The Business of Influence

Did FTX kill the age of influence?

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The FTX story just Keeps. Getting. Worse. Less than a year ago, the former crypto giant was valued at $32 billion while its golden-boy founder graced magazine covers. Now, SBF’s being called the “millennial Madoff” for his role in a scandal that’s “worse than Enron.” Big yikes.

FTX investors and account holders aren’t the only ones left holding the bag either. Here’s a closer look at how the fallout is changing the celebrity influencer game as we know it.

The People vs. Celebrity Influencers

Turns out Larry David was right to be skeptical. Now, the Curb star is part of a who’s who of A-list defendants being accused of using their celeb status to promote the web3 Ponzi scheme, alongside Steph Curry, Shaq, Tom Brady and Gisele.

It may feel like this lawsuit is just doing exactly what FTX did – leveraging big names for big publicity – but no one’s claiming the celebs were actively involved in the fraud. Or even understood what they were endorsing (something Curry’s ad made perfectly clear). Still, there are different rules for pushing securities vs. supplements, a lesson the OG celeb influencer Kim Kardashain learned the hard way in October, when she was fined $1.26 million for shilling cryptocoins on IG.

MSN | November 18, 2022

Celebrity investors got burned too

At its peak, everyone from Goop to Eminem joined the Bored Ape (Yacht) club as investing in the colorful NFT collection became Hollywood’s trendiest new flex. Apparently A-listers are every bit as prone to financial FOMO as the rest of us. (Celebs, they’re just like us!) And their investments got hit just as hard when FTX’s collapse pushed crypto prices down even further.

Justin Bieber’s Bored Ape #3001 took a 95% hit in value; purchased for $1.3M in January, it’s now worth an estimated $70K. (Is it too late now to say sorry?) Fueled by FTX, the NFT market just keeps dipping, partly due to spooked investors and partly due to crypto’s shrinking buying power.

Decrypt | November 16, 2022

Ronaldo x Binance 🚀

Maybe Ronaldo was too busy forcing his Man U release to pay attention to the latest web3 news, but the soccer superstar recently joined forces with FTX’s former rival Binance to launch an NFT collection on the eve of the World Cup. And while we’re sure the endorsement deal was in the works long before FTX broke, it’s still not great timing, considering, well, see above… 

Here’s hoping Ronaldo took his cut in fiat.

Insider | November 21, 2022

From OC to SEC 

File this under “I told you so”: Ben McKenzie (aka Ryan from The O.C.) first sounded the alarm about the dangers of lax regulations and celebs like TB12 and Kim K shilling crypto in a 2021 guest post for Slate. Now, he’s writing a book about it, called “Easy Money.”

The more McKenzie researched, the more worried he got about crypto’s potential to defraud retail investors. “It’s a massive speculative bubble,” he told a Wall Street Journal conference last month, saying he felt “an obligation to speak out.” Call him the world’s first anti-crypto celebrity influencer.

Wall Street Journal | October 25, 2022

Say goodbye to the age of influence?

FTX may not mean the end of the celebrity endorsement (clearly), but it might make influencers think twice before dropping their next #ad. According to MarketWatch, YouTube stars like Meet Kevin were paid $2,500 for every FTX mention, and some even received commissions for customer referrals. 

Now, these financial influencers are scrambling to issue apology videos, claiming they were duped by FTX just like everyone else. Fans and federal investigators aren’t as sure, and SEC fines could be incoming. So stay tuned, and don’t forget to like and subscribe. haha.

MarketWatch | November 22, 2022


The Recession ABCs

Charting the Greatest Hits from the economy’s biggest Ls

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We’ve talked about the “lipstick index” before – the theory that we splurge on small luxuries more during a recession. After booming in early 2022, the effect’s beginning to fade. Blame the decidedly-less-rosy “misery index” – which got us thinking about other Greatest Hits coined during economic downturns. 

So gather ‘round: it’s time for recession ABCs. 

(What even is a “recession,” anyway? Technically-speaking, it’s when a country’s GDP declines for 2+ straight quarters.)

