MIXED BLESSINGS | Adweek MIXED BLESSINGS | Adweek
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MIXED BLESSINGS

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That Two-Bit Jordan, Waist Management, Wacky Webster's, Etc.
Apparently, it takes an act of Congress to keep the face of America's top celebrity endorser off the 25-cent piece. A bill now making its way through the House calls for issuance of newly designed quarters in the next decade. George Washington would remain on the obverse, but the other face would come in 50 varieties, celebrating each of the 50 states. As related in an Associated Press story last week, the Chicago Tribune had carried speculation that Michael Jordan would appear on the Illinois coin. To forestall such frivolity, the House subcommittee handling the bill added an amendment forbidding the use of a portrait "of any living person." Too bad. This way, we'll never know whether Nike would have intervened to prevent its multimillion-dollar icon from being reduced to the status of pocket change. Of course, nothing in the legislation would prevent the Oregon quarter from sporting a swoosh.

Every dog may have its day, but some days are better than others. Thus, we extend our sympathies to the hound who had to don full Pavlovian regalia to make his appearance in an ad for Risk Capital Reinsurance Co. Actually, the ad does a clever job of creating a rapport with the harried souls who toil in the glamorous reinsurance industry. One suspects they have a lively sense of leading a dog's life. Keiler & Co. of Farmington, Conn., created the ad.

As the American population grows stouter each year, a bonanza awaits the marketer who can produce stylish clothing that discreetly expands along with us. Until then, an ad for Kellogg's Bran Flakes (aimed at the svelte Canadian market by the Toronto office of Leo Burnett) adroitly shifts the blame from our appetites to our clothes. If you're going to be cutting back on calories, at least you can season the remaining ones with the spice of revenge on those uncooperative shirts, skirts, pants and whatnot.

With the nation's teenagers once again slouching off to school, adults may wonder what the kids are carrying in their ever-present backpacks. Or, they may not wonder. If they do, a survey of teens conducted by JanSport (itself a leading manufacturer of backpacks) has all the answers. Books are the No. 1 item, followed by pens and pencils, personal-hygiene products, Walkmans and keys. Anti-tobacco campaigners will be distressed to see that cigarettes appear at No. 7 on the list, just behind pagers and ahead of calculators, candy and a change of shoes. As part of its research, JanSport also commissioned a Backpack Deprivation Study in which teens who regularly use a backpack were asked to do without for a week. Needless to say, the kids felt at loose ends without their backpacks. Girls in the study reported a deterioration in their appearance and hygiene, since they couldn't haul around the usual ton of health and beauty aids. Boys and girls alike arrived at classes without necessary books, papers, pens, etc. Indeed, it all sounds so traumatizing that one hopes JanSport never dares to repeat the experiment.

Look up "wisenheimer" in the dictionary and you find a picture of (pause) the dictionary! One doesn't view Merriam-Webster as a laugh-a-minute jokester, but a new campaign for the company's best-selling dictionary is a laugh riot. Appropriately, the humor is built around words that many folks might not grasp correctly without some assistance from a dictionary. In addition to the "commitment" jest seen here, the campaign includes an ad in which a student is unsure whether to feel complimented or insulted when a professor calls him "indolent." McKay Fried & Partners of Boston created the series. We assume they were extra careful to make sure all the words were spelled correctly before presenting the ads to the client for approval.

This just in. A study by an executive-development firm has determined that "presidents of companies generally do not communicate their vision down- ward through the organization."
Despite the fact that they make little effort to communicate their vision of what the company should be, these corporate leaders are caught by surprise when their underlings fail to grasp or act on this grand design, according to Hagberg Consulting Group of Foster, Calif. Oh, well.

As another baseball season winds down, fans will be grateful for any gratuitous baseball images an ad tosses their way. So, a tip of the cap to Anthem Blue Cross and HMS Partners of Columbus, Ohio, for sending an outfielder through a wall to remind us that vitamin D can strengthen our bones. They can use the same photo next spring for a warning-track-awareness campaign.