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TODD SMITH — ’12 Days of Christmas’ gifts price remains flat despite rising CPI

TODD SMITH

The PNC Christmas Price Index predicts True Loves will find all is calm when putting the gifts under the tree this holiday shopping season. To purchase the gifts included in the classic holiday song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” it will cost just 0.2% more than it did in 2018, according to the 36th annual holiday economic analysis by The PNC Financial Services Group.

PNC calculated the 2019 price tag for The PNC Christmas Price Index at $38,993.59, a negligible $67.56 or 0.2% more than last year’s cost, but less than the government’s Consumer Price Index, which increased 1.8% through October in year-over-year measurement before seasonal adjustment.

“Despite the stock market hitting record highs recently, it is a welcome gift for the holidays that the PNC Christmas Price Index stayed relatively flat this year,” said Amanda Agati, chief investment strategist for PNC Asset Management Group. “However, the scrooges of the season are the gold rings which saw the biggest year-over-year price increase in the index, and prices for some of our fowl friends which are truly foul.”

The cost of each item was revealed on PNC’s interactive website (pnc.com/ChristmasPriceIndex), which teaches consumers about the index and features a historical comparison of index data. This year’s insights include:

» Doves Dive: The price for Turtle Doves was down a dramatic 20%, the first drop in price since 2004.

» Rings Are Golden: After falling in 2018 due to less demand and fluctuations in gold prices, gold rings rebounded with a 10% increase in 2019.

» Geese Gain Again: For the second year in a row, geese saw a substantial rise in price, gaining 7.7% in 2019 largely due to an increase of interest in backyard farming.

To mirror the government’s core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, PNC removes the Swans – typically the most volatile item in the index – from its total index.

The core PNC Christmas Price Index was up 0.3% from a year ago, while the government’s core Consumer Price Index rose 2.3% year-over-year through October. Normally, both core indexes trail fluctuations seen in the overall index prices.

For tech-savvy True Loves, the PNC Christmas Price Index also calculates the cost of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” gifts purchased on the internet. As online prices tend to be higher due to travel and shipping costs, True Loves will have to splurge $42,258.91 ($3,265.32 more than in-store purchases) for the convenience of online shopping this year.

A PNC predecessor bank in Philadelphia began estimating the cost of the 12 Christmas gifts in 1984 as a holiday client letter. This year’s price is approximately 95% higher than the inaugural report 35 years ago.

As part of its annual tradition, PNC also calculates the “True Cost of Christmas,” which is the total cost of items bestowed by a True Love who repeats all the song’s verses. Purchasing all 364 gifts will require $170,298.03, down $64.23 from last year.

The PNC index’s sources include retailers, hatcheries, the Philadelphia-based PHILADANCO and Pennsylvania Ballet Company.

Happy Blue Year!

Pantone has officially announced that classic blue – or PANTONE® 19-4052 Classic Blue – is the Color of the Year for 2020.

A worthy successor to 2019’s Living Coral and 2018’s Ultra Violet, Classic Blue is calm, confident, and, well, classic “suggestive of the sky at dusk.”

Explaining the reasoning behind the pick in a news release, Pantone revealed the color’s timelessness, elegance and simplicity were the main determining factors. And it’s a true-blue classic! From denim to a tailored suit, the Classic Blue Hue has long been a staple across fashion and beauty. And stars – from Rihanna to Halima Aden and Hailey Bieber – are rocking the color, further proving its pertinence, it was all over the recent SS20 runways as well – from Dries Van Noten to Ferragamo.

According to Pantone, Classic Blue symbolizes “protection, stability, peace, and confidence” and “encourages deep thinking, open mindfulness, and communication.”

And, because ringing in a new decade calls for a celebration, Pantone is also introducing a new multisensory experience for the Color of the Year 2020 unveiling. Alongside the color of the year, the brand has also announced the taste, texture, scent and sound of the Color of the Year — thanks to partnerships with brands like Firmenich, AudioUX, LANDR, and The Inside.

The multisensory experience includes a “comforting and familiar” sound, a “soft, velvety” texture, a “gentle and elegant” taste, as well as an airy scent infused with “blue water and sea salt,” according to Pantone.” With this new approach, Pantone hopes to urge people to “think about color differently.”

Flat Mic: Peloton holiday commercial springs leak

We are awash in a snowstorm of warm, whimsical, nostalgic and inspiring holiday ads – but one is sticking out brighter than Rudolf’s nose!

Peloton’s holiday ad went viral faster than the prancing of hooves on rooftops last week, provoking more angst and backlash than the grinch himself. And it has been panned as sexist, weird and dark by viewers.

A woman in the fitness brand’s 30-second ad, titled “The Gift That Gives Back,” opens with a husband surprising his wife with a shiny new Peloton stationary bike that went beyond her wildest expectations.  The commercial cuts to “Grace from Boston” awaking before dawn, and huffing it after work, making the WiFi-enabled beast the center of her fitness routine.

Grace films herself doing daily workouts, streaming spin classes on the built-n screen, which she presents as a gift for her husband the following holiday.

“A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me,” she tells him earnestly. “Thank you.”

The ad was aimed for a message that Peloton is good for the heart, improves your life and enhance your fitness – and, well, it kind of fell flat.

Viewers slammed it, deriding Peloton’s decision to celebrate a husband for his unsolicited fitness purchase and the implication that his wife (widely dubbed Peloton Girl) needed to exercise to please him. The video initially racked up nearly 7 million YouTube views, Peloton’s stock dropped, and Funny or Die reimagined it as a haunting Black Mirror episode. It even made it onto Saturday Night Live (SNL).

Peloton responded that it’s ad – and cycles – make a positive impact on people.

“We constantly hear from our members how their lives have been meaningfully and positively impacted after purchasing or being gifted a Peloton Bike or Tread, often in ways that surprise them,” a company spokesperson told CNBC.

Peloton Girl – aka actress Monica Ruiz – was a bit taken aback by the viral fame and related backlash.

“I was happy to accept a job opportunity earlier this year from Peloton and the team was lovely to work with,” Ruiz said in a statement to Deadline through her agency, LA Talent.

And she’s making it snow with the newfound fame.

The actress went viral a second time when she appeared in an ad for Aviation Gin, a liquor brand owned by actor Ryan Reynolds, that poked fun at the Peloton ad. She claimed that ad helped her cope with the overwhelming reaction.

Something tells me there’s much more of this holiday cheer before the big man in red packs his sleigh!

Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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About Tacy Rayburn