The dot-com bubble 

Economic “bubbles” date wayyyyyyyyy back to the infamous South Sea Bubble of 1720, when British investors got whipped into a speculative frenzy, only to lose their waistcoats. Fast-forward to 2000, when “dot-com” startups collectively went poof. Unfortunately, most bubbles only seem obvious after they’ve burst.

See also:The everything bubble” 

Like a regular bubble, only instead of one industry being up, everything’s up. (And we do mean everything.) Which only makes it that much more 😱when it finally pops. 

The Shecession 

COVID’s economic effects hit everyone hard. It just hit women harder (especially WOC). The unemployment rate for women jumped to 15% in spring 2020, and the effects continue to linger.

See also: “Mancession”

Coined during the Great Recession, after men accounted for 80% of job losses in ‘09.

The Great Recession 

As in, the Great Depression. Although, turns out the punny moniker’s not exactly fresh. It’s been used to describe recessions big and small since the early ‘70s.

See also: “Bailout” 

Another golden oldie. Merriam-Webster’s 2008 “Word of the Year” first appeared in print in 1939, the year the US economy finally pulled out of the Great Depression. Makes sense. Remakes were big business in the 2000s.


The short-term rental market exploded as a pandemic hustle in 2021, leading to a 62% increase in listings, and a crash course in supply-and-demand for would-be Airbnbarons. In markets where listings boomed by over 50%, occupancy rates have dropped by 10%. Even though bookings are down, the company reported record profits in Q3 — meaning it’s still too early to say for sure if this Airbnbubble has Airbnburst. 

See also: “Staycation”

This WWII-era mashup morphed from quippy way of saying “We can’t afford to go away” during the Great Recession to a form of pandemic self-care. Glow-up!


Some Very High-Priced Advice

…for that person who just won the PowerBall

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So, you won the $2B Powerball haul. Congratulations. Any interest in buying Twitter in a month? I digress. We’ve got stuff to discuss. Psychology stuff. Your brain and money stuff.  

According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, about 70% of people who win the lottery, or receive a large windfall, go bankrupt within a few years. Why does this happen? Mental Accounting has something to do with it. US Economist Richard Thaler coined the term, and it looks at the ways in which we view and consider the money we have. 

When someone wins the lottery, they tend to view that money differently than the money they’ve earned. They value it differently, and so they tend to treat it differently, and spend it more easily. Actually, lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy within 3 to 5 years.

Combine the reality of Mental Accounting with the stress of family… and neighbours, and friends, and dogs, and your friend’s cousin’s boyfriend’s roommate all thinking they’d like a piece of that sweet lottery pie, and suddenly you can understand why the few States that allow lottery winners to remain anonymous are praised, mostly by the winners of their lotteries.  

What are we getting at? The lottery is not a good investment. The return on your lottery ticket investment is almost always nothing. Zero. Zilch. And studies show that the majority of winners end up with less than they had before winning.

So, instead of spending $2 on a lottery ticket every week, put that money somewhere you know it will grow. But also… remember I’m your best friend and could use a new TV Car House. 

Kidding! Just not about the lottery stuff. x


The Economics of A Lottery Win

Running the Numbers on Winning Numbers

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A Billion with two Bs… 

After 40 draws came up dry, the largest lottery purse in US history has claimed a winner, and they’re somewhere in Los Angeles County.

Talk about a Hollywood ending. 

Two billion-dollar lottery wins in six months. It may have you thinking, “geez, should I get in on this?!” 

2 billion is such a big number that if you counted to 2 billion, saying one number every second, it would take over 63 years.

Here are some other numbers to consider:

The odds of winning this $2.04B were about 1 in 292.2 million. In other words, you had a better chance of getting struck by lightning, getting eaten by a Grizzly, AND playing in the NBA than winning the lottery.

Still, in Pennsylvania, retailers were selling 200 tickets a second over lunch this week.

How Winning Works.

So, let’s say you DO win the lottery. Or maybe you just did. Congratulations! I’m so glad I’m your best friend in the world. Do you need me to clean your room or live in your mansion or anything?

