Battle Of The Stewarts, Nuptial Economics, Etc.

With Jon Stewart ready to host the Oscars and Martha Stewart in the news due to a tiff with Donald Trump, it’s a propitious time to divulge the results of a poll conducted for Adweek by Alden & Associates Marketing Research of Palos Verdes/Redondo Beach, Calif. Adults were asked to say which one of the following people they’d prefer to be stuck with on a desert island—Jon Stewart, Martha Stewart, Rod Stewart or Patrick Stewart. The winner, hands down, was Martha, chosen by 45 percent of respondents. Jon was a distant second (27 percent); Patrick (15 percent) finished a hair ahead of Rod (13 percent). Martha was almost as popular among men (picked by 43 percent) as among women (47 percent). By contrast, Rod was nearly twice as popular among women (17 percent) as he was among men (9 percent).

No wonder the age of first marriage keeps getting older. It takes longer to amass the vast sums of money that a wedding consumes today. A survey by The Condé Nast Bridal Group finds the average wedding now costs $27,852, nearly double the $15,208 average of 1990 (which was outlandish enough in its own right). Parents of daughters will be relieved to learn there’s been a shift in the way wedding costs are now borne. Though it was once customary for the bride’s parents to foot the bill, just 30 percent of this year’s nuptials will be paid for that way. Thirty-two percent of brides and grooms will pay for their own weddings; 15 percent will pay part of the bill, with help from both sets of parents. It’s unsurprising that lots of couples (36 percent) end up spending more on the festivities than they had originally planned. Under the circumstances, it’s also unsurprising that the financial aspects of the wedding are a significant source of anxiety for many couples. In a separate survey, conducted for American Express by ICR, 80 percent of newlyweds said the financial aspect of their wedding planning was “stressful,” including 26 percent who said it was “very stressful.” Forty-four percent of the American Express survey’s respondents said they didn’t set a budget for their weddings, while another 31 percent didn’t stick to the amount they’d set. In fact, 40 percent of those who set a budget “admitted to adding a significant amount or more than double their original budget.”

When commercials use hip-hop music to appeal to young consumers (of any race), the advertisers may worry about rubbing old-fogey white folks the wrong way. While they’re at it, they should worry about rubbing old-fogey black folks the wrong way, too. In a poll of black adults fielded by Ipsos Public Affairs for the Associated Press and AOL, respondents took a dim view of hip-hop (see chart above). They were especially wary of the influence hip-hop artists exert on kids. Just 33 percent said hip-hop artists should be “expected to serve as role models for children.” Even fewer (18 percent) said the artists are generally “good role models for children.” Elsewhere in the poll, respondents were asked how they feel when “slang words that originated in the black community are adopted by mainstream America.” The 38 percent saying it’s “mostly a good thing” were outnumbered by the 47 percent who said it’s “mostly a bad thing.” Five percent said “neither”; 3 percent said “both.” Seven percent weren’t sure.

Sounds like an opportunity for another tourist destination with a louche reputation and a tasty cuisine. In a poll by Phoenix Marketing International of people who made at least one overnight leisure trip last year, just 31 percent said they expect New Orleans to bounce back as a major destination within a year after Hurricane Katrina. A majority (58 percent) said it will take two years for the city to recover as a magnet for tourists. Eleven percent think it will never do so.

Why go to the movies when you can watch the Oscars telecast? A survey by Mediamark Research Inc. (fielded after last year’s Oscars show) picked up the counterintuitive fact that many of those who watched the show were infrequent moviegoers. Forty-one percent said they go to the movies less than once a month. Nearly a quarter of respondents hadn’t been to a movie in the previous six months. Maybe they watched the Oscars to confirm a hunch that they hadn’t missed much.