The Dry January Hangover

Learn about the lingering effects of Dry January on America’s alcoholic beverage consumers, and what that means for your brand.

March 9, 2023
Bryan Miller – Senior Director of Insights Innovation

In recent years an increasing number of Americans have been participating in Dry January—the practice of reducing or stopping consumption of alcohol during the month of January. Taking breaks from alcohol is nothing new. It’s as common as people going on diets. What’s noteworthy about Dry January is that it’s a collective event with after-effects that are likely impacting the alcoholic beverage market in unexpected ways.

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our
The Dry January Hangover research study.

The Dry January Hangover - deck sample

Before we jump into those lingering effects, let’s start with who’s participating.  By and large, Dry January is a younger person’s game. Our recent research found that 37% of Gen Z drinkers and 31% of Millennial drinkers participated, compared to just 24% of Gen X and 18% of Baby Boomer drinkers.

Nearly a third of Gen Z and Millennials participated in Dry January

When it comes to why people participated, we found that health reasons were the top motivator across all generational segments. The challenge itself was a motivator for a lot of Gen Z and Millennial drinkers. Younger Americans are also known to be health-conscious and connection-seeking and challenges like this provide a healthy goal to work towards in a supportive social context. Finally, we see that saving money is helping a decent portion take the Dry January plunge, with Millennials being the most likely to cite this as a motivator.

Americans participated in Dry January to improve their health

Despite the month being free of booze, there appears to be a hangover to Dry January that could impact both the alcoholic beverage and non-alcoholic beverage markets. The Dry January hangover is marked by two lingering effects.

Lingering Effect #1: Decreased alcohol consumption beyond January

That’s right. More than three quarters of each generation that participated said they planned to continue drinking less beyond January. Just how long the “dry” momentum will carry people is unclear. But there’s one reason to think it could be longer than what we’ve previously seen. That reason is tied to the second lingering effect.

Most Americans who drank less in January intend to keep it up

Collage Group members have access to this category-related study and more in our world-class Cultural Intelligence Platform. Contact us to learn more about membership.

For more insights related to the alcoholic beverage industry, visit our alcoholic beverage category page.

Other Generational Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller
Senior Director of Insights Innovation

As Director of Content, Bryan leads the content team that produces all of Collage Group’s syndicated research and oversees the AdRate and BrandRate ratings products. Bryan holds a Master of Arts from Georgia State University’s Philosophy and Brains & Behavior Program, a Master of Science in Applied Economics from the University of North Dakota, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University in the Philosophy of Science, the Philosophy of Psychology and Bioethics. Outside of work, Bryan is a passionate film buff and lover of great food.

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Engage & Celebrate Women: A Conversation About Gender Equity

Learn how women leaders of Pernod-Ricard, Lincoln Financial, and Adsmovil discuss how to engage and celebrate women consumers.

March 7, 2023
Katya Skogen – Director, LGBTQ+ & Gender Insights

Brands today are heavily dependent on research and insights to authentically engage and celebrate women and support gender equity. At Collage Group, among our other endeavors, we strive to equip members with insights to untap culturally fluent thinking, which in the long run is beneficial to both brands and consumers.

Read on and fill out the form to watch a recording of our
Engage & Celebrate Women webinar presentation.

Engage and celebrate Women presentation title slide

To that end, Collage Group recently had the pleasure of hosting a panel of women leaders to commemorate Women’s History Month. A wide range of vital topics were discussed with the intent of better supporting and amplifying the voices of American women and embarking on a path toward gender equity.

Before the panel discussion, Collage Group’s Katya Skogen, Director of Cultural Insights, shared some recent data. According to Collage research, only about half of all American women say they’re happy with the way brands represent them in their advertising. Also, women are the primary shopping decision makers and thusly have immense purchasing power. This gives women the ability to shape the direction of their household spending. So, brands need to closely pay attention to shifts in women’s shopping behaviors.

Women make most household shopping decisions

Recent data also shows that despite surpassing American men and educational attainment, women on average only make about 82 cents for every dollar that men earn. These wage gaps are even more significant for Hispanic and Black women. Obviously, some see the substantial gender income gap as something that is based on merit, but, it is ingrained in systemic inequity. Brands must take heed to these challenges women face and should do an overall better job in representing women.

Katya noted that Dove is one of the brands that has been a challenger to the “toxic beauty standards both in the industry and our society as a whole.” In fact, pushing back on these standards has become a core of Dove’s brand mission.

Collage Group’s Ashley Samay, Consumer Insights & Strategy Research Manager, moderated the discussion. She was joined by Reshma Dhati, Senior Director of Absolut Vodka and Co-Chair of the Womxn ERG, Pernod-Ricard; Liz Casals, VP Consumer and Marketing Analytics of Lincoln Financial Group; and Maria Twena, Chief Marketing Officer of Adsmovil.

Four Panelist Speakers for the webinar

Maria explained that woman are at the core of Adsmovil’s target and for years, have been helping brands better engage women. Having been in business for over ten years, she said Adsmovil has insights on Hispanic women, the Hispanic female, and the Hispanic head of household. Because of the longevity, her team has been able to help women better manage their finances, serve healthier meals, and help them become healthier overall.

Reshma pointed out that for Pernod-Ricard, women buy the most and are the leading consumption pool. She said the brand has gone deep in understanding the nuances of women and the diversity of their needs, as well as their desires both emotionally and functionally. Woman, she said, are all looking for something different, and therefore Pernod-Ricard has made strides to understand women down to level of their occasions, recognizing what women want, and what they are seeking.

Liz said Lincoln Financial Group is working to change the scene in what has historically been a male-dominate field. That consists of having five women on their corporate board, which is about 10% better than other investment firms. Moreover, the current CEO, Ellen Cooper, is the first woman to ever hold that position in Lincoln’s history. Add to that, presently women make up 64% of Lincoln’s Workforce and over half of all management positions. This is the true embodiment of authentic representation.