A few things to consider: you won’t actually receive the $2B, for reasons we’ll get into. Before we do, you have a decision to make. You can receive your money as a lump sum, or you can receive your money in 30 payments over 29 years.

Which. To. Choose?

Option A. The Lump Sum.

Opt for the “lump sum”, and that $2 billion drops down to $997.6 million before you’ve even had a chance to pick up the bullet-proof briefcase. Turns out you pay a penalty for taking it all in one haul

Next, you’ll be taxed on the lump sum federally and locally (although not, coincidentally, in California). 

The Powerball winnings are expected to take a 50% tax hit, leaving you with a final sum of $498.8 million. It’s nothing to sneeze at, but it’s also a long way from $2B. 

Option B. The Annuity. 

Your other option is to take 30 payments over 29 years. The Annuity Option. With this option you won’t get “penalized” with a hit off the top, and before taxes, you’ll actually receive the full $2.04 billion over 29 years. 

At the time of posting, the annual after tax amount for this option isn’t known. But whatever it is, Option B will leave you with a significantly larger sum than Option A’s lump sum leftovers.

So, perhaps this seems like a no-brainer — “take the bigger number!” But wait. What IS the bigger number? As a savvy, financially literate investor, you could take Option A’s $498.8 million lump sum, invest it in a diversified portfolio, and in 29 years of compounding at 6%, you’d add over $3.96B to that smaller lump sum. 

An extra $4B? Maybe compound interest is what people mean when they say less is more…


The Economics of Seasonal Pop-Up Stores

Retail bottom-feeders, or real estate saviours?

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Halloween decorations have come down. The candy’s gone. Long gone. And same goes for the Halloween pop-ups, which turned back into empty storefronts at the stroke of midnight on November 1st, just like Cinderella’s pumpkin. (Except for the few that swap the skeletons out for Santas and, boom!, Christmas store.)

The vast majority of these spooky seasonal stores only open from September to November 1st. So, what about the other 10 months of the year?

Are seasonal stores good for annual business?

From single pop-up to Halloween empire

Legend has it, in 1983, Joe Marver realized he could make more in one month selling Halloween costumes than he made selling dresses all year-round. Goodbye Spirit Women’s Discount Apparel, hello Spirit Halloween. (Yup, the “spooky” name’s just a coincidence.) Spencer Gifts acquired the company in ‘99, growing 60 pop-ups into 1,450 locations across the US and Canada. Boo ya.

It’s not just Spirit though. Party City has Halloween City (which turns 1/5th of its seasonal pop-ups into Toy City, come Christmastime). There’s Halloween Express, and Halloween Adventure on the East Coast. All riff on the same business model: take over a vacant storefront, move millions in Halloween gear, do it all again the following year.

How much money can you make in two months?

Plenty. Seasonal stores captured an estimated 35% of Halloween sales in 2018. This year, Americans spent a record $7 billion on Halloween costumes and decorations. You do the math. (Or we can.) That’s $2.45B!

According to the New York Times, traditional party stores do about 30% of their annual sales between Labor Day and Halloween. For pop-ups like Spirit, it’s closer to 90%, with 70% of that rolling in in the final two weeks before Halloween. (The remaining 10% is from online shopping, available 24/7/365.)

How do they do it?

Spirit’s workforce is overwhelmingly seasonal. This, short-term leases and the ability to carry unsold merchandise over each year (something Calendar Club can’t do) allow the company to turn a profit despite making over half its revenue during a two-week window. 

Don’t get it twisted though: Spirit HQ remains open year-round, pouring over last year’s sales numbers and trying to predict next year’s costume trends. Meanwhile, the real estate team starts location-scouting Nov. 1, and calling commercial landlords in February.

Bottom-feeders, or real estate saviors?

Halloween pop-ups aren’t just recession-proof, they’re recession-thriving. More hurting retailers = more vacant stores = more potential locations. In 2009, Spirit took over 83 vacant Circuit City locations. In 2020, they set up shop in the original Barney’s after the iconic department store gave up the ghost. Not even their competitors were safe!

