Spousal Investment Tips, TV Sex and Teenagers, Etc.

No actual garden gnomes were injured in the production of this ad—or so we hope. In any case, homeowners in Toronto will get the point that it’s best not to douse their lawns and gardens with pesticides. Another ad in the series shows a plastic flamingo scaling a tree to escape the pesticide-soaked grass. Axmith McIntyre Wicht of Toronto created the ads for the municipal government.

Gender gap of the week: A Money magazine/Oppenheimer Funds Women and Investing survey asked respondents to identify the source they rely on most for investment advice. Ten percent of women cited their spouses, according to an article in Time, while 1 percent of men did so. There’s no word on whether wife-advised investors fared better or worse in the market than the husband-advised ilk.

Teens regard their peers as an impressionable bunch, to judge from a new Kaiser Family Foundation/U.S. News & World Report study on TV programming and teen sex. Asked to say how much, if at all, they think sex on TV influences the sexual behavior of teenagers their own age, 32 percent of15-17-year-olds answered “a lot.” Another 40 percent said “somewhat.” However, when asked how much TV sex influences their own sexual behavior, 6 percent said “a lot” and 16 percent said “somewhat.” Given the nature of television these days, it’s a relief that just 11 percent of teens said there’s a character on TV they’d consider “a role model in terms of how they handle their dating relationships and sex life.”

When women take maternity leave from their jobs, nearly two-thirds are questioned by bosses and co-workers about whether they’ll ever come back. That’s one of the findings in a new Parenting poll. Another of the findings indicates why such questions arise: 19 percent of respondents said they did quit. Would employers have better luck retaining such employees if they gave them longer leave? Evidently not: 70 percent of those who negotiated a leave of six months or longer never came back at all. Of the mothers who did come back to their jobs, 84 percent felt they “didn’t lose ground at work” due to their absence.

A man’s place is in the backyard, cooking meat over charcoal. In a survey by The Integer Group, 80 percent of respondents declared barbecuing to be “a male job.” Carnivores that they are, men were four times as likely as women to say fish is their least-favorite barbecue fare. Hamburgers, steaks and ribs were respondents’ favorite barbecue foods, with hot dogs and lamb chops filling out the top five.

Do you expect to receive Social Security benefits when you retire? Your answer may depend on how old you are now. In a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics survey, just 9 percent of 51-59-year-olds said they don’t believe they’ll get those checks. Among 35-50-year-olds, the number of skeptics stood at 19 percent. And 32 percent of 18-34-year-olds said they don’t think they’ll ever see their benefits.

Manet and Monet get plenty of play in upscale ads. It’s no surprise, then, to come across their leafier paintings in a campaign by a Philadelphia-area landscape architect. But Picasso tends to be a bit too strange to suit advertisers’ purposes very often. Thus, one ad in the New Life Landscapes series (via SFGT of Philadelphia) will cut through the Impressionist clutter by featuring Picasso’s painting of a house in a garden.

One more reason why parents are frazzled: In an online poll by Parents.com, 57 percent of participants agreed kids’ birthday parties are too elaborate and/or expensive because “it’s become a competition among theparents.” The fact they have themselves to blame is no consolation.

Can you train an infant not to make messes? Of course not. So, a spot for California’s Department of Consumer Affairs shows us a mother who has done the next best thing: She’s trained her kid to throw food on the floor only after 7 p.m. so she can vacuum it up during off-peak hours, when (explains a voiceover) the electricity grid is less at risk of rolling blackouts. Grey Advertising of Los Angeles created the spot.