Question Of The Week: Do You Trust Your Boss?
No way, say readers in a Maxim magazine survey. (Keep in mind, of course, that Maxim claims to be “the best thing to happen to men since women.”) Fifty percent of those polled wouldn’t trust their bosses as far as they could throw them. Further, 61 percent claim their bosses have taken credit for at least one of their ideas, 51 percent say they have been publicly humiliated by their superiors and 32 percent have actually had nightmares involving their managers. Depressing thoughts, considering most working Americans spend the majority of their waking lives on the job. (Which got us thinking about our favorite bosses from hell. Results of an informal poll of Adweek employees, in no particular order: Ebenezer Scrooge, Louie DePalma, Mr. Spacely, Joseph Stalin, Charles Foster Kane, Gen. Custer, Mr. Mooney and George Steinbrenner–even owning the best team in baseball history won’t save this guy from the sixth ring of Dante’s Inferno.) By the way, the proletariat, being a resilient lot, enjoy revenge. The No. 1 payback? Having sex with the big man’s wife.
Kid Stuff: Like Fine Whine
It’s not that the world needs another inscrutable marketing idea, but here we go: Los Angeles-based Western International Media recently completed a study called the Nag Factor, which reveals that 21 percent to 40 percent of jeans, burgers and home-video sales are the direct result of children asking their parents for those products. What exactly does nagging buy? Four out of every 10 trips to place-based entertainment (Chuck E. Cheese, Discovery Zone, Putt Putt Golf & Games are the top three requests); 33 percent of all trips to a fast-food restaurant (McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut); 31 percent of apparel purchases (Levi’s, Disney, OshKosh); and one out of every five theme-park visits (Disneyland, Disney World, Knott’s Berry Farm/Universal Studios/Busch Gardens). That means Disney owes its very existence to petulant, spoiled brats. And you thought the economy was hot because of Alan Greenspan.
Mixed Blessings: Brick-A-Brac, Baby Formula On Ice, Tequila Al Fresco, Etc.
Pity the poor brick. More often considered a paperweight or an instrument of destruction crashing through windows in movies and TV shows, this rectangle of kiln-fired clay is suffering from an inferiority complex. After all, when it comes to finding and building homes, people covet brownstones, not the lowly red rock. Well, the Brick Association of the Carolinas in Greensboro, N.C., and the Atlanta-based Southern Brick Institute are not going to take it anymore. They’ve hired agency West & Vaughan, Durham, N.C., to hit people where they live. Targeting adults 35-54 with families who have not yet settled into their final residences (but are beyond a starter home), the print campaign positions the brick as “a superior way to hold paper down. And an even better way to hold a roof up.” Words such as “timelessness,” “versatility,” “personality” and “unique” populate the ad’s copy, building a strong case for brick as a sophisticated design choice. And they make great doorstops, too.
To promote the 30th anniversary of The Newborn Center at the Med in Memphis, Tenn., O’Connor Kenny Partners, also in Memphis, created an arresting image–a bottle of baby formula resting in a champagne chiller (shown below). Amusing and tasteful, the design–placed on the cover of fundraising dinner invitations–celebrates the fact that the Newborn Center has saved the lives of more than 30,000 babies. It also represents a call to action: Money is needed to keep the hospital in the pink.
We’ve heard of living billboards. But living bus stops? Si. It’s brought to you by those wacky folks at Cliff Freeman and Partners to launch Hornitos “Real Mexican” Tequila. In the spring, the New York agency placed Mexican guitarists at 10 bus stops in Los Angeles and San Francisco. (A six-piece Mexican band manned living billboards and a living wall painting as well.) These “people executions” proved to be a hit. Motorists stopped their cars and got into the spirit of the outdoor campaign, which is ever-evolving. These days, the billboards showcase real Mexican food, sand, dirt, TV programming, political posters and road maps. The campaign has since expanded south to San Diego, but for the moment, the live music is between sets.
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