American automakers are criticized for failing to cater to female consumers. But you can't altogether blame the companies for wishing men did all the car buying. In a new survey by Good Housekeeping, 57 percent of women (vs. 47 percent of men) said a low purchase price is "extremely important" to them when buying a car. Women were less likely than men (28 percent vs. 38 percent) to say that "buying American" is very important to them when shopping for a car. And while automakers get a disproportionate share of their profits from oversized vehicles that are freighted with options, women are more apt than men (37 percent vs. 27 percent) to favor environmentally friendly cars.
As advertisers ready their real Super Bowl commercials for Sunday's game, some wisenheimers have cooked up hypothetical spots for the occasion. A poll by Cliff Freeman and Partners of New York sought to gauge the appeal of some celebrity endorsements we won't be seeing. Whose endorsement of a snack food would most motivate you? Oprah Winfrey (with 16 percent of the vote) edged Jennifer Lopez (14 percent), Dr. Phil (12 percent) and Martha Stewart (12 percent). Winfrey fared less well in the financial-services category, where her endorsement in a Super Bowl spot would motivate 12 percent of the viewers. Bill Gates was the leader in that sector (28 percent), trailed by Donald Trump (26 percent) and Tom Brokaw (16 percent). And now for the name you've been dreading: Paris Hilton tied with Johnny Depp as the endorser most likely to motivate a beer purchase (16 percent each), putting them ahead of Trump and 50 Cent (12 percent each).
In the job market, there are immigrants and emigrants—i.e., people who go to a new job and those mainly fleeing their old job. A campaign for an online recruitment site called CareerBuilder.com will create a rapport with would-be emigrants. In one spot, a bank teller finally can take no more of the tedium of her job. So she shouts a demand that everyone drop to the floor, as if a hold-up is in progress, then uses the confusion to vault over the counter and make her escape. We'll watch to see whether there's a sudden wave of departures from Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago, which created the clever campaign.
Is the economy in recession? Depends on who's answering the question. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll fielded in the middle of this month, 39 percent of all respondents said "yes" and 58 percent said "no." Women were more likely than men (43 percent vs. 34 percent) to believe the recession persists. The gender gap is trivial, though, compared with the racial gap: 36 percent of whites said the economy is in recession, vs. 62 percent of blacks. In a breakdown by age, respondents 61-plus were the least likely to say we're in recession (32 percent); the 31-44s were the most likely to say so (43 percent).