WOMEN’S WORK: I’m All Right, No Thanks to Those Useless Men
Are people more alert to injustices they personally suffer than to inequities that afflict others? So one would suppose, given the self-centered aspect of human nature. But that tendency is in conflict with our no-less-common impulse to feel we’re doing just fine even as the world at large is going to hell in a handbasket. A pair of surveys indicate how that phenomenon manifests itself in the issue of pay equity for men and women. When a CBS News poll asked whether men and women are paid the same for doing the same work, 70 percent of female respondents said men are paid more. Twenty-five percent said men and women are paid the same, and a contrarian 1 percent said women are paid more. When a Gallup poll asked women whether “you personally” are paid less than a man doing the same job, the numbers were reversed: 70 percent disagreed that they’re paid less than a man, while 30 percent agreed. Marketers who dress up their advertising with feminist themes will note that women don’t care to see themselves as victims in the public sphere, even if they believe womankind in general gets a raw deal. Things may be different, though, when women assess their status on the home front. In the same CBS News poll (as summarized on the Polling Report Web site), respondents were asked whether men or women generally do more of the “chores and work” around the house when both have full-time jobs. Eighty-one percent of female respondents said women do more. And when asked how such work is apportioned in their own households, 27 percent of the women said they do “all” of it, while another 39 percent said they do “most” of this toil. Thirty-two percent said they so “some,” and a brazen 1 percent claimed to do “none.”
OUT OF MY WAY!: Women Behaving Badly
They deliberately tailgate. They won’t give up a seat on the bus for the elderly and/or infirm. They even neglect to write thank-you notes for gifts. Who could be capable of such depravity? American women, that’s who. In a poll of women by McCall’s, 46 percent of respondents confessed they’ve “made a rude gesture or yelled out an open window” while driving a car. Eleven percent have deliberately cut someone off; 25 percent have purposely tailgated. They’re scarcely better-behaved in public transportation: Just 32 percent would cede a bus seat to an elderly rider, while 27 percent would give it to someone who’s disabled and 26 percent would let a pregnant passenger have it. Among other sins to which respondents confessed: Forty-three percent have used the supermarket express lane even while knowing they had too many items. Forty-five percent have rewrapped a present they’ve received and given it to someone else. Perhaps this guilty knowledge helps explain why just 18 percent of respondents have failed to send a thank-you note for a gift.
MIXED BLESSINGS: Call Against Philip Morris, The Ideal Weight for Kate, Intoxicated Aliens, Etc.
When creating ads that target new parents, don’t make them too subtle. You’re dealing with a seriously groggy audience. A recent poll conducted on the Parent Soup Web site asked people how much sleep they got per night during the first few months after having a baby. An unlucky 6.8 percent reported getting “hardly any” sleep at all during that period, while 44.4 percent made do with two to four hours. They can envy the 3.6 percent of new parents who snoozed eight or more hours per night, and even the 45.2 percent who managed five to seven hours of shut-eye.
Some bicyclists would sooner risk a cracked skull than a hot head, so they do without a helmet. Maybe they’ll change their rattled minds after seeing an ad for Giro, which vividly makes the case that its helmets breathe. “Working towards better vents with every breath,” says the terse copy at the bottom of the page. Crispin Porter & Bogusky of Miami created the ad.
It’s said that no good deed goes unpunished. However true that may be as a general proposition, a campaign on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health makes sure it applies to Philip Morris. Responding to recent ads by the tobacco maker, one of the Massachusetts ads offers this comment: “Philip Morris has begun a campaign informing you of all the good causes they support. Like supplying cancer researchers with patients to study.” As you can see from the detail of another ad in the Massachusetts series (via Boston-based Arnold Communications), any good the company might do is attributed to bad motives. Hence the tagline, “Don’t let them buy your complacency.” While this sort of attack will ward off complacency, it may also make companies like Philip Morris think twice about being philanthropic. If the result is that fewer people smoke but more go hungry, how do we assess this net effect? One suspects the anti-tobacco forces don’t trouble themselves with such unpleasant questions. In that sense, the Massachusetts campaign leaves one more hostile to the tobacco companies and to their tormenters.
