Check your inbox every Friday for Tunheim’s take on the week’s thumb-stopping and thought-provoking headlines in digital, communications, marketing and public affairs.

Valentine’s Day gifts aren’t good investments. Couples, and governments, should beware.

While many people in happy relationships look forward to gifting and receiving Valentine’s Day presents, some economists agree that the added expense of gift-giving are comparable to the government’s tax-and-spend program—it overspends, and its gifts are just mediocre. From the perspective of Joel Waldgogel, author of Scroogenomics and professor at the University of Minnesota, Americans “waste” up to $13 billion a year on gifts that the recipients wouldn’t have bought themselves— “deadweight loss,” as he calls it. With the unavoidable power of consumer marketing around Valentine’s Day persuading us to engage in this spending, the question remains: Are you a hopeless romantic who believes that the infinite value of your relationship is worth far more than a piece of jewelry and box of chocolates? Or, are you on Waldfogel’s bandwagon and would prefer to skip the gift entirely, instead opting for cold, hard cash—allowing for the purchase of your sweetheart’s own desired gift? Swoon!


Target says its ‘Minnesota Badgers’ onesie is donesie, apologizes

Gopher fan website tweeted a photo depicting a sour mistake made by a Target vendor: a maroon onesie featuring a gold “M” with the words “Minnesota Badgers.” A quick doubletake by former University of Minnesota employee and huge Gopher fan Kileigh Carpenter during her Saturday night Target trip confirmed that, in fact, she wasn’t just seeing things—there had been an unfortunate fashion misprint. The major retailer issued a statement: “Color us red,” they began out of embarrassment, “As a Minnesota-based company, we know we are home to the Gophers. We’ve worked with our vendor to remove this item and apologize to any sports fans who might have been left scratching their head.” Carpenter admitted that she was happy to see the two rival fan bases unite, and while we agree, University of Minnesota sports fans can agree that the word “badger” has no business donning our signature maroon and gold.


#BroomChallenge: You can actually stand a broom up anytime during the year

Social media mavens, celebrities and sports teams alike took to Twitter to conduct the “Broom Challenge.” From what started as a viral tweet [falsely] claiming that NASA announced that Monday [Feb. 12, 2020] was the only day that—due to Earth’s gravitational pull—a broom could stand on its own. While this social media phenomenon is alluring, the reality is that a broom can stand on its own at any given day or time thanks to its low center of gravity. Karen Northon, public affairs officer for NASA headquarters, commented that while the broom hoax is “harmless,” it’s important to fact-check and researching “before jumping into the latest viral craze.” We’ll just sweep this one under the rug.


Snapchat introduces mental well-being tool to counter user issues

In an effort to increase the Snapchat user experience, the app has created a new search tool, “Here for You,” which aims to provide Snappers with a variety of mental health and wellness resources. So, how does it work? When a user types in a flagged work or phrase (i.e. “anxiety”), Snapchat will guide him or her to an appropriate tool, whether it be a piece of expert advice, anxiety-relieving video or other third-party content. The new product launch follows a 2017 study depicting the quantifiable, negative impact that Snapchat can have on the mental wellbeing of young people. As a millennial who has seen the negative mental health effects resulting from the use of several social media apps, the implementation of this feature is a positive leap toward creating a safe and supportive Snapping experience for all.


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