Mixed Blessings

Unapologetically Rich, Headbangers Wanted, Really Big TV, Etc.
If you’re marketing your wares to rich folks, don’t waste your time appealing to their sense of guilt about being wealthy. It may be the one thing they haven’t got. A Worth magazine survey of the most affluent Americans finds just 5 percent of respondents agreeing strongly with the statement, “I often feel guilty for having more money than most other people.” Another 12 percent said they “mostly agree” with that statement. It’s not as though the rich have a let-them-eat-cake attitude toward the unrich, though. The study finds 61 percent strongly agreeing they “feel obligated to give money back to my community through charitable donations.” And it’s not as if rich Americans assume they’re exceptionally talented. Asked to cite the qualities they consider very important to their success, less than half included intelligence or talent. By contrast, more than 80 percent cited “determination.” What about luck? Just over one-quarter of the respondents saw it as a big factor. So much for the notion that it’s better to be lucky than good.

Honors this week for Best Use of Masonry in an Ad go to Todays Temporary. A direct mail poster for the chain of temporary-employment agencies issues an unusual invitation: “Pin this up and bang your head here,” says the headline superimposed on a picture of a brick wall. “If it reminds you of your job, read on.” As long as readers aren’t comatose from cerebral trauma, it’s an effective way of teasing them into the body copy, where they learn about the joys of being a Todays Temporary franchisee. Gilliatt & Paris of Dallas created the campaign.

You don’t come across much ventriloquism in print advertising, for obvious reasons. But a new execution in the Altoids Mints campaign (via Leo Burnett in Chicago) makes effective use of this ploy. It’s a catchy way of emphasizing that the mints aren’t just very strong–they’re curiously strong. Curious indeed.

It’s scarcely unheard of for an ad to say how much better off your family will be if you do the advertiser’s bidding. But even your ex-family? An ad for Royal Alliance takes that tack in recruiting independent brokers and advisors as reps for the financial-services firm. “Royal Alliance reps pay their alimony twice as fast,” the ad promises. Of course, this approach has implications for the ad’s media plan. Should it appear in financial-trade publications or in the First Wives Club Newsletter? Doremus Advertising of New York created the ad.

Does the world of television look bigger
to Westerners than it does to folks elsewhere in the U.S.? Decision Analyst of Arlington, Texas, finds 20 percent of households in the West have big-screen TVs, versus 16 percent in the Midwest and 17 percent in the Northeast and South. While upscale consumers often proclaim their disdain for the idiot box, households with a yearly income of $50,000-plus were twice as likely as those under $30,000 to own a megaTV.