A common theme among the panelists was to stress that women are not a monolithic group. Maria reminded viewers that women come from different countries of origin, have different birth nativities, different political statuses, and so on. There are so many ways to divide the consumer cohort, and therefore it is vital that brands and researchers keep this top of mind.

Brands can seize an opportunity during women's history month

During the course of the conversation, the panelists, at varying times, spoke on the genuine support that as employees, they have received from the mentioned brands, Pernod-Ricard, Lincoln Financial, and Adsmovil – whether it be empowering woman staffers, creating work groups for working parents, or championing alternative workplaces or hybrid working.

The panelists addressed several other relevant topics, including pay equity, a lack of women representation within financial advisors, and a need for brands to do better in terms of meeting individual consumer needs.

Other Women's Consumer Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Katya Skogen

Katya Skogen
Director, LGBTQ+ & Gender Insights

Katya leads Collage Group’s LGBTQ+ and Gender research. Her other interests include multicultural segments as well as consumer behaviors and attitudes in the context of media, technology, food and beverage, and retail industries.

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Drive Brand Relevance with Women Consumer Essentials

Discover women’s unique perspectives and motivations through their evolving, complex identities and actionable Group Traits.

March 3, 2023
Katya Skogen – Director, LGBTQ+ & Gender Insights

Women are powerful influencers in all aspects of social, cultural, and business leadership, and they dominate consumer spending, making a bulk of all household purchasing decisions. But many advertisers are missing the mark in their portrayals of this powerful consumer segment. While gender identity has become increasingly important to the modern American woman in recent years, only about half of women say they’re satisfied with portrayals of their gender in advertising.

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our
Drive Brand Relevance with Women Consumers Essentials presentation.

Drive Brand Relevance with Woman Consumer Essentials - deck example

Representation alone is not enough to prove that your brand cares about their identity. Brands today must evolve to effectively understand and engage the modern American woman.

This powerful study explores three key areas of our consumer fundamentals research: identity, cultural context, and Group Traits to help your brand authentically connect with women.

Key Insight #1: Most Women Feel Misunderstood and Misrepresented by Brands

Women’s intrinsic diversity and the complex sociopolitical conditions hinder brands’ ability to authentically address this influential segment’s needs, motivations, and experiences.

Brands are missing out on fully connecting with consumers

Do This

Reflect, validate, and empathize with women’s nuanced and complex experiences in brand messaging and positioning. Walk the talk by making deliberate talent management decisions and creating opportunities for women to direct the core business and the culture of your organization.

Key Insight #2: Women Expect Brands to Champion Communities and Issues They Care About

Brands that champion the issues important to women reap the rewards of consumer appreciation and loyalty.

Brands that demonstrate allyship with women

Do This

Lean into social issues that are both salient to women and congruent with your brand values by investing in marketing, partnerships, and CSR initiatives.

Key Insight #3: Attuned Group Trait

Women approach life with a sense of mindfulness, a desire for harmony, and an awareness of potential ripple effects of their choices and actions. They’re compelled to consider the broader context and align their decisions with the needs of others and the greater good.

Most women attune themselves to the needs of others

Do This

Tell women how your brand, product, or service helps turn limited resources into maximal results. Position your promotional campaigns to balance the needs of others with women’s own priorities.

Key Insight #4: Self-Directed Group Trait

Women rely on their inner voice to guide their everyday decision-making and to direct their future. Conscious of their own needs, they aim to shape a vision of happiness and success best fit for their life.

Women strive to live authentically

Do This

Defy the unrealistic standards that hinder women’s ability to reach their full potential and optimal well-being.

Key Insight #5: Poised Group Trait

Women are primed to pursue their goals and gain greater respect and recognition while keeping their own values, beliefs, and priorities intact. They pine for the balance between external pressures and their own needs and aspire to carry themselves with utmost poise.


Attaining success defined by financial or career milestones

Do This

Inspire and celebrate wins—however women choose to define them—by featuring their stories on owned and paid media.

Other Women's Consumer Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Katya Skogen

Katya Skogen
Director, LGBTQ+ & Gender Insights

Katya leads Collage Group’s LGBTQ+ and Gender research. Her other interests include multicultural segments as well as consumer behaviors and attitudes in the context of media, technology, food and beverage, and retail industries.

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Collage Group Recognized Among Fastest-Growing Private Companies

I am ecstatic to share that Inc. Magazine today revealed Collage Group has been named on their latest Inc. 5000 Regionals List.

February 28, 2023
David Wellisch – CEO and Co-Founder

The annual list, now in its fourth year, represents the fastest-growing private companies in America and ranks Collage Group at number 121. The recognition signifies a unique look at the nation’s most flourishing private businesses and is a significant benchmark for entrepreneurial success.

It is a true honor for Collage Group to be recognized as part of this prestigious list of high-growth companies in the region. I’d like to thank the Collage Group staff and the leadership who have supported this growth and committed to partnering with more than 300 member brands in their Cultural Fluency journey. Hitting this key milestone is not possible without our talented team or the iconic American brands that rely on our diverse consumer insights and expertise.

The 2023 Inc. 5000 Regionals Mid-Atlantic List encompasses companies in Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Collage Group is included on a list of others who have put forth an extraordinary rate of growth across all industries in the Mid-Atlantic region. Between 2019 and 2021, these private companies had an average growth rate of 381% and in 2021 alone, was able to add 14,439 jobs and $2.66 billion to the Mid-Atlantic region’s economy. Companies based in Richmond, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C. areas had the highest growth rates overall.

Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief of Inc. Magazine, noted that this year’s regional winners represent one of the most exceptional and exciting lists of American’s off-the-charts growth companies.

It was just less than a year ago that we announced securing $25 million in growth capital, led by Boston-based growth equity firm Wavecrest Growth Partners. That funding allowed us – a tech enabled consumer and market intelligence firm – to further invest in our technology infrastructure and product innovation, and to continue scaling sales and marketing investments behind our aggressive growth mandate.

