Losing Even More Sleep, Dogs With Bad Habits, Etc.

For years, studies have shown Americans suffer a “sleep deficit.” Now, post-Sept. 11 stress is making matters worse. In a survey by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, 62 percent of adults reported “restless sleep at least some of the time” in the week prior to being polled. Similarly, a survey by the Pew Center for the People & the Press found 33 percent saying they’ve had trouble sleeping due to the way they feel about the attacks.

He may be the most famous bald commercial spokesman since Mr. Clean, but that doesn’t prevent Michael Jordan from displaying a batch of hairdos in a new spot for MCI’s 1-800-COLLECT service. Cornrows, an Afro, squiggly curls—you name it, Jordan tries it. At the end, though, it’s the familiar bald-domed Jordan who intones the moral, designed to fend off MCI’s competitors in the collect-calling market: “Stick with the original.” Agency for the effort is Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG.

People of goodwill can disagree about lots of things, but one truth is incontrovertible: You can’t go wrong with poker-playing dogs. This fact is illuminated anew by an anti-smoking campaign on behalf of Nebraska’s Hall County. Smokers have demonstrated their willingness to subject spouses and children to second-hand smoke, but the spectacle of poker-playing dogs as victims will make them think twice. Another ad in the series (by Bailey Lauerman of Lincoln, Neb.) shows a firing squad felled by second-hand smoke as the condemned man enjoys his last cigarette.

It’s not one of those be-the-first-on-your-block purchases, but it’s a big market nonetheless. From November 1998 through July 2000, 6.6 million Americans age 50 and up bought burial plots or other “burial products,” according to a study by AARP.

Car dealers wants us to think their wares are durable—but not too durable. Once having sold us a car, after all, they’ll also want to sell us a service contract. They’re having success in doing so this year. A study by J.D. Power and Associates finds 28 percent of new-vehicle owners purchasing service contracts this year, versus 21 percent in 1996. The average price tag for this sort of coverage: $1,178. Owners of cars that come with especially comprehensive warranties are less likely to spring for a service contract, since they figure they’re adequately covered without one.

If it’s true, as Mark Twain said, that golf is “a good walk spoiled,” you might at least take your stroll in an interesting locale. A batch of new ads for the Explore Minnesota Golf Association calls attention to the flora and fauna that enliven the state’s courses. (Naturally, a well-mannered moose will invite you to play through without being asked.) Another ad notes that if your ball hits a bear, you need only outrun “the slowest member of your foursome.” Colle + McVoy of Minneapolis created the clever campaign.

And here’s the answer to a question you may not have thought to ask: “How do women decide which bra to wear each day?” A survey by The NPD Group finds 66 percent of respondents subscribing to the statement, “I choose the style/color of bra I wear depending on the clothes I will be wearing.” The rest wear the first one they pick up “from the top of their dresser drawer.” On average, women buy 3.4 bras per year, with discount stores getting the bulk of the business.