Eating But Not Running, Gay Inevitability, Etc.

They seldom drive their rugged SUVs beyond the well-paved road; they seldom wear their outdoor-adventure clothing anyplace more untamed than the mall. Need we be surprised, then, to find that Americans consume much of their “on-the-go” food in the confines of home? In a new InsightExpress poll, 72 percent of adults said they eat these portable foods at home. That exceeds the number who eat them in the car (44 percent), at the office (39 percent), at a recreational activity (17 percent) or at school (14 percent). In short, “the popularity of on-the-go foods is more about convenience than portability.”

The concept of gay marriage has leapt one important hurdle, finds a Los Angeles Times survey: A majority of American adults—63 percent of men and 54 percent of women—think legal recognition of same-sex marriage is “inevitable.” By comparison, 23 percent of men and 26 percent of women now believe it should be legalized, though another 39 percent of men and 37 percent of women favor same-sex civil unions. You might think the proliferation of gay and lesbian characters on TV shows has made people more amenable to real-life gays and lesbians, but the survey indicates otherwise. While 8 percent of the respondents said watching such characters has made them “more accepting” of gays, 10 percent said it has made them less so. How accepting are Americans of gays and lesbians these days? The poll yields an ambiguous answer. Just 20 percent said they’re “sometimes uncomfortable” around gays and/or lesbians. But when asked whether they would “permit a gay person to baby-sit for your child” (if the respondent had a child), 44 percent of men and 43 percent of women said they would not.

The dosage is higher, but the effect is smaller. If that were true of a prescription drug, you’d wonder about its efficacy. For the moment, finds a study by Ipsos PharmTrends, it seems to be true of the direct-to-consumer advertising that promotes such medicines. Among consumers who’ve been exposed to DTC advertising, 19 percent said it prompted them to call or visit their doctor to discuss the medicine. That’s down from the 25 percent saying so in a February 2002 poll, even though the pace of DTC advertising “has regained momentum due to competitive activity heated by recent drug launches.”

If a real SkyHigh Airlines ever opens for business, it probably won’t give its ad account to WongDoody. The agency created (and has ridiculed) a fictitious carrier by that name as a foil for its real client, Alaska Airlines. In one spot, SkyHigh shows us how it sets its fares, which vary wildly from one customer to the next: A hen pecks at the keys of a computer. (Alaska’s “common-sense” fares aren’t so arbitrary.) Of course, SkyHigh doesn’t have bad word-of-mouth from dissatisfied customers, which is more than most real airlines can say.