Over the last three years, we have significantly increased staff, including the welcoming of three leadership positions: Chief Financial Officer, Chief Product and Technology Officer, and Chief Revenue Officer.

This is an important distinction, and we have all intentions to continue taking these monumental steps.

Other Gen Z Consumer Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

David Wellisch

David Wellisch
CEO and Co-Founder

David Wellisch is CEO & Co-Founder of Collage Group, a consumer insights and intelligence company with a focus on research exploring race/ethnicity, generation, sexuality and gender. Since the inception of Collage Group in 2009, David has led the company through growth, now serving more than 200 brands in across 15 industries. David is passionate about entrepreneurship and company building, and often works directly with members to help guide the integration of multicultural consumer insights and marketing strategies.

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Gen Z Consumers: Reducing the Complexity

Discover Gen Z’s unique perspective and motivations through their evolving demographics, complex identity, and actionable Group Traits.

February 27, 2023
Lauren Goldberg– Analyst

Gen Z is an important and dynamic U.S. consumer cohort. Their population is aging up into careers and their economic power is growing. So, brands have to step up their engagement of this influential (and not-so-young-anymore) consumer group to grow with them into adulthood. In other words: Now’s the time!

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our
Gen Z Consumers: Reducing the Complexity presentation.

Gen Z Consumers - Reducing the Complexity - deck sample

This powerful study explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research: demographics, identity, and Group Traits to help your brand authentically connect with this generation of Americans.

Key Insight #1: Evolving Demographics

Gen Z is dramatically more diverse than older generations. They’ve already reached a 50% multicultural total threshold and are far more likely to identify as LGBTQ+. Their diversity and prioritization of inclusive marketing provides an exciting window into the future of the entire country.

Gen Z is the first generation to be 50% multicultural

Do This:

Lead messaging with Gen Z’s diversity: don’t tell one generic story, tell varied stories that capture the many ways Gen Z express their identity.

Key Insight #2: Complex Identity

As a generation, Gen Z is the least satisfied with how they are portrayed in advertising. In fact, MOST Gen Zers aren’t happy with how they’re being shown in ads.

Gen Z least likely to be satisfied with portrayal in media

Do This:

Expand beyond only speaking to Gen Z’s racial and ethnic identities and highlight their complex, intersections of identity. How do you do this? It starts with inviting Gen Z to lead your content creation.

Key Insight #3: Collective Individuality

Gen Z has internalized an openness to uniqueness, both their own and others. Greater diversity and more tools for finding content for every taste and interest has created a boom in individuality. What’s different from older generations, though, is the unifying power of their differences.

Gen Z rewards brans celebrating individuality

Do This:

Toss out ideas of identity that typify older generations. Celebrate how Gen Z’s identity is built around a collective acceptance of each person’s unique combination of many intersecting characteristics and rest assured in the robust halo effects that flow from telling real, specific stories.

Key Insight #4: Game-Changing

Gen Z believes in their ability to impact the world, and they focus on the future as an antidote to the harsh realities of today. Frustration meets urgency as Gen Z takes on the mantle for necessary change.

Gen Z Feel Disconnected From America

Do This:

Be future-focused and highlight how your brand and company are investing in the future now. Externally promote internal company policies and practices that Gen Z cares about with the same vigor as product-based messaging.

Key Insight #5: Pressured

Gen Z sets a high bar for themselves, and the scourge of comparison on social media only magnifies this pressure to meet their own ideals. It’s hard to be a game-changer and Gen Z is feeling the effects of so much potential.

Gen Z Are Always "On" the Internet

Do This:

Rescue Gen Z from the comparison dilemma by celebrating their unity in uniqueness. Speak to their stress with empathy and gravity.

Other Gen Z Consumer Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Picture of Lauren Goldberg

Lauren Goldberg

Lauren is an Analyst on Collage Group’s Cultural Insights team. She recently graduated from University of Michigan, where she studied psychology and entrepreneurship. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys trying new restaurants in the DC metro area and keeping up with the Washington Capitals.

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Drive Brand Relevance with Black Consumer Essentials: Insights for Black Consumer Engagement

Collage Group’s presentation, Drive Brand Relevance with Black Consumer Essentials, explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research: demographics and economic opportunity, identity, and Group Traits.

February 21, 2023
Jenny Wolski – Analyst

Black Americans are an important U.S. consumer segment, and their population and economic power are growing. Brands must better understand this influential consumer group to effectively engage with them through their marketing and advertising.

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our
Insights For Black Consumer Engagement presentation.

Insights for Black Consumer Engagement

Our new study explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research: demographics, identity, and Group Traits to help your brand authentically connect with Black Americans.

Download the attached presentation for more. In the meantime, take a look at a few key insights and action steps.

Key Insight #1: Demographics

More Black Americans are identifying as Multiracial and Black immigration is growing in the U.S., making the segment more diverse and dynamic than brands may realize.

7.9 Millions Black Americans identify as multiracial


Lean into rich intersectional storytelling during marketing campaigns. Authentic, and specific stories will still appeal cross-segment.

Key Insight #2: Identity

Products and services that explicitly show people with natural skin and hair and challenge racial and ethnic stereotypes will win with Black consumers.

Diversity and representation matter to black Americans


Innovate and expand products and services that are tailored to meet the needs of Black consumers. Prioritize realistic representation in your advertising and push to avoid photoshopped perfection.

Key Insight #3: Group Trait of Determination

Black Americans are determined and believe in working persistently towards their goals. Despite setbacks, there is a deep-seeded belief in themselves.

Black Americans desire to achieve at the highest level


Drive fit by communicating how your brand helps Black Americans achieve at the highest levels.

Key Insight #4: Group Trait of Real

Black Americans demonstrate realness by proudly celebrating their collective uniqueness.

