Betty Crocker Wins in a Cakewalk

Sick of scandal, are voters eager to elect a Mr. Clean to the White House? Maybe, but they wouldn’t do the same for the Mr. Clean. In a nationwide poll conducted for Adweek by Alden & Associates Marketing Research of Hermosa Beach, Calif., respondents were asked who they’d vote for if the presidential ballot offered six brand icons: Mr. Clean, Betty Crocker, Mr. Goodwrench, Cap’n Crunch, Aunt Jemima and Ronald McDonald. As was the case when we gave them the same choices in 1996, a plurality of voters picked Betty Crocker (27 percent). Mr. Clean (19 percent) again edged Mr. Goodwrench (17 percent) as runner-up. Having trailed Ronald McDonald in the ’96 poll, Aunt Jemima slipped past him to take fourth place this year (14 percent to 13 percent). Cap’n Crunch again finished dead last, though his 10 percent this time was a sharp gain over his 6 percent in the earlier poll. A regional breakdown shows Clean ran apace of Crocker in the mid-Atlantic states and close behind on the West Coast, but lagged badly in the Midwest, Mountain and Northeast regions. Crocker ran least strongly among younger voters, but trounced all comers among the 35-plus constituency. Crocker won easily among women; male votes were distributed more evenly across the ballot. Not content to treat commercial characters as politicians, we also tossed politicians into the world of commerce, asking respondents whether they’d rather buy a used car from Al Gore or George W. Bush. Notwithstanding his distaste for the internal combustion engine, Gore beat Bush by 52 percent to 48 percent. Bush would do better selling used Jaguars than used Chevrolets, judging from the fact he was favored by voters with household income above $60,000. As befits the ever-fighting class warrior, Gore would be the used-car salesman of choice for those with incomes below that level.