QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Would You Like To Have Yourself Cloned?
There’s no love like self-love, but even it has its limits. While you may think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, that doesn’t mean you’d care to have multiple manifestations of your greatness running around loose. In a nationwide survey conducted for Adweek by Alden & Associates, a marketing research firm based in Hermosa Beach, Calif., people were asked whether they would like to have themselves cloned. They were nearly clonelike in their chorus of “no’s,” with 97 percent of respondents giving that answer. Usually, a double-digit percentage of survey respondents will endorse any crackpot notion one concocts, so the near-unanimity of good sense on this issue is impressive. Can we interpret this response as a reflection of modesty? It’s a nice thought, but not a particularly plausible one. More likely, people figure cloning doesn’t serve their self-interest, as long as “self” is strictly defined. Look at it this way: What’s the fun of physical immortality if your original self isn’t around to enjoy it? Moreover, this could be a case in which amour propre is trumped by our aversion to the people we most dislike. Any temptation to clone ourselves is tempered by an awareness that we’d be setting an example for individuals whose uncloned originals are already one too many.lost in cyberspace: A Screen Is a Screen
If you think mouse potatoes are a higher order of being than couch potatoes, think again. A new online poll suggests the former are more accurately viewed as a subset of the latter. Conducted by Hambrecht & Quist and The LinkExchange, the poll found that heavy users of the Internet also tend to be heavy users of TV. Light users of the Internet allot the lion’s share of their media hours to print. As you can see from the chart, a majority of Internet enthusiasts simply enlarge the amount of time they spend with media in general rather than reallotting their media hours. Sounds like reassuring news for the TV biz, though it may be bad news for Web-surfers’ spouses, kids, dogs, et al. Bear in mind that the pool of respondents consisted of people willing to spend time answering a poll on the Web–perhaps giving a certain get-a-life skew to the data.
Sofa, So Good: Who Doesn’t Hate Buying A Love Seat?
Being a couch potato sounds so easy. But people forget the tricky part: First, you have to buy a couch. And for lots of folks, buying furniture is one of the things that makes this life a vale of tears.
That’s especially true for younger consumers, suggests a recent survey commissioned by Advo of Windsor, Conn. While 75 percent of respondents age 35-plus say they’d buy again from the store where they made their last purchase, the figure falls to 62 percent among 18-34-year-olds. Along the same lines, 80 percent of the older group were satisfied with the salesperson who sold them furniture, versus 67 percent of the 18-34 cohort.
Younger shoppers are keen on finding a good price, so they may be suffering a trade-off in terms of service. At any rate, 47 percent of the 18-34s cited “low price” as their prime consideration, while 31 percent of the 35-54s and 20 percent of those 55 and older said the same.
Among other tidbits from the study: The average length of time between furniture purchases is four years. When they start shopping, 64 percent of consumers have no idea what brand they want. And a dogged 11 percent visit the store where they make their purchase five or more times before finally doing the deed.
So Much for the Idea That Toleration Reflects Our Own Sinfulness
As the Jones-Lewinsky-Willey affair has unfolded, a recurring refrain has been offered to explain the public’s refusal to condemn Clinton: Adultery is more the norm than the exception, so most people are unwilling to cast the first stone lest they damage the glass houses they themselves inhabit. Sounds reasonable enough. The only trouble is that it has no firm basis in fact. Unless people lie to pollsters as well as to spouses–as, of course, they may–adulterers are a small minority of the population.
In a vast survey by Condƒ Nast Sports for Women on the topic of cheating, people were asked if they’ve ever cheated on a spouse or significant other. Just 13 percent of the men and 10 percent of the women said they had done so. A somewhat different picture emerged when people were asked whether a spouse or significant other has ever cheated on them. To this question, 16 percent of men and 25 percent of women answered “yes.”
Looking at cheating in general, the survey found that men and women alike believe men are the more likely of the two to cheat. (See the chart above.) It turns out, though, that women are more likely than men to refrain from cheating for fear of getting caught. As you can see from the chart below, most people who don’t cheat ascribed their rectitude to their moral sense. But while 11 percent of the men said they’re restrained by a fear of being caught, 19 percent of the women cited that factor.
It’s tempting to explain this gender gap by a conjecture that women are less adept at cheating than men, since they get less practice. Support for that theory comes from a question posed to people who admitted they’ve cheated on money matters or taxes: Have you ever been caught? Just 4 percent of male cheaters had been caught, while 21 percent of female cheaters had been. But the skew was reversed among respondents who confessed they’ve cheated in relationships (52 percent of male cheaters were caught, versus 43 percent of female cheaters) and who’ve cheated in school (22 percent of male cheaters caught, versus 18 percent of female cheaters).
MIXED BLESSINGS: Ads About Nothing, Icebergs Dead Ahead, Wart of the Week, Etc.
Reports circulated last week that Jerry Seinfeld might use his TV stardom as a stepping stone to a more glamorous career as proprietor of an ad agency. Media coverage noted the experience Seinfeld has gained in the ad game as star of some American Express spots. But his roots in the business go deeper. Adweek readers with exceptionally good memories will recall an interview with Seinfeld–published in our issue of Jan. 27, 1992–in which he spoke about his brief but award-winning foray into the industry. Asked if he’d ever worked in advertising, Seinfeld told our reporter: “I did an ad for a submarine sandwich place, a local place, and won a Clio for it–Milwaukee, 1988.” Clearly, then, he’ll be a force to reckon with.
If the sight of a shark puts you more in mind of Mack the Knife than The Sidewalks of New York, it probably just means you’ve not yet seen the new ads for the New York Aquarium. On the other hand, a quick glance at a poster with a picture of a shark, the phrase “dangerous character” and the name of New York’s mayor might make you think you’re seeing a leftover campaign ad from Ruth Messinger’s electoral challenge to Rudy Giuliani. Playing off the proliferation of pizza places in New York claiming to be the “original” Ray’s, another ad in the series shows a photo of a sting ray beneath a headline that reads: “The Honest To God Original Rays.” Young & Rubicam’s New York office created the campaign.
With the nation awash in Titanic-mania, it’s no surprise that commercials are now getting into the act. A new spot for NAPA automotive parts does so with great gusto. As the action begins, we see two good old boys out in a boat for some nocturnal fishing on their local lake. Suddenly, they gape in amazement as a huge iceberg looms just ahead of them. Their boat bonks into it and sinks, along with their fishing gear, leaving our soggy heroes to wade ashore. A voiceover then chimes in to describe a promotional sweepstakes for NAPA in which participants can win fishing equipment or, for a lucky few, a whole fishing boat. The commercial (via WestWayne of Atlanta) closes with a glimpse of the two fishermen steaming across the lake in a brand-new boat, the stouter of the two standing on the prow with his arms spread wide in the movie’s signature pose.
Finally, just to show that things can always go wrong, a helpful reader sends along to us a snapshot of a bus ad that plies the streets of New York for a new Broadway show named Art. The ad itself is a paragon of simplicity, spelling out the show’s name in bright colors. As you can see, though, those three letters follow right after the stylized capital “W” that adorns buses serving customers of New York Waterways–which, of course, transforms the message into a cheery “WART.”