Black Americans value individuality


Build advocacy with direct communication and by celebrating Black Americans’ creative and unique talents.

Key Insight #5: Group Trait of Believing

Black Americans are optimistic and often have faith that something bigger is guiding them.

Black Americans are satisfied with their well-being


Grow brand relevance and trust by engaging Black Americans’ deep spirituality and hopeful outlook. Consider partnering with influencers that embrace this side of Black Americans.

Other Black Consumer Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Jenny Wolski

Jenny Wolski

Jenny is an Analyst on Collage Group’s Product & Content team. She is a 2021 graduate from The George Washington University where she studied Statistics and Sociology. In her spare time, Jenny is often on a hike enjoying nature.

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Cultural Experts Critique Super Bowl Commercials

While numerous football fans watched Sunday’s game, waiting to see who would be crowned victor between the Chiefs and the Eagles, we at Collage Group tuned in with different intentions.

February 14, 2023
Quintin Simmons – Public Relations & Communications Manager

We wanted to – no, we were compelled to – critique the most highly anticipated commercials of the year. As cultural experts, we regularly analyze advertisements and marketing campaigns for the nation’s best brands, so Super Bowl Sunday is kind of like . . .  our Super Bowl . . . but for commercials.

We already did a review of the pre-released Super Bowl ads. If you missed that, you can check out our analysis here.

As for the commercials that didn’t air until Sunday, our team of cultural experts had a wide range of thoughts. First, we noted there was a heavy reliance on celebrities, and in some cases, the joke or plot, or even the brand and product seemed to take a backseat, as if just having the star would suffice. Next, a couple of spots made the choice to lean on television shows that were popular not at this moment but one or two-plus seasons ago, i.e. “Squid Game,” and “Breaking Bad.” We did like that a few ads incorporated the use of Spanish. However, we noted that engagement on social issues that matter to many diverse Americans has definitely taken a backseat, and we were disappointed that not many acknowledged diversity or the LGBTQ+ community.

Here are our thoughts on a handful of specific commercials:

Google Pixel

Google Pixel’s spot was a favorite across the entire team. The ad features celebrities popular among multicultural consumers – Doja Cat and Giannis Antetokounmpo – and showcased a unique photo-editing feature.

Director of Cultural Insights, Katya Skogen: “When this ad played, the room fell silent. Everyone was paying attention – kids and adults alike. Something about seeing “magic” happen “in real life” really drew people in. From the cultural relevance perspective, this is a practical solution to a common problem, but this particular tool doesn’t cross the line into “hyper editing” or retouching that we know is putting so much pressure on everyone to get that “perfect,” SM-worthy shot. So, this lands well with Gen Z and Gen Z teen’s “Pressured” Cultural Trait, and resonates with their desire for authenticity.”

Research Manager of Cultural Insights, Giana Damianos: “Google Pixel continuously impresses with product innovation. It’s almost hard to distinguish – was the leading force here the ad execution or the product itself? Honestly, I think both are doing a pretty killer job. I like that the ad isn’t (doesn’t have to) work too hard to get the point across. The simplicity in the ad execution is what makes this great. I loved the cheeky examples of use cases. And I think that really helps portray the feature as useful in everyday life, and not for “perfecting” your pics (which could’ve started to get into a tricky territory of promoting photoshopping and face tuning and stuff, which is what I almost started to get worried about). I almost don’t think the celebrity appearances were necessary here. One of my favorite things was the music in the background! Really moved the ad along and made me feel in a happy mood, which fits the context of Super-Bowl-Party very well.”


A commercial from McDonald’s was also well liked. It did a great job of hitting various multicultural angles, including featuring a same sex couple, seniors, those with disabilities, and a bit of Spanish in the dialogue – not to mention a few beloved celebs.

Cultural Insights Research Manager, Jill Rosenfeld: “I loved this one, perhaps the only clear LGBTQ+ representation in any ad that aired during the entire game. Relatable even to those who aren’t big fans of the McDonald’s brand already because having usual orders at places and knowing your partners’ order is common.”

Research Manager of Custom Insights, Niki Goncalves: “Loved. It showed diversity in a way that didn’t feel forced. Used celebs in a way where they were more than just a ‘character’; it gave you a little window into who they are beyond their performance personas and made them super relatable. And the vignettes were adorable – pointing out everyone has this experience in common and of course loved the inclusion of the Spanish vignette.”


Then there was an E-Trade ad – a brand known for incorporating talking babies. This commercial inspired somewhat mixed reviews.

Executive Director of Cultural Strategy, Victor Paredes: “Investment is all about your family’s future and your kids. It’s a fun use of kids, which are a Super Bowl go-to. It’s akin to Boss Baby, yet cleverly able to portray the key value of E-Trade investments.”

Director of Cultural Insights, Sudipti Kumar: “I like that this ad brought back the E-Trade babies. Plus, its babies and it’s cute. I think this would appeal cross-segment because it is speaking to universal themes like weddings/marriage plus with adorable babies that everyone loves.”

Rosenfeld: “In my opinion, it’s very creepy to show the babies getting married, especially because child marriage is not even illegal in the whole country. Also, there has been a lot of news recently about Wyoming Republicans trying to veto a bill that would raise the legal age of marriage to 16.”


An ad from WeatherTech was very well liked among the group.

Senior Director of Cultural Insights, Jack Mackinnon: “Nothing shocking here, but solid, simple representation and un-politically addressing the economy. I liked the connection with Black Americans’ optimism. While obviously appealing to the more traditional ‘made-in-the-USA’ crowd.”

Paredes: “This is likely to connect with ‘American Dream’ nostalgia that is notably strong among Hispanics and Asian Americans, as highlighted in our 2022 Roundtable research. And likely to play well especially at a time where job security is important. There is growing interest in made in America in every segment.”

NFL Super Bowl LVII Commercial

The NFL’s ad was another crowd pleaser and successfully hit a few different notes in regard to diversity.