And while Party City dropped from 275 seasonal stores to 25 during COVID, Spirit actually opened more locations in 2020 – with social-distancing, obvs, plus restrictions on testing out the masks.

Turns out, Halloween stores make excellent tenants. They pay above-market rent and offer a “kick-out clause” allowing landlords to rip up the lease if they find a permanent tenant by June, making them a lifeline for commercial real estate. The market for 50,000-square-foot big-box stores isn’t exactly booming, and three months’ rent > zero rent.

Spirit’s motto? “Why let that space sit empty?” With another recession looming, don’t be surprised if Halloween stores outnumber year-round retailers next fall.


The Business of Scary Movies

Horror movies make scary-good money

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Love a good horror movie on Halloween? You’re not alone. 48% of Americans say they’re planning to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve with a scary movie. Horror movies are a perfect recipe for Halloween fun. They’re also a scary-good investment.

Blockbusters and superhero movies still reign supreme in terms of overall dollars, but the horror genre has historically offered the best value, or return on investment, for a movie studio’s money. (Net profits / initial investment = ROI.) The higher the ROI, the better the investment, and horror movies have boasted some truly eye-popping ROIs, thanks to their ability to deliver big box office on comparatively teeny budgets.

Take Avengers: Endgame, one of the top-grossing movies of all-time. $2.7B at the worldwide box office on a $356M budget = a 685% ROI. Pretty good, right? Now take Stephen King’s It, the top-grossing horror movie of all-time, raking in $701M worldwide on a $35M budget for an ROI of over 1,900%.

Here are a (severed) handful of scary-profitable horror movies:

A Quiet Place

💸 Budget: $17,000,000

💰Box office: $334,000,000

ROI: 1,865%

Halloween (2018)

💸 Budget: $10,000,000

💰Box office: $255,000,000

ROI: 2,450%

Halloween (1978)

💸 Budget: $320,000

💰Box office: $47,000,000

ROI: 14,588%

The Blair Witch Project

💸 Budget: $60,000

💰Box office: $245,000,000

ROI: 408,230%

Paranormal Activity

💸 Budget: $15,000

💰Box office: $193,000,000

ROI: 1,286,600%


The Business of Halloween

Inflation’s affecting everything. Even Halloween.

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Spooky season’s become big business. Now one of one North America’s spendingest holidays, Halloween spending is expected to reach $10.6 billion in 2022. That’s up from an all-time high of $10.1B last year. The average consumer plans to drop over $100 on candy, costumes, and decorations.

So, are these record numbers due to record participation after two years of socially-distant celebrations, are they a result of record inflation, or is it a bit of both?

We do the monster mash math

The incredible shrinking candy bars

As Americans shell out over $3.1B on Halloween candy this year, they’ll get less for their money than ever before.


That’s shrinkflation for you — when companies reduce items without reducing prices.

Here’s something even scarier: candy’s experiencing regular inflation too. You likely won’t notice that your Reese’s got 0.1 ounces lighter, but there’s no missing a 35% higher price tag. Thanks to supply chain issues + increased sugar prices, Halloween candy prices have jumped an unlucky 13% since last October (Twix fans have got it the worst, with a 53% hike.) Overall sales volume is actually down for the first time in years, but don’t cry for the candy companies — Nestle and Hershey profits still increased after both raised their prices by 9.5% and 14%, respectively. 

Some trick.

DIY > store-bought costumes

More people are planning to dress up for Halloween this year, with Americans predicted to drop $2.9B on kids’ and adult costumes, plus a record $710M on costumes for their pets. There’s no official index to track costume cost, but an increase in clothing prices – up 5.5% since 2021 – should mean a return to DIY (especially now that Gen Z’s have made thrifting cool again). Unfortch, fabric and sewing supplies are also up 11%. Still, it’s better than trying to save a few bucks with that unlicensed “Blue Speed Mouse” costume.