Do residents of cramped New York City have narrower notions of female beauty than folks in Montana’s wide open spaces? A poll by Glamour indicates they do, though not necessarily in the ways you might guess. The magazine asked respondents to say which of three Kates has the ideal weight: Kate Moss (listed at 5’7″ and about 115 pounds), Kate Winslet (5’8″ and about 130 pounds) or Kate Dillon (5’11” and about 175 pounds)? Among female New Yorkers, Winslet (chosen by 58 percent) was an easy winner over Moss (24 percent) and Dillon (18 percent). Male New Yorkers know better than to differ with their city’s women, so they gave Winslet (50 percent), Moss (30 percent) and Dillon (20 percent) similar totals. Among respondents in Missoula, Mont., a wide gender gap was evident. Female respondents there gave a plurality to Dillon (42 percent), followed by Moss (36 percent) and Winslet (22 percent). Missoula men thought otherwise, giving an outright majority to Moss (56 percent). Winslet was their runner-up (32 percent), while Dillon trailed badly (12 percent).
Answer: Brad Pitt, 12 percent; Tyson Beckford, 9 percent; Antonio Sabato Jr., 6 percent; Ricky Martin, 5 percent. Question: Among the women in a Marie Claire survey who fantasize about a celebrity when they’re having sex (24 percent said they do), which celebs received the most mentions? Happily, the starstruck respondents were easily outnumbered by the 41 percent who fantasize about the person with whom they happen to be locked in passionate embrace.
Everyone knows an alien crashed his spaceship near Roswell, N.M., in 1947. But did you ever wonder why he crashed instead of landing, transacting his alien business and returning home? An ad for Mothers Against Drunk Driving presents an explanation by zooming in on a crash-scene photo. The alien was driving under the influence–hence the empty beer bottle found next to his hand. The deadpan tagline: “A few drinks will impair anyone’s judgement.” It’s a shrewd way of reaching the ad’s audience of college students–i.e., people notoriously ready to believe in anything but their own mortality. Minneapolis-based Clarity Coverdale Fury created the piece.
Some would-be rock stars are more far-sighted than others. Ordinary wannabes will dream of achieving fame and fortune. A special few will look beyond immediate success to envision the whole “Behind the Music” trajectory of their careers. A campaign for Liquid Audio will appeal to this latter sort as it introduces an online service that distributes music by unsigned bands. Copy urges the reader to “begin your downward spiral immediately” by logging onto the liquidaudio.com site. Cornyn + Partners of San Francisco created the campaign.
Between now and Nov. 7, we’ll see a zillion and one political commercials that focus on the shortcomings of our healthcare setup. Why? Because people who differ sharply on what ought to be done are united in their distaste for the regime we’ve got. Would they feel contented if we had a government-run system like the one in Canada? Not judging by sentiment among Canadians. Polling by the Toronto-based Angus Reid Group found 78 percent of Canadians saying the healthcare setup in their province is now in “crisis.” The number rating the system “excellent” fell from 26 percent in 1991 to 7 percent this year. On the positive side, 71 percent expressed confidence that they’d receive the needed care if they had a serious medical problem.
VALUATION ENVY?: Putting the E in B2B
The glamour of e-commerce–Super Bowl spots and all–is in retailing to consumers. But much of the money of e-commerce is in business-to-business transactions. A report by the Stamford, Conn.-based GartnerGroup forecasts that revenues in global business-to-business e-commerce will grow from $145 billion last year to $7.29 trillion in 2004. This year, the figure is expected to reach $403 billion. Much of the activity will center around e-market makers–i.e., organizations that develop a “B2B, Internet-based e-marketplace of buyers and sellers within a particular industry, geographic region or affinity group,” such as Chemdex and PlasticsNet. The report also suggests that “valuation envy” will push traditional brick-and-mortar companies to increase their online business-to-business sales activity.