Cultural Insights Analyst, Alonzo Bailey: “This was a great ad. I loved the dynamic between the Hispanic girl and her mother at the end. Also, it featured a cameo from Billie Jean King, a trailblazer for women in sports (tennis). Overall, I’d say this spot definitely resonated with women and Hispanic consumers.”

Cultural Insights Senior Analyst, Jenny Wolski: “This spot showcased cultural nuance while appealing to the general NFL audience: It showcased a really successful Hispanic woman. It contains Spanish speaking, and touches on warmth. It appeals to women and the Hispanic segment.”

Skogen: “I am a tiny bit skeptical with respect to the actions behind the ad, in terms of supporting women in/by the NFL. But the ad itself was really fun to watch. The kitchen scene is the best – both from the bilingual perspective, but also, every parent/teen relationship goes through this stage where the kids are dodging their moms’ hugs and kisses.”

Executive Director of Cultural Strategy, Victor Paredes: “This was my favorite of this Super Bowl. The NFL brought it with their group of commercials, not just with the game and show. The ode to the women pushing the sport was super inspiring. The cameos were very thoughtful from the opening, and I loved the mom/daughter fun Spanish moment. It touches on the group traits across the spectrum, especially women, plus Self-Directed, and Resilience, among others.”

Feelings were mixed toward a commercial from

Skogen: “Everything I have said about the teaser still applies plus I appreciate the “As long as they have childcare” tagline. I think there is still so much stigma around moms (especially) who are supposed to love every moment they have with their kids, and sacrifice everything, including their personal enjoyment. So, to have a mom who’s shamelessly singing (ha ha ha) about how she actually needs a break from her kiddos – I dig that. And our own Parent & Kids research shows that younger parents aren’t willing to center their entire lives around parenthood. Additionally, Women’s Group traits reveal a tension between the desire to meet the needs of others and prioritizing your own needs, interests, and priorities. So, for me, this checks the box.”

Damianos: “I didn’t like this in teaser form, and now after seeing the full ad, I still don’t really like it. The settings are all very theatrical and fake. The part that tends to bother me a bit is the “as long as they have childcare.” My perspective is coming from someone who doesn’t have kids, but from a gender POV, I think the I’m-sick-of-my-kids bit is an outdated trope. If the message was intended to be one where women should be empowered to take time for themselves, that could’ve been done in a different way.”

The Two Dog Commercials: The Farmer’s Dog and Amazon

Two commercials played heavily into humankind’s love of dogs. (We love dogs (and cats) here at Collage – we post pics of our pets on our “Furry Friday” Slack channel every week!) Both The Farmer’s Dog and Amazon commercial relied on a tried-and-true ad favorite – the use of a cute doggie . . . or two.  First, The Farmer’s Dog:

Goncalves: “Loved. Biracial lead. Universal insight of growing up with pets, home love etc.”

Skogen: “Very relatable, tugging at the heartstrings for sure. And the central character (a biracial?) young woman with natural hair.”

Wolski: “Component of memories. Relatable if you’re a pet owner, but also just really touching.”

Vice President of Client Services, Zekeera Belton: “OMG, I loved The Famer’s Dog and was nearly teary eyed. It just touched on the universal insight of connection, family, and the love of pets.”

But the Amazon dog commercial had a slight plot twist, which garnered mixed reviews.

Paredes: “This spot contained a clever depiction of the pet/owner relationship, as well as a clear challenge that, at some point, all dog owners face. There was also a nice touch of subtle Spanglish drizzled in that I didn’t miss.”

Damianos: “I thought this was endearing, relatable, and authentic – that is right up until the narrative of the dog’s poor behavior. Once I started seeing that, I was feeling pretty nervous and scared for how they were going to react to and treat the dog. And ultimately, buying a crate, or even getting another dog, doesn’t really seem like the right solution to me :/ This was a miss in my book. And for how much they played into emotions, this didn’t have a satisfying story arc/redemption in the end. Did the crate and the new dog end up alleviating the first dog’s behavioral problems? I’m an animal lover and these are the things I think about.”

Kumar: “I really, really loved this ad. I can totally relate to dog separation anxiety. We got a second dog recently, and the joy of the two dogs together all day is amazing. So maybe I am the prime target market for this ad? It was just a sweet story, and so relatable in regard to the pandemic and people being with their dogs and then leaving them. Yes, I agree that they are buying the crate and you think it’s to lock up the dog, but in fact, it’s not! The family is helping the dog ultimately because they do love it, even if they are frustrated. And crates are just an important part of having a dog – you need crates to transport them, and to train, etc. Just a smart way in my opinion that Amazon speaks to how they help with the things you need. Also, it’s a Hispanic family, and there is the bilingual piece, too. To me, it does tie to warmth with the Hispanic segment, and how that does (in the end) extend to their dogs, too!”

Skogen: “I hated it! The emotional manipulation of a very different kind. And got especially turned off by frame when they showed the Amazon shopping app (sort of the opposite of what an ad should really conjure). And I am not even a dog lover, but the very hint that the family appears to be shopping for a dog kennel to lock up their (presumably) pandemic puppy who’s acting up because he’s lonely now. Not cool, Amazon.”

Avocados From Mexico

The Avocados From Mexico commercial was probably the most disliked (and a bit confusing), according to the Collagers. While the intent was assumingly a lighthearted play on Adam & Eve, there was a flag on the play when it came to execution. 

Paredes: “The brand sought to dramatize the versatility of avocados, while just having lots of fun with history. It wasn’t entirely culturally in tune, but rather irreverent and provocative.”

Director of Client Services, Chanelle Okenchi: “I didn’t understand how the Adam & Eve reference was applicable, here? I was confused after watching this commercial.”

Damianos: “I’m not sure how I feel about the Adam & Eve storyline. At the core, this is a religious narrative discussing the topic of original sin. The brand probably didn’t intend for it to be read into this deeply. But I can’t help but consider the gender implications in that religious narrative, of the woman being the one to initiate a sinful act. I don’t care for this ad.”

