A Hierarchy of Superheroes, The Scent of a Man, Etc.

Better to be from another planet than another species. That’s the moral we draw from a Wilson Strategies Research survey (as summed up by PollingReport.com) in which adults picked their favorite superhero. Superman (27 percent) nearly matched the combined tally for Spiderman (15 percent) and Batman (14 percent). Wonder Woman (11 percent) outpointed The Incredible Hulk (7 percent), Flash Gordon (4 percent) and The Bionic Man (4 percent).

Some people just love a recession. Presumably they’re among the 8 percent of advertising and marketing executives who feel morale where they work is much higher than it was a year ago. The same poll by The Creative Group found 27 percent saying morale is somewhat higher, and 27 percent feeling it’s unchanged. Just 9 percent said it’s much lower; 29 percent said it’s somewhat so.

Can an airport give itself an appealing brand identity? Doubtful, especially since the only airport experiences we recall are the bad ones. For that reason, though, an airport can do a fine job of giving its competition an unappealing brand identity. That’s what Harrisburg’s airport does in a series of ads that badmouth Baltimore/Washington International. The reference to Lot Z takes BWI’s greater size and transforms it into a drawback. Another ad in the series seems to give BWI its due by noting, “Everybody goes there.” But then it adds: “That’s them lined up in front of you.” Kelly Michener of Lancaster, Pa., created the ads.

Americans have a love-hate relationship with technology—i.e., some of them love it, and some of them hate it. This comes across in a RoperASW survey that asked whether computers and technology simplify people’s lives or make them more complicated. Forty-eight percent put themselves in the pro-technology camp, down a shade from the 50 percent doing so in a 1998 survey. At the same time, there was a significant rise—from 23 percent to 32 percent—in the number of respondents saying technology complicates life. (Most of the rest said it makes no difference.) Does this mean one-third of American adults are Luddites? Hardly. One suspects few of the anti-tech respondents would care to see all the new technologies abolished, since they use lots of these things themselves. But this doesn’t prevent them from feeling hostility toward technology when viewed en masse.

You may or may not think they smell better, but large numbers of men smell different than they did a year ago. According to an NPD/Beauty Trends survey, 36 percent of men now wear fragrance at least four days a week, up from 26 percent a year earlier. This trend may not be wholly welcomed by their significant others. While 57 percent of scented men said “it’s important that the woman or partner in their lives like the fragrance,” that leaves an awful lot who aren’t so solicitous. What motivates men to buy a particularfragrance? Before they get to the store, the chief influence is “friend/spouse/partner/family” (cited by29 percent), followed by “smelled on someone else” (16 percent) and “received a sample” (14 percent). Just 10 percent noted “magazine ad with a scent,” but that still beats the 4 percent citing television commercials.

If Americans don’t live forever, it won’t be for lack of trying. A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people in this country made 823.5 million doctor visits in 2000. The increasing age of the population is pushing up the number of visits. Many of these sessions entailed the prescribing of medications: 1.3 billion drugs were ordered or prescribed during office visits in 2000. Hypertension was the most common diagnosis made during such visits, followed by acute respiratory infections and diabetes. On average, doctors spent all of 19 minutes with each patient.

The winners may not get big endorsement deals, though maybe they should. But the World Wide Super Senior Sports Association’s tennis tourney will feature spirited play, even if the contenders aren’t as loose-limbed as they once were. Matthews Mark of San Diego created the ad.

With all due respect to Bob Hope, soldiers now have other ideas about who they’d like to see in a USO show. A Stuff survey of U.S. military personnel found 33 percent picking Britney Spears as their ideal. Jennifer Lopez was a close runner-up (30 percent),followed by Pamela Anderson (25 percent).

This week’s honors for Best Defenestration of a Couch go to a spot for Storage USA, via Thompson & Co. of Memphis, Tenn. As a voiceover explains that houses sell more quickly if sparsely furnished, a couch comes flying out the window and lands on the front yard. The sales pitch: You’re better off entrusting your stuff to Storage USA.