Posts tagged with "vacation"

When pigs float

October 15, 2018

If you’re waiting to fulfill any life goals “until pigs fly,” maybe you should know that they already are “floating.” Yes, a colony of pigs is floating, swimming, and paddling in the warm waters off southeast Nassau, according to an October 9 report by CNN.

The hog heaven is located on the sandy coastlines of the Exumas—an archipelago of 365 cays and islands. And the pigs who live there have learned that when tourists approach in small boats, food and treats come with them. The swine swim out to meet the boats and, once the visitors arrive at Big Major Cay, the tourists can disembark and interact with the pigs in the warm water or on the beach.

The juxtaposition of pigs and paradise makes for epic and endearing photographs and selfies. As a result, CNN says, the oinkers collectively have established themselves as a social media sensation—achieving Kardashian-style fame practically overnight.

There are about 20 pigs and piglets living the good life on the beach. How and when did they arrive?  Nobody knows for sure. Big Major Cay is uninhabited and the pigs are not native to the island. According to local folklore, they could have paddled there from a nearby shipwreck. But the more likely story is that residents of neighboring islands put them in the secluded spot intentionally— to proliferate and please visitors (and in the past, to serve as a source of pork when needed).

David Hocher, owner of the Staniel Cay Yacht Club on neighboring Staniel Cay, told CNN that Big Major has another critical resource: fresh water. “Not every island around here has fresh water like Big Major,” says Hocher, who grew up on Staniel Cay. “That island is perfectly set up to support and sustain life.”

Most of the pigs have names. Some, such as Cinnamon and Ginger, were named for their color patterns. Others, such as Raleigh, Roosevelt, and Shirley, were named after friends and ancestors. The three large mother pigs were named after matriarchs from Staniel Cay: Blanche, Maggie and Diane.

And earlier this year, local volunteers formed the Official Swimming Pigs Association, a nonprofit devoted to caring for the pigs. The group makes sure the pigs always have fresh water, which they store in three 150-gallon drums at the center of the island. Volunteers also built separate pens for piglets, as well as for animals who are ill and need medical treatment. A veterinarian from Nassau provides those services.

Perhaps the most important job for volunteers is to monitor the pigs’ diet, so that it includes healthy meals, in addition to the treats brought by the tourists. They do this by mixing vitamins with the water and providing the animals with food pellets to supplement the berries and other items the pigs forage on their own.

Research contact: @mattvillano

Midlife panic: A red sports car is the least of it

July 30, 2018

You look in the mirror and realize that you are no longer “young.” Your children are going off to college. Your career has not produced either riches or fame. You still are paying a mortgage and mowing the lawn.

It’s called a midlife crisis—and it can have serious ramifications on your relationships, your career, your bank account, and even your mental health. Those little red sports cars cost money. So does a trip to the Bahamas. And let’s not even talk about the psychological and financial aftermath of an affair.

But all those sports car clichés are bandied about for a reason, according to the findings of a poll conducted by Healthspan Ubiquinol and posted by Metro UK. Researchers polled 1,000 men age 40 an above.. More than half  said they truly had experienced a midlife crisis, with the majority saying that it had hit at around age 47.

Women admit to the same thoughts and feelings—but most do not express them in a flamboyant way. Instead, women are likely to become more “selfish”—carving out time in their lives for things they want to do, such as exercise or run a marathon, or go back to school.

Men very often do cope with a midlife crisis by buying wild and wonderful things. Based on the poll results, the average man will spend US$2,760 (£2,106) during his midlife crisis, with a flashy vacation the most common purchase.

As well as trips abroad, men in the midst of a midlife crisis were likely to buy (in order of respondent preference):

  1. A vacation
  2. A new gadget
  3. A sports car
  4. Designer clothing
  5. A motorbike
  6. Tickets to a concert
  7. A new tattoo
  8. A trip traveling around the world
  9. A gym membership
  10. A games console
  11. A designer watch
  12. Tickets to a music festival
  13. Major home renovations
  14. Expensive or vintage alcohol
  15. Sex toys
  16. A new house or property
  17. A new hairstyle/color
  18. A musical instrument
  19. An expensive bicycyle
  20. Jewelery

One man polled blamed his midlife crisis for buying a US$2,622 (£2,000) Armani suit, another said he had spent US$92,000 (£70,000) on a car, and yet another said he had purchased a US$2,400 (£1,800) albino python.

Psychologist Dr Meg Arroll told Metro UK, “Reaching midlife can act as a significant milestone for many men and is a time when some men become keenly aware of their own mortality. This can result in a profound sense of turmoil and confusion, as life may not have turned out as envisaged (it rarely does). ‘For some men a way to cope with these feelings is to make life-changing decisions regarding relationships and money.”

“‘However,” she said, “this period of introspection doesn’t necessarily have to be negative, For some men, middle age can … be positive, leading to more time spent with family, health kicks ,and getting back to once-loved hobbies.’

In addition to inspiring some less then sensible purchases, the men surveyed revealed that their midlife crises changed their health and relationships—and often, not for the better. Over one-third (37%) said their relationships had lost their spark; 34% said they were more likely to argue with their partner; and 20% said they struggled to see the good in their relationships and family life. Nearly half (48%) said their energy levels dropped after reaching middle age, too. So that’s some fun stuff for us all to anticipate.

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Made to order: Why we personalize our purchases

June 15, 2018

Do you like using products that have a personal touch, in terms of color, design, initials, or even taste? Just three years ago, only 17% of U.S. consumers ever had purchased a personalized sneaker, technology product, meal, vacation, or household appliance. However, YouGov reports that, the so-called “personalization economy” has experienced a major increase in demand. Today, at least one in four Americans (26%) say that they have added a personal touch to a product, either for themselves or someone else.