A giant monster arms race

There is at least one Halloween standby that’s remained immune to inflation: Home Depot’s 12-foot-tall skeleton still costs $299, same as it did when it was introduced in 2020. “Skelly” has been a graveyard smash ever since, with annual sell-outs and eBay listings for $1K+. Lowe’s has responded with their own 12-foot animatronic mummy, as retailers raced to create enough supersized Halloween decor to keep up with demand. Now, you can kit out your lawn with a whole crew of enormous monsters, from 15-foot phantoms to giant werewolves, witches, even something called an “Inferno Pumpkin Skeleton.” Big box stores more than doubled their Halloween inventory in 2022, as decoration spending hit its own all-time high of $3.4 billion.

And so we’re welcoming our new giant skeleton overlords with the obvious question: trick or treat?


The Business of Money

The cost of making (new) cents.

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It’s not just the crown that’s changed over following Queen Elizabeth’s recent passing. Everything, from Britain’s mailboxes to its money, is getting a “royal makeover”, and it’s costing the UK a pretty penny pence.

Here’s a closer look at the business of giving money a (literal) facelift.

New bill, who dis?

Britain’s not the only country updating its bills now that King Charles is in charge. According to Guinness, the late Queen appears on a record 33 currencies! And, while this is uncharted territory for the UK – Elizabeth became the first, and only, monarch to appear on British bank notes in 1960 – luckily, other countries can offer a few tips.

In 2018, Canada released a new $10 featuring civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond—winning Bank Note of the Year (a real award, we swear). The US is also planning to put Harriet Tubman on the $20. Fiiiiinally.

But expect to see Queen E. on bills for the next few years, because of the cost of putting King C3 on an #irl C note.

The real cost of a dollar? 7.5 cents

The New York Times estimates that producing new coins to celebrate Charles’ reign could cost $600+ million. Canada’s limited-edition 150th anniversary $10 bill cost $5.7 million to design, test, and develop. And in the US, printing costs range from 7.5 cents per $1 bill to 17 cents for a hundred. (The penny, now retired, used to cost twice its face value to mint…) 

Of course, they say, you’ve gotta spend money to make money and, well, turns out this is literally true…

Paper or plastic?

When Canada switched to polymer bills, manufacturing costs jumped from $0.11 per bill to $0.20. Ultimately, the move paid for itself: the harder-to-counterfeit “plastic” money also lasts 2.5x longer.

The Queen will live on… as a meme coin 

The market for rare currency featuring the Queen skyrocketed after her death. Crypto got in on the action too, with 40+ new meme coins minted within 24 hours after the announcement of her death. Like most meme coins, the swings were wild: the Queen Elizabeth Inu jumped nearly 30,000% before the inevitable dump. Another coin saw $2.7 million worth in trade volume in under 12 hours. It’s the web3 equivalent of unlicensed Royals merch.


The Fat Wallets of #FatBearWeek

Winter is coming, and Brown Bear grocery bills are out of hand

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Fat Bear Week is back — the “March Madness” of Brown Bears getting wide for the winter!

Fat Bear Week is a celebration of success, survival, and fattening. It’s a chance to learn about bears (and the salmon they love) at Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Humans around the world can get online, learn about the 12 biggest bear finalists, and vote for their favourites.

Okay, but just how big are these bears? Well, they really stuff themselves. They have to. In fact, they eat the equivalent of a year’s worth of food in six months, in order to survive the winter. They can live off their fat stores for up to 100 days while they hibernate.

Okay, enough with the science. How much is this going to cost me?

A Brown Bear can eat 100 lbs of sockeye salmon on a good day. Lucky for them, they don’t have to pay for their meals. But what if you wanted to eat like a Brown Bear? How would your food bill look?

We’ll start here. The cost of an annual Alaskan hunting and fishing license for a resident is $60. Reasonable.

But maybe you’re over the hustle. Maybe you want someone else to do the hunting. For ready-to-order salmon at the grocery store, expect to pay about $20 per pound of sockeye (uncooked). Okaaaay. Your salmon habit now costs about $2,000 a day.

And if you prefer your salmon as sashimi from that fancy sushi joint that just opened up where the Outback Steakhouse used to be? Prices vary, but it’s pretty standard for a one-ounce piece of salmon sashimi to sell for about $5. At 16 ounces to a pound, that’s $80 per pound. If you’re eating like a brown bear at the sushi bar, dinner’s about to cost you $8000… sans tip!

