Strategy Roundup | 1.29.2021

Lyndsey C. Fox

Well, the first full week under the Biden administration did not disappoint. This week’s hot takes include — The successful grassroots Robin Hood-esque market maneuver leading to a corporate Robinhood disaster, Aetna expanding their gender affirming surgery coverage, The “Fyre Festival” of Vaccine Rollouts and of course, the sweet legacy of 80s parents.

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Our “Unled” Lives

A big theme this week for the strategy team was reflection and one of the long reads we shared asks the dreaded, constantly consuming question “what if?” In this article, the author ebbs and flows between the lives we live and the lives we desire from an evolutionary perspective as well as a philosophical one. Our unled lives are of course, romanticized, but important for context. Does everything happen for a reason? Are we in control of our own destiny? Why do we choose what we choose and what are the consequences or rewards of those decisions. The forces that exist outside of our selves are defining factors this year more than ever in shaping the course of our lived lives as well as our unled lives. How might this past year impact some of your clients audiences aspirational lives? How have needs and desires changed? This is a good read for a Saturday morning coffee.

Wider access to Gender Affirming surgery

In the latest edition of things that should already be commonplace but aren’t: Aetna expands their coverage of gender affirming surgeries. As an agency with a heavy focus on healthcare, we talk about equity and access to care often. Though many companies do cover gender affirming surgeries, there are usually a lot of hoops to jump through, it’s not always comprehensive coverage and it largely varies state by state. This is another reminder to step back and look at our clients business through a comprehensively equitable lens. Are we accessible? Are we removing barriers? Are we listening closely to the needs of our audiences or more specifically those who should be our audiences but haven’t had the opportunity to do so in the past?

“The Fyre Festival of Vaccine Rollouts”

ICYMI: Our dear city of Philadelphia decided to fund a scrappy startup out of Drexel University providing testing and vaccines for COVID-19. As it turns out, it wasn’t a great move, as the CEO decided to change their status from non-profit to for-profit overnight, change their data policy without alerting anyone AND take home some vaccines for his friends while hundreds of senior citizens got turned away for lack of supply. Needless to say, over the past 72 hours, Philly has lost a huge vaccination site and is currently scrambling to figure out how to make it up. The moral of the story? Don’t be a morally bankrupt asshole, especially when it comes to the livelihood of the nation. Moral for our clients? Transparency is key. Do what you say, Say what you mean, mean what you say.

As Little John asks in the canonical Disney take on Robin Hood “Are We Good Guys Or Bad Guys?”

And finally here is what happens when a grassroots Robin Hood group comes up against a corporate Robinhood. Oh you wanted the real story? See if you can keep up.

Strategy runs on … Sugar?

Among the less worldly hot topics in the strategy chatter this week were the snacks of our childhoods. As it turns out, parents in the 80s and 90s were more than happy to placate their children with sugar in all formats at multiple day parts. Some of the big winners were anything of the gummy variety including but not limited to Gushers, Fruit RollUps and Peach Rings, Colored Sugar in different formats like Freez-Ices, Those weird wax bottles with colored sugar water, pixie sticks and fun dip, vices in the form of sugar like Big League Chew and Candy Cigarettes and of course the more sophisticated sugar variants like Cowtails, Airheads and Warheads. Zack has emerged as the resident sugar expert, so if there are additional questions, I defer to him.

We even found out that there was an early 90s fizzy Snapple variant, any evidence of which has been completely erased from the internet.

The one thing we all agreed on was the business genius that is “Mystery Flavored” and is actually just the ends of all of the flavors mixed into one heavenly batch and sold for profit.

This Week’s Picks:

I’m Reading: Range by Daniel Epstein, an argument for generalists in a specialized world (#seen) & Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion, my personal hero.

I’m Watching: A double re-watch of Girls and The Sopranos because I am a glutton for both overwrought millennial emotion and depictions of the mafia in popular culture.

I’m Listening to: A lot of Rachmanioff, Ronettes and Roots.

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