Why personalize? According to the researchers, there are five major reasons why consumers take this approach—among them:

  1. To design a product to meet a specific need (types of materials, shape, size, duration);
  2. To identify a product as “belonging to me;”
  3. To design something just for fun;
  4. To feel pride in creating/designing something;
  5. To demonstrate creativity; or
  6. To stand out from other people.

Among those who create their own unique products, sneakers (29%) and other forms of apparel are tops for personalization, tied by food and beverages (29%); and followed by technology products (27%), vacation and travel experiences (25%), and household goods (22%).

What’s more, personalizers can be identified by their age and personality traits. They are generally younger (40% Millennials), highly educated (30%), and have disposable income to spend (31%). Indeed, nearly half of this group (46%) say that they would be willing to pay more for an individualized product; which enables brands to market to them at a premium.

In addition, most personalizers could be described as social, outgoing, and optimistic, according to YouGov.

Data on the online behaviors of this particular consumer segment is rich, YouGov says. It demonstrates that personalizers aren’t simply tech-savvy—they strive to be early adopters of technology. That may explain why they’re more likely to be a part of the ever-growing live streaming audience. Live streaming may not be new, but fueled by social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, and Twitch, the format has been reinvigorated by a surge of mobile users. Personalizers tend to use their smartphones (38%) most of all of their devices and a majority (62%) say they watch live streams.

Given that personalizers tend to be social and that the heart of a live streaming channel is its community, the two seem to go hand-in-hand. It’s also an interactive platform that allows brands to get immediate, real-time data about their viewers.

What’s more, compared to people who have never done so, personalizers are more likely to go to movie theaters, listen to online radio, or play games on a console. A multi-platform approach may prove the best way to stay connected with these digital natives.

Finally, the researchers believe, the personalization economy will continue to grow and shape what consumers expect from products and services. Whether a brand already offers personalization or is still testing the waters, looking to what makes the consumer tick is the key.

From an opportunity perspective, they say, brands can get closer to their customers by using personalization as a transformative tool—one that turns a product into a shared experience using a brand’s resources and consumer’s sense of identity.

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Ingraham’s departed sponsors see little blowback, while fallout hits Fox

April 4, 2018

Early data show the Fox News Channel brand sustaining greater financial losses—as well as damage in consumer perception—than any advertiser currently boycotting host Laura Ingraham’s television show, according to findings of a YouGov BrandIndex released on April 2.

Since advertisers began pulling out of The Ingraham Angle following the host’s incendiary tweets on March 28 about Parkland, Florida, shooting survivor David Hogg, nine of them have seen negligible movement in their Buzz Scores. What’s more, several have improved in their ratings—as follows:

  1. Progressive (previous score as of March 29: 10.7/current score as of April 1: 11.7);
  2. Office Depots (8.1/8.9);
  3. TripAdvisor (7.4/8.1);
  4. Johnson & Johnson (6.0/6.4);
  5. Expedia (6.7/7.0);
  6. Liberty Mutual (11.1/11.1);
  7. Ruby Tuesday (5.9/5.6)
  8. Hulu (14.3/13.9)
  9. Jos A Bank (4.6/4.2);
  10. Fox News Channel (-3.4/-6.89)

Hogg had immediately listed the names of Ingraham’s sponsors on his own Twitter account after her tweeted taunts—urging activists to call the advertisers and tell them to stop doing business with the Fox bully.

Of all of the brands, Fox News Channel’s Buzz Score dipped the most during the first days following the advertisers’ exodus, with more consumers hearing negative things than positive—indicating that the network could suffer from the controversy.

What’s more, advertisers continued to decamp, even as the host announced that she would take a one-week vacation and tweeted her apologies to Hogg on March 29, in an effort to stop the bleeding.

A Fox spokesperson stated that Ingraham’s time off had been previously planned.

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Legislation in NYC would allow employees to unplug after work

April 3, 2018

In the “city that never sleeps,” there are still many people who would love to unplug. In recognition of that fact, New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal (D-37th District), introduced the Disconnecting from Work bill on March 22, which would make it “unlawful for private employers in the City of New York to require employees to check and respond to email and other electronic communications during non-work hours.”

Such legislation would be very popular among workers in the Big Apple, based on findings of research conducted last month by The Harris Poll and released this week.

According to Harris Poll 2018 data from the National Day of Unplugging— March 9—nearly half of American workers (47%) strongly/somewhat agree that they wish their companies had digital detox policies restricting emails on the weekends. And more Millennials (31%) than any other age group would take a pay cut to work at a company that enforced digital restrictions for employees (e.g., no emails on vacation, after 11pm, or on weekends).

The problem that the legislation would address? One-quarter of respondents (25%) strongly/somewhat agree that it’s “difficult to unplug because my boss is always on.”

The bill would only apply to private businesses with ten or more employees and, if passed, it would prevent employers from taking action against employees who fail to respond to electronic communications when they are off duty, on vacation or taking sick leave. However, the law would not affect employees who work overtime or are on call all day.

“I think that because of technology, the lines have been blurred on when the work day begins and when the work day ends, and there are employers who take advantage of that fact,” Espinal said.“ I think this is a win-win, not only for the employee but also for the employers because their employees… [can] decompress, reduce anxiety and be able to perform better when they get to the work the next day.”

Employers who violate the law would be subject to a fine of $250.

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