Did we mention that NONE OF THIS FISH IS EVEN COOKED?!

Listen. A dream’s a dream, and if you want a shot at victory during Fat Bear Week, we have two suggestions… Either become a bear and move to Alaska, or invest your money so that in the future, you can buy yourself unlimited amounts of uncooked salmon. Choose the option that sounds simplest, and good luck!  


Will Superstition Make You Rich?

The Economics of Superstition and the Markets.

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Human beings are a notoriously superstitious bunch. Especially when money’s involved. But eating the same thing for lunch every day won’t help you become a successful day trader any more than it’ll help you win an NBA title. 

Here are a few of the stranger superstitions investors have tried to use to beat the market.

October’s spooky for stock brokers

Wall Street’s scariest days may have come during the spookiest season, from the Crash of 1929 to 1987’s Black Monday to the ‘97 “mini-crash,” but October’s bad rap is an overblown urban legend. September’s historically been the worst month for stock market performance, dating all the way back to 1897.

Friday the 13th slashes stocks

Traders + teen camp counsellors 🤝 are terrified of Friday the 13th. But superstitions around lucky (and unlucky) numbers aren’t just a North American phenomenon. Taiwanese traders’ preference for placing limit orders ending in 8 costs them, coincidentally enough, 8.8% in annual returns.

 The Super Bowl Theory

This one’s pretty straightforward: if an NFC team wins the Super Bowl, the market will have a good year. If an AFC team wins, it’ll have a bad one. So, wait, if the Bears win, we’ll be in a bull market? Go figure.

Beware the full moon

According to Wall Street, the moon controls the tides and the market. Eclipses – lunar and solar – see lower returns and trading volumes. Lunar cycles can supposedly influence our moods. Or maybe investors are just afraid of werewolves.

“Sell in May and go away”

This classic UK saying warns investors to take summers off, but the data doesn’t support the extended holiday. Conventional wisdom doesn’t either. Instead of trying to “time the market” using a catchy rhyme, it’s smarter and safer to invest for the prosaic long haul

Algorithms can be superstitious too 

In 2012, a British art student created “Sid the Superstitious Robot” to trade based on some of the classic superstitions mentioned above. After only three weeks, Sid’s fund lost 12% of its value, helping prove that the same superstitions we think will protect us actually cost us in the long run.


The Market for Collectibles: Sports Edition

Why you should hang onto your baseball card collection

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The market for collectibles boomed at the beginning of the pandemic, as people with money to spend found a new hobby buying, selling, and trading. With millennials entering their high-earning years, they’re investing in memorabilia the same way their parents and grandparents collected art and Royal Doulton figurines (IYKYK). It’s helped take the sports collectibles industry from a $5.4 billion-dollar market pre-pandemic to $26 billion in 2021. Some predict it’ll grow to $227B within 10 years. Others worry it’s due for a recession-fuelled correction

Here are some of the eye-popping numbers fuelling the recent rise…

£7,142,500: Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” jersey

In May, Sotheby’s in London auctioned off the kit Maradona wore when he scored the most infamous goal in World Cup history. (Or “goal”, if you’re a Three Lions supporter.) Originally valued at $5-$7.5M, the jersey sold for $9.28M (£7.1M), becoming the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold. 

Until it wasn’t…

$12.6M: 1952 Mickey Mantle card

A 70-year-old baseball card became the first sports collectible to break 8 figures at auction last month. Previously purchased for $50K in 1991 — a then-record for a ‘52 Mantle card — this marked a 25,100% rise in value! Of course, value’s relative. Back in 1952, that same card came in a pack for a nickel. And it came with a stick of gum.

Some cold water on your high hopes before you go digging for that shoebox of musty Topps cards: condition is everything, and Mickey was in great shape for his age.

$208K: A Legendary LeBron James Moment

Even virtual memorabilia is shattering records. In 2021, the same NBA Top Shot NFTs that originally traded for a few bucks apiece shot up to a record $208K for a “Moment” of the King dunking over the Kings.

