Mother-Loving Teens, Inheritance Boom, Etc.

Even teenagers have the sense to see there’s no one like Mom. In a survey by NFO WorldGroup, teens were asked to give a report card on their mothers. Ninety-six percent of respondents gave a grade of B or better for overall maternal performance. As for specific subjects, 80 percent gave their mothers an A for showering them with love; 79 percent gave an A for the way their mothers care for them when they’re sick, and 71 percent did so for motherly willingness to buy things they want or need. On the other hand, a minority of respondents (44 percent) felt their mothers merited an A for spending enough time with them. Mothers clearly outrank fathers in the eyes of their teenage children. When asked to pick the parent who deserves the most thanks, 44 percent of teens cited their mothers, while a diplomatic 50 percent said both parents deserve equal praise. Just 4 percent said their fathers are the most deserving.

An ad featuring a decapitated doll in a ladies room might not work for every client. For a Las Vegas night club, though, it seems as natural as a cow in a milk commercial. The one shown here is merely the latest in a series of ads that use dolls (headless or otherwise) to position Studio 54 at the MGM Grand as the late-night home away from home for local hipsters. Schadler Kramer Group Advertising of Las Vegas created the ads.

If a pollster asked whether you consider the nutritional value of foods before buying them, would you have the gumption to say you don’t? It’s one of those questions, after all, to which “yes” is clearly the respectable answer. It restores faith in one’s fellow man, then, that one-third of respondents to an InsightExpress poll on that question declined to give it. Meanwhile, 60 percent claimed they’re eating healthier than they did a year ago—a display of virtue that has yet to be reflected in statistics on obesity, adult-onset diabetes and other diet-related maladies. But then, “healthier” is a relative term. Twenty percent of respondents said they’d be willing to sacrifice flavor for the sake of eating healthier, and 46 percent said they’d be willing to pay a premium for healthy comestibles.

Baby boomers have often been heard to complain that they could never afford to buy the houses in which they grew up. Now, some of them stand to inherit those houses. On the whole, though, relatively few boomers foresee a huge financial windfall through inheritance. In a Knowledge Networks poll conducted in conjunction with American Demographics, 24 percent of boomers said they’ve already received an inheritance, and another 26 percent expect to do so in the future. Among those who expect to inherit an estate from their parents, 44 percent think it will be under $25,000. Another 18 percent peg it at $25,000-50,000, while 17 percent think it will be in the $50,000-100,000 range. Just 16 percent of prospective inheritors expect to get $100,000 or more. When inheritors-to-be were asked what they’ll do with the cash, the most