One message was really evident, regardless of our cultural experts’ hot takes on any individual ad, and despite the swings in themes, use of celebs, who was directing the commercials, and so on. The lesson is that the data on America’s demographic changes implies that more needs to be done to authentically portray cultural diversity in advertising. We need diversity behind the camera, too: on marketing teams, in leadership positions, and in board rooms. No marketer can be successful in the United States now without understanding and acting on the cultural transformation of the American consumer. Contact us to learn more about how Collage Group’s programs and services can help you advance your Cultural Fluency journey.

Other Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Quintin Simmons

Quintin Simmons
Public Relations & Communications Manager

Quintin Simmons is Public Relations & Communications manager at Collage Group. He has over two decades of journalism and communications experience, having written and edited for a variety of publications, and servicing as media rep for a number of national outlets. Quintin, a communications and media relations expert, is always looking to connect and engage with writers and reporters.

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Touchdowns and Fumbles from the Super Bowl 57 Ads

Here at Collage Group, we pride ourselves in working hard to help the nation’s best companies – large and small – better connect with diversifying America.

February 10, 2023
Quintin Simmons – Public Relations & Communications Manager

But we also like to have fun with our knowledge. So annually, we get together to view some of the newly pre-released Super Bowl ads and this year was no different. Our experts grabbed the popcorn and sat down to enjoy some funny, witty, and (hopefully) diverse commercials over a Zoom lunch, with plans to banter about the various spots. Which commercials would best resonate with today’s growing multicultural audience?

One of the first things we collectively noticed was the great amount of teaser ads. There was no shortage of commercials that gave us hints, but by design, didn’t quite explain the premise or concept.

We also observed that many of the brands went the route of using lesser-known celebrities, or those well beyond their prime. One ad featured Aidan Hutchinson (a pretty good football player, but not super well-known), while another starred Ozzy Osbourne (a superstar in his day, but probably not very-well known among millennials and Gen Zers).

Disappointedly, there weren’t many commercials that featured diversity across race and ethnicity. Even diversity in terms of sexuality and gender was lacking.

A good amount of the spots made an attempt to lean into humor, while more than a few were rather bewildering.

The first ad we reviewed was one for

Director of Cultural Insights, Katya Skogen thought the brand made an excellent selection in going with Melissa McCarthy as the spokesperson.

“Her unapologetically confident embrace of self-care through indulgence is so disarming and oh-so on-brand for her. This is the essence of taking care of her own needs and on her own terms. And we see this attitude really resonate with so many women in our own research. Melissa’s enterprising and self-assured tone is particularly salient for Gen X consumers, the forgotten generation which, despite being in its prime earning (and spending) years, continues to fly under the radar in much of the cultural conversation.”

Skogen also enjoyed the gender role reversal displayed in the ad.

“A choice to cast a (White!) man as a massage therapist is a cherry on top of this already sweet, sweet spot. I should note that the luxurious, opulent setting may come across as alienating. But that’s true of the travel industry as a whole: When the cost of living ratchets up, travel becomes more of an aspiration, a luxury that’s out of reach for many.”

Custom Solutions Analyst, Maria Garavito also found it risky for the spot to be featured in the backdrop of lavishness.

“I thought the ad was a bit tone-deaf to the current economic situation. A spa day in what looks to be a private apartment, full of expensive art, and Melissa eating what appears to be jamón ibérico (a notoriously hyper-expensive food) is so completely divorced from the reality this country is currently in, it broke any enjoyment I could have had of Melissa’s acting (who I’m usually a big fan of).”

To that point, Collage has asked Americans how they are coping with the current erratic economic situation. Many agree that inflation has taken quite a toll.

Research Manager of Cultural Insights, Giana Damianos was a bit confused by the spot.

“I did not like the one with Melissa McCarthy. What is it really promoting? The setting was all fake, and not something you’d really book.”

The next ad we viewed was one for Rakuten, which turned out to be very well liked amongst the group.

Research Manager of Custom Insights, Melis Hernandez said she enjoyed this one the most.

“The Clueless reference was my favorite because as a Millennial, I love that movie and the ad elicited positive feelings the moment I saw Cher’s iconic outfit, and the main actress. I also think that it’s a great fit for a shopping brand like Rakuten.”

Clueless, of course, is a classic comedy from the mid-90’s. As if. Rakuten likely figured the commercial would score well with millennials and Gen Xers.

Cultural Insights Analyst, Elizandra Granillo agreed that this was a great spot.

“Cher from Clueless returns. Rakuten is an e-commerce brand, and Alicia Silverstone’s character Cher is obsessed with shopping, making it a perfect fit! This ad not only taps into older millennials’ nostalgia for the 90s, but also younger millennials who probably remember Iggy Azalea’s Fancy music video from 2014, which is a tribute to Clueless and starts with the same scene as this ad. And since late 90s/ Y2K fashion is so trendy, this also appeals to teen shoppers looking for inspiration for self-expression.”

Director of Cultural Insights, Sudipti Kumar is also a fan of Clueless, and thus also a fan of the ad:

“Total nostalgia vibes on Alicia Silverstone playing Cher! Loved seeing that and made me remember it was for Rakuten and so smart since she was/is such a shopper.”

To that point, Collage has been intently observing and analyzing the unique behaviors of younger multicultural shoppers.

The next ad: Bud Light featuring Miles and Keleigh Teller.

