QUESTION OF THE WEEK
What Goes Down, Must Go Up
A nationwide survey conducted for Adweek asked a pair of related questions: One found that, compared to last year, fewer Americans are eating as healthy as they were five years ago. The next asked about people’s weight: up, down or the same as last year? Guess what? Overall, although people aren’t eating as well as they were, they are not gaining weight. In the survey, 25.5 percent of respondents said their weight had not changed-the same as last year’s percentage. And 19.5 percent said they lost weight, compared to 18 percent a year ago. It could be that we are on the brink of a bad-diet trend that hasn’t caught up to our waistlines. Or taking an accurate reading off the bathroom scale has become a more nuanced undertaking.
THE REAL WORLD
Old Enough to Know
Yankelovich Partners says members of Generation X are more resourceful than older folk. In interviews with some 4,000 people, the research group found that twentysomethings are more determined and confident they’ll get ahead in life if they only work at it (see chart below). Maybe you can use the data to draw conclusions about a generational trend. Or maybe there’s a simple explanation: “Matures” (51-plus) are, well, mature enough to know that life isn’t always so simple.
Laughing All the Way To the Gun Shop
It seems you either hate guns or love guns, and the same goes for hunting. No matter how great the divide, however, it’s not often that either camp finds anything funny in the subject. That’s what makes a new hunting and riflery effort by Long Haymes Carr Advertising noteworthy. The agency in Winston-Salem, N.C., has created four TV spots for Remington Arms. Overall, the campaign, which broke last month, is what you’d expect in a call to action aimed at gun owners: an early-morning setting, a serious tone, a lot of plaid and a black dog (below right). But one of the ads takes a shot at humor. Called “Fly” (below left), a narrator cites Remington rifles’ impressive track record at national shooting competitions-with one exception. The spot then cuts to the exception: A shooter misses his target and instead hits a fly that had landed on the side of the bull’s-eye. After all, everybody hates flies, right?
… and a Microwave in Every Kitchen
Bad news for Cinemax: Americans feel it’s more important to install a home-security system than to subscribe to a cable TV movie channel. With crime rates dropping throughout the country, that probably says more about the quality of programming than the fear of bad guys. A survey by Roper Starch Worldwide, asking Americans to rank 27 household items and services as either necessities or luxuries, tags automobiles as most vital (cited by 84 percent). Housekeepers finished last, with only 4 percent of respondents saying, essentially, that they can’t clean up after themselves. Some of the big gainers, since a similar 1994 survey, were microwave ovens (43-55 percent) and hair dryers (40-47 percent). People are also expecting more amenities from their employers: fax machines (20-27 percent) and voice mail (8-17 percent) were called necessities at the office.
Contraception Ads Tread Carefully
How do you effectively advertise a procedure that could be vital to the lives of millions of people, but which many others find controversial? That was the challenge Elgin DDB, Seattle, faced in its work for the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, a group that wants to increase the public’s awareness of “emergency contraception.” In the procedure, a woman seeking to end a pregnancy takes a higher-than-usual dose of birth-control pills for several mornings after sex. To give media outlets a choice, the agency created a series of print ads and billboards that send essentially the same message-promoting a telephone hotline to call for more information-but take different approaches. An attention-grabbing version features an image of a broken condom (below). A more subtle execution, also advertising the hotline, simply shows a telephone. The campaign was launched last month. Print ads are appearing in Rolling Stone, Cosmo and other books. Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle and San Diego are target markets for TV spots, billboards and transit ads.
BUSTING THE RACKETS
USTA Serves Up a Tennis Taste Test
The pundits in recent years have frequently declared that professional tennis has lost its panache, with the sport dominated by stolid champs such as Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf. Sure, they win matches, but they don’t throw their rackets around the court or moon spectators. The U.S. Tennis Association is fighting back. A series of new ads (below) are promoting tennis as an exciting diversion. Three fast-paced spots by Grybauskas Beatrice, New York, find their theme in comparing tennis to other sports: It’s as physically grueling as football, as challenging as baseball and as fast paced as basketball. The copy is read in an urgent tone by a deep-voiced male who sounds like the narrator in football highlight films. The ads-appearing on CBS and USA Network, among others-broke last month and will continue through the U.S. Open, set for Aug. 25-Sept. 7.
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