It’d turn out to be a high-water mark for the Top Shot market. Blame the #cryptocrash, sure. But whether you’re talking art, sports memorabilia, NFTs, or any other collectible, the same age-old truth applies: they may be worth whatever someone’s willing to pay for them, but that doesn’t mean the price’ll keep going up.


The Business of Nostalgia

Too soon, too soon.

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Whether you grew up decades ago, or just got out of diapers, marketers and meme-fluencers are ready to serve up and cash in on looking back.

Here’s how four generations are handling the nostalgia for their youth…

Gen Z

By late July, Minions: The Rise Of Gru had already grossed over $600M worldwide, making it the biggest animated film of the pandemic era. It also now holds the record for  biggest opening over the Independence Day holiday. This, for the sixth film in the franchise. 

How are these yellow goggle-wearing jellybeans still pulling in these kinds of numbers? One big reason: members of Gen Z are now old enough to feel nostalgia about their own childhoods. 

#GentleMinions, a viral TikTok trend, has seen hoards of young people hit the theatre dressed in suits. One teenager told the NYT “pure nostalgia” for the childhood fave led him and his friends to put on their Wall Street best for a screening.

“Anybody over the age of 25 was, like, really, really confused about what we were doing there.”

The youngest millennials are now just over 25 and, according to Gen Z, low-key ancient.  

New York Times | July 8, 2022


Meanwhile, millennials are on their own quasi-ironic animated nostalgia trip, selling out a touring Shrek-themed rave. Attendees show up in costumes inspired by the green ogre and cut a rug to embarrassing songs that they may or may not secretly enjoy. According to organizer, Ka5sh: “I feel like Shrek is the right amount of cringe, but also the right amount of nostalgia.” 

We buy that equation.

So what’s the secret to figuring out which pop-culture relics are worth resuscitating? It might come down to meme magic: after a recent party in Brooklyn, Ka5sh (the 5 is silent, by the way) told media that, like SpongeBob SquarePants , Shrek “continued to age well online.”

Narcity | March 23, 2022

Gen X

Making up only about 15% of the population, the “Forgotten Generation” has spent life being overlooked, but this may be about to change. Now, in their early 40s to mid-50s, the cohort sandwiched between the boomer and millennial behemoths has managed to save over $13 trillion, becoming the wealthiest generation per capita in the process. 

So much for the slacker cliches.

And, no surprise, marketers have clocked this accumulation of cash. “Those who mine the ’80s and ’90s to smartly sell products can reap the benefits,” says Adweek. “Think bringing back Crystal Pepsi, reuniting Wayne and Garth for Uber Eats and referencing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for LiftMaster.” 

In October, an exhibition called “Growing Up X” will open at the Illinois State Museum, reports USA Today, all about (and presumably for) “the last generation to have had an analog childhood.”

Xers may be more resistant to pandering — Douglas Coupland’s classic novel Generation X said it best with a chapter titled, “I Am Not a Target Market” — but if they don’t bite on a shameless ’90s revival, Gen Z‘s got it covered. 

Adweek | May 24, 2022


Finally, unlike Xers, baby boomers are used to being fawned over. “By the mid-’60s, nearly half the U.S. population was under 25,” says MarketWatch, and advertisers desperately vied for their attention. That’s why boomers vividly recall brands and media from their youth, feeling an affection for their past, which can border on obsessive.

They’re the generation with the largest buying power, and industries catering to boomer nostalgia are so numerous it’s hard to single one out. But we’ll try, with music. 

Queen’s 1981 Greatest Hits just passed seven million copies sold in the U.K., where it’s spent over 1,000 weeks on the charts. In 2021, the Rolling Stones staged the year’s highest-grossing tour. 

One music critic argues it’s proof that older music is simply better. But, new research suggests boomers are the only generation that prefers music from before the before the ’90s, writes Quartz. 

So, is the business of nostalgia moving on from the 20th century? Maybe.

Turns out boomers love Minions too.

Quartz | July 20, 2022