Skogen: “This one checks so many boxes when it comes to successful Super Bowl Ads: light humor, celebrity, cute dog, and, of course, beer – not necessarily in that order. The creative genius of this commercial, in my opinion, is in its cleverly layered approach. For all the fifteen Americans who’ve managed to dodge the 2022 pop cultural sensation of Top Gun: Maverick and Miles (the Rooster) Teller — this is a cute couple making the most of the hours spent on hold. For the Gen X parents who’ve seized the opportunity to share this blast-from-the-past blockbuster with their Gen Z and Gen Alpha offspring, seeing Teller on big game day is yet another sweet hit of nostalgia. As for Gen Z fans of the celebrity couple, the spot itself is a natural extension of #tellertok — a peek into the actor’s everyday life laced with a healthy dose of thirst traps, which are endorsed, encouraged, and generously supplied by Teller’s spouse, Keleigh Sperry. The creative team behind the ad offers an opportunity for each viewer to experience this commercial from their own emotional vantage point. But what really makes this spot for me is how relatable and sweet it is. Being stuck on hold – everyone has experienced that! A caring partner who’s trying to cheer you up? Yes, PLEASE! And a GUY fetching the refreshments? (A 180-degree pivot from a nameless, subservient lady of the house bringing chips-and-dip and cleaning up spills.) Well, sign me up for that, too! The only part that’s clearly fiction is that celebrities make their own customer service calls, but I happily suspend disbelief there.”

Cultural Insights Research Manager, Jill Rosenfeld concurred that Bud Light was a clear favorite:

“This ad takes a very relatable, painful experience – waiting on hold for customer service for seemingly forever – and turns it into a cute moment between partners. Miles and Keleigh Teller make the most of their hold time by opening a Bud Light and having a dance party to the beat of the hold music. It also stars the couple’s real-life dog!”

Next up was Avocados From Mexico:

Skogen was a tad taken aback on this one.

“Yes, the brand’s known for its cheeky ads. Yes, the jingle is catchy. But I can’t get over Anna Faris looking utterly dumbfounded and clueless as Eve. I might be overreacting, and all I’ve seen is the teaser so far, but I am peeved to see this kind of representation of a woman on screen. Tonal choices like this are one of the many reasons 46% of women are dissatisfied with portrayals of their gender in advertising.” (Source: Collage Group America Now Survey, September 2022)

The commercial from Pringles was a letdown, according to a few Collagers, including Granillo. She thought the spot had a great opportunity to reach diverse America . . . but ultimately missed the mark:

“I think the ad fell short on the story about this song and what it represents. We know that TikTok offers younger generations the ability to explore other cultures and be creative, so a good example would have been showing how this song became viral and how different people experienced the Made You Look dance challenge. This would have been especially appealing to Hispanic and Black Americans, who are more likely to engage across different media types.”

Rosenfeld also did not love the commercial, but for a different reason:

“My least favorite was the Pringles ad starring Meghan Trainor. It is not very relatable to many people showing her in a very fancy high-rise apartment, plus I just don’t like that song very much or think the joke about getting your hand stuck in a Pringles can is very funny.”

As a team, most of the experts were a bit perplexed by a commercial from a brand called Limit Break, a blockchain-based game developer. It was about a giveaway of NFTs . . . we think! Confusion aside, one thing was quite evident with this advertisement: It was the least liked by the group.

Kumar: “Disappointed to not see many multicultural/ diverse people in the ads! I did not like the Mint ad specifically because it was so unclear what it’s for and I don’t feel like I want to know more after watching it.”

Hernandez: “My least favorite one was the NFT gaming ad. I am not familiar with the brand or the product. On top of that, the ad felt low budget, and the quality just wasn’t at the level of a ‘Super Bowl Ad’.”

Director, Business Development, Joe Zigtema: “I’m probably getting up to grab a drink and snack during this commercial.”

Our overall assessment was mixed. Some commercials were pretty funny and memorable. But as noted, the diversity element was missing. We all wanted to see more multiculturalism. Garavito summed it up well:

“All of the commercials felt like they were targeted toward older people, white people, or men, and, as a young Latina, none of the ads really landed. (Also, worth noting that I don’t think a single spot we watched featured any Latine people.)”

Garavito raises an excellent oversight. Collage Group research shows that the U.S. is growing more diverse every year, and brands that fail to market to this growing demographic could end up regretting that calculation in just a few short years. Culturally Fluent brands understand that engaging diverse consumers not only is crucial to driving positive outcomes in 2023 but also will enable them to leap-frog competitors when the economy improves.

As an aside, we should note that in order to compile our thoughts and distribute them in a timely fashion, we decided to watch the ads a couple of days before the Big Game. Therefore, we could only critique what was available, as some brands decided to keep their commercials tightly under wraps until Super Sunday. However, we’re planning to provide an update post Super Bowl. Also, later this month, we’re releasing a CultureRate:Ad review of even more Super Bowl ads, so stay tuned!

Other Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Quintin Simmons

Quintin Simmons
Public Relations & Communications Manager

Quintin Simmons is Public Relations & Communications manager at Collage Group. He has over two decades of journalism and communications experience, having written and edited for a variety of publications, and servicing as media rep for a number of national outlets. Quintin, a communications and media relations expert, is always looking to connect and engage with writers and reporters.

Get In Touch.

There's a world of Data Insight Opportunity just for you

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Iconic American Brands Connect with Black Consumers Using Culture, Partnerships

McCormick, Walmart, and Sprite, among top 10 brands to resonate with Black Americans.

February 8, 2023
Sudipti Kumar – Associate Director

New Collage Group insights identify the top 10 culturally fluent brands among Black Americans.

Our 2023 study measures how brands have been able to use culture efficiently and effectively to appeal to the Black segment. According to the findings, Walmart, YouTube, Lysol, Sprite, Visa, McCormick, Dove, Febreze, Netflix, and Google resonate the best among Black consumers.

These brands were so successful in connecting with Black America because they effectively engaged the passions of Black consumers. Each of the top brands displayed that they understand Black consumer values and made intentional efforts to engage and support them.

In these assessments, Collage Group uses the Brand Cultural Fluency Quotient (B-CFQ) score to determine brand resonance across six different cultural factors. The quotient takes into account Fit, Relevance, Memories, Values, Trust, and Advocacy.