THE REAL APPEAL: You Are What You Eat, Organic or Otherwise
Are organic foods appealing because they’re good for us or because they’re good for the planet? It depends. Among Americans in general, an ABC News 20/20 poll found the supposed environmental advantages rate higher. Among those who eat the stuff, though, 37 percent cited health benefits and 13 percent pointed to environmental factors, while 25 percent said both elements weigh equally with them. Sixty-two percent of those who eat organics believe such foods are healthier than nonorganics. This opinion was shared by just 38 percent of those who don’t consume organics. There’s a similar gap on the flavor front: 47 percent of those who eat them said organics taste better, versus 16 percent of those who don’t eat them. On the question of nutritional value, 55 percent of organic eaters rated them better, versus 36 percent of organic noneaters. Such numbers help explain why 52 percent of nonconsumers said organics aren’t worth the higher prices they often carry. Oddly, 28 percent of those who do eat organics expressed the same opinion. In any event, organics have ceased to be a niche market. Thirty-seven percent of respondents eat these foods “occasionally” and 9 percent consume them “regularly.” Just 28 percent said they “never” eat organics, while 23 percent do so “rarely.”
HAPPY NEW YEAR, SO FAR: Adding Up Adweek’s Ads for Jobs
All told, the market for jobs in advertising, marketing and media got off to a good start in 2000. As you can see from the chart, based on the volume of help-wanted classifieds in Adweek, half of the regions were flat or nearly so versus January ’99. But gangbusters linage elsewhere yielded a sharp rise in the U.S. total. The West was particularly strong, posting a record-breaking week in mid-month and then surpassing that fresh mark a couple weeks later.
If Americans aren’t ready to elect a woman more friends, which would you pick? In a study commissioned by Men’s Health magazine among college-educated men age 18-52, 72 percent of respondents opted for friends. They clearly gave the “right” answer, but one wonders how it sits with the friends they’ve already got. Think of it this way: Mightn’t you be happier if your best pal acquired a house on Martha’s Vineyard than if he acquired some additional friends?
Be that as it may, the study (conducted by DYG Inc.) found men to be a far more socially acceptable bunch than their current reputation might suggest. For instance, 82 percent “would rather have more time for their families than more time for their own interests.” Seventy-three percent subscribed to the statement, “Once you have a child, your own needs come second.” Asked what they “equate with status,” 86 percent cited “being a great husband and father,” 83 percent chose “leaving work at 5 every day to be with your kids” and 81 percent spoke of “opting for family rather than a prestigious career.”
Still, it’s not as if they’re indifferent to good old money and the things it can buy. As you can see from the chart, these men want high-quality products, and they expect a certain amount of pampering as they buy them. And while they’re big on sports and outdoorsy activities, 66 percent “would choose exceptional business savvy over exceptional athletic skills.”
Among other tidbits from the study: 59 percent of respondents said they “would rather have a year of great sex than $10,000.” (In this context, the 10 grand has a Dr. Evilesque ring to it.) A hospitable 78 percent of the men surveyed wish they had “more time to make dinner for family and friends.” On the male-bonding front, 72 percent would like “more time with male friends.” And for all their enthusiasm about the joys of fatherhood, 60 percent “would rather have more time with their wives than more time with their kids.”
BUT THE CANDY’S REAL: Giving a Virtual Twist To Valentine’s Cards
Oh, that romantic World Wide Web! In a pre-Valentine’s Day survey by The NPD Group, 70 percent of Internet users said they planned to send electronic cards to a loved one–up from 55 percent expressing that intention last year. Does this spell trouble for marketers of paper-and-ink cards? Not yet. Among those who said they would send e-valentines, 79 percent planned to buy traditional cards as well. And what sort of Valentine’s Day gifts were respondents planning to give? Candy/chocolate was the leading choice, cited by 47 percent. Dinner (31 percent) and flowers (30 percent) also scored well, while stuffed animals (16 percent) trailed the pack.
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