states are doing at sending students out into the world knowing the basics of personal finance. John Pelletier, director of the Center, said while high school students need to know how to handle things such as checking accounts, investing and credit cards, if they plan on going to college, they will also need to know how a student loan works.

“Two-thirds or more of all students across the country are graduating with student debt, and yet we’re not giving them the skills and the foundational knowledge they need to handle that debt responsibly,” Pelletier said. “I think we kind of have a moral obligation to do that as a country.”

The report gave fewer than half the states the highest grades – an A or a B – for their financial curriculum, while 27 states earned a C, D or an F. Pelletier said states that earned the top grade require high school students to complete a comprehensive, stand-alone course on financial literacy.

He said only five states earned an A.

Pelletier said the Center’s studies found that many people reach a point in life where they wish they had learned more about handling money when they were younger.

“They’re asked about things that they wish they had been taught when they were in high school – many of them talk about personal finance,” he said. “So I think people regret this much younger than in their 40s or 50s. It can be a regret in their 30s, because we all make financial decisions that impact us.”

Pelletier said the study shows financial literacy is linked to positive outcomes such as wealth accumulation, stock market participation, retirement planning and avoiding high-cost financial services such as payday lending and auto title loans.