Top 10 culturally fluent brands for black consumers

McCormick, for example, put forth a winning campaign by tapping into Black interests and creativity. This approach was embraced by the Black community. The brand partnered with award-winning chef Millie Peartree, an African American woman famously known for her tasty dishes and affordable recipes.

Through the partnership, McCormick acknowledged the history and prominence of soul food by transforming traditional charcuterie boards into “Soul-Cuterie” boards in celebration of Black History Month 2022.

McCormick also teamed up with another popular African American food influencer, Tabitha Brown, working with her to form her own seasoning line. Pairing with these two women – Peartree and Brown – helps McCormick connect with the Black community on the point of Relevance.

Beyond that, an extensive inventory of seasonings and recipes drives Fit and Values, while the commitment to celebrating Black traditional soul foods, further ties into Values, as well as Memories, and Advocacy.

Sixty-four percent of Black Americans express that they find joy in cooking at home versus eating out, compared to 54% of the population. Furthermore, 63% of Black Americans say they seek new things to do, try, and see, including new foods and meals.

From a social media perspective, 88% of Black consumers follow influencers or content creators on social media platforms, while 42% of the segment follows food and cooking influencers/ content creators. McCormick’s campaign was a huge success with these Black social media users.

Chart showing McCormick spice usage at home

Walmart’s efforts to connect with Black consumers also garnered a positive reaction among the Black community. Walmart’s approach is related to the brand’s focus on affordability and its commitment to uplifting Black Americans as a whole.

We know Black consumers have expressed concern about their financial circumstances, and recognize an overwhelming majority of Black Americans want brands to do something to combat social and political issues. Walmart directly acted on these desires, and as a result, won over many of these consumers.

To that point, 72% of Black Americans are worried about their finances and 83% have called on brands to be involved in social issues in some respect. In response, for Walmart+ members, Walmart instituted free shipping on online orders, and withdrew delivery fees on orders totaling at least $35. The brand also invested in a $2 million grant in the name of racial equity, plus another $3.3 million in criminal justice reform.

Walmart’s emphasis on savings connects to Fit and Values. Additionally, the brand’s ongoing efforts to invest in Black enrichment, and taking a stance on social matters, connects on Relevance and builds Trust. These actions, among other endeavors in support of the Black community, helped make Walmart the number one brand among Black consumers.

Sprite put forth the “Sprite Limelight musical campaign” featuring Hip-Hop artist Coi Leray, and the endeavor was largely enjoyed and welcomed by Black consumers. Black Americans have a long-lasting relationship with Hip-Hop, as it has played a significant role in the evolution of Black culture.

To that point, 54% of Black Americans say they are more likely to listen to Hip-Hop music (including rap) compared to 33% for the total population. Moreover, 34% of the Black segment enjoys consuming music that is part of their cultural heritage. So, when Sprite interjects this genre within their commercials, it is not surprising that Black consumers have a favorable reaction. The Limelight ads in particular, in featuring Hip-Hop music, connect with Black Americas on Memories, Advocacy, Fit, Trust and Values.

Sprite has an impressive record of amplifying the voices of Black musicians and promoting Black athletes. This history helps the brand ultimately gain loyalty among Black consumers, activating Memories, Advocacy and Trust.

Other Multicultural Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Sudipti Kumar

Sudipti Kumar
Associate Director

Sudipti is an Associate Director on Collage Group’s Product and Content team. She is a graduate from NYU’s Stern School of Business where she studied finance and marketing, and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs where she received her Masters in Public Administration. In her spare time, Sudipti enjoys reading, cooking, and learning to crochet.

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The Top Ten Brands for Black Consumers: Insights from CultureRate

Read below and download our report to see the top ten Culturally Fluent brands among Black consumers.

February 7, 2022
Elizandra Granillo – Analyst

Culturally fluent brands are able to use culture efficiently and effectively to connect across segments. In this report, we share the top ten most culturally fluent brands for Black consumers.

Our list is based off our analysis of 320 brands tested in 2022 through our CultureRate:Brand process. CultureRate:Brand provides a one-stop solution for our members’ mounting need for a comprehensive, ongoing analysis of the cultural fluency of their brands.

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our
The Top 10 Brands for Black Consumers presentation.

Top 10 Brands for Black Consumers - guide cover

At Collage, we measure cultural fluency by gauging consumer sentiment across 6 key dimensions: Relevance, Fit, Memories, Trust, Advocacy and Values. These dimensions are weighed and combined to create the Brand Cultural Fluency Quotient (B-CFQ) score. The B-CFQ score gives members crucial insights into their brand’s resonance across different consumer segments and where to focus strategies for improvement. From all of the brands we’ve tested in 2022, we’ve identified the top brands for Black consumers through their average B-CFQ score and compare it against the outgroup.

Our list of top brands includes some that are universally appealing across segments (e.g., Walmart and Visa) and some that are uniquely popular among Black consumers (e.g., Sprite and McCormick). 

Culturally fluent brands for black consumers chart

Top Strategies from Uniquely High-Performing Brands:

Sprite and McCormick leverage key passions for the Black segment, speak to specific values the Black community holds, and connect on key aspects of Black consumers’ identity.
Sprite soda and hip hop partnership chart
Food and multicultural spirituality chart

Top Strategies from Shared High-Performing Brands:

Walmart and Visa boost their brands’ Halo Effects with Black consumers by having cross-segment appeal. Their efforts to educate, support, and provide spaces for Black Americans to thrive make them winners across race and ethnicity.

Brands that drive fit and advocacy chart
Chart showing Black American brand advocacy

Other Black Consumer Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Elizandra Granillo

Elizandra Granillo

Elizandra is an Analyst on Collage Group’s Product & Content team. She is a 2020 graduate from San Diego State University where she studied Anthropology. Her previous experience includes ethnographic research across the Tijuana-San Diego Border Region.

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