Mixed Blessings

Driven by divergent ambitions, Americans have in common the fact of being ambitious. That’s clear from a survey conducted for Adweek by Alden & Associates Marketing Research of Hermosa Beach, Calif. Asked to gauge their ambition on a scale of 1 (“not at all ambitious”) to 5 (“very ambitious”), a majority assigned themselves either a 4 (34.6 percent) or 5 (23.6 percent). Few rated their ambitiousness at a 1 (3.4 percent) or 2 (5.7 percent), with the other 32.7 percent choosing a noncommittal 3.

Ask not for whom the wireless telephone rings. Instead, ask which one of your phones is ringing. A Maritz Poll finds 39 percent of wireless-subscribing Americans have two cell phones in their households. Another12 percent have three such phones. Still, they’re not ready to cut the cord to their standard phones. Just 8 percent said they’d be “very likely”or “absolutely certain” to ditch their wired home phone and use nothing but their wireless model. One other intriguing info-tidbit: 44 percent use their cell phones at work to make personal calls.

Suggestion to dessert marketers: Encourage women to eat alone. As described in a Reuters Health article, a small-scale study of college students found women saying they’re “more likely to eat dessert when dining alone than in the presence of others.” Conducted by researchers at WagnerCollege of Staten Island, New York, the study also found women more likely than men to eat a well-balanced diet. This gap mainly stems (pardon the expression) from male aversion to vegetables.

Will you gain a sweeter disposition if you stop fighting rush-hour traffic in your car and take mass transit instead? Ads for some transit systems imply as much. A campaign for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is more plausible, promising merely to redirect one’s hostility. Along with the bus rider who will have a fit of office rage rather than one of road rage, the campaign points an arrow at a rider who is “Taking revenge on meter maids.” Conceding that rapid transit can be slow, another ad points to four riders and says: “They may be stuck in traffic too, but at least they have each other.” Brokaw Inc. of Cleveland created the series.

If you’re marketing big-ticket items, be sure to cultivate a well-educated audience. They’re the ones who’ll have money. A report from the Census Bureau says the average high school graduate will earn $1.2 million during his working life. Americans with bachelor’s degrees will average $2.1 million, and those with a master’s will get $2.5 million. People with doctorates will earn $3.4 million in the course of their working lives, while those with professional degrees (medical doctors, lawyers, etc.) take in $4.4 million.

Doctors and lawyers will make more money (see item above), but will they have more fun than firemen and policemen? A poll by Stuff gives reason to suspect not. When women were asked to cite the professions they feel are sexiest, policemen/firemen got almost twice as many votes as doctors/lawyers (23 percent vs. 12 percent). While construction workers lagged farther behind (11 percent), they outpointed writers andcomputer programmers (5 percent apiece).

And the Oddball Factoid of the Week comes from a poll in which Family Circle asked women to imagine their wax likenesses enshrined at Madame Tussaud’s. Which of four celebrities’ wax figures would they want their own to stand beside—John F. Kennedy, Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra or Barbara Walters? JFK won a plurality (35 percent), with McCartney coming in second (28 percent). Walters (17 percent) and Sinatra (15 percent) trailed.