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Mixed Blessing

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It wasn't long ago that Main Street could be indifferent to trouble on Wall Street. Not so any longer. A Washington Post/ABCNews poll this month found 17 percent of adults saying rises and falls in stock prices affect them "a great deal." Another 36 percent are affected "somewhat." Just 21 percent said they're personally affected "not at all." As recently as 1997, polling on the same topic found 9 percent saying they're affected a great deal by the market's ups and downs, vs. 36 percent affected not at all.

No rest for the weary. A survey conducted for the Sanofi-Synthelabo pharmaceutical firm found 54 percent of adults saying they come home from a vacation feeling tired. As summarized on the HealthScout Web site, the poll found preparation for vacation to be especially taxing. Among respondents with jobs, 36 percent said they'd worked harder and/or stayed at the office later than usual in the days before leaving on vacation. Packing also takes its toll, as 32 percent of vacationers reported staying up at least two hours later than usual to get ready the night before departure. And 10 percent have trouble sleeping during the vacation.

Call it product-placement chic. A droll spot for Wahoo's Fish Taco urges kids to come in and get a "Hollywood product-placement collector's cup free, with any purchase of Pepsi." It's just an ordinary cup, but the voiceover is undeterred. "That's right, come to a participating Wahoo's and get the same soda you've seen as a gratuitous product placement" in several movies. Two boys gaze reverently at the cups as one of them declares product-placement items to be "very cool." TDA Advertising & Design of Boulder, Colo., created the spot.

If you assume most teens are having sex, think again. In a poll of 15-17-year-olds by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Seventeen, 37 percent of boys and 29 percent of girls said they've done it. As the chart indicates, more than one-third of the sexually active teens have kept their parents in the dark about this (25 percent of girls, 46 percent of boys). Just 11 percent discussed it with their parents before having sex for the first time. One particularly telling statistic: 56 percent of sexually active teens have "never" talked with a parent about "how to know when you are ready to have sex."

Give me a convenient lunch but a tasty dinner. A RoperASW poll asked consumers to say whether they view health, convenience and taste as important factors in deciding what to eat at each meal. Health won the most mentions—51 percent at breakfast, 45 percent at lunch, 54 percent at dinner. Convenience and taste tied as breakfast factors (each cited by 36 percent). But while convenience beat taste at lunch (42 percent vs. 36 percent), taste trounced convenience at dinner (45 percent vs. 29 percent).

If baseball players go on strike, look for sports-oriented marketers to lavish their money on other games. A poll of marketing executives by TSE Sports & Entertainment indicated football will be the main beneficiary (cited by 46 percent of respondents), with golf the runner-up (21 percent). It's not as if these executives are so keen on baseball anyway. Asked to cite the most efficient sport for marketing purposes, 37 percent picked football and 21 percent chose golf. Baseball ran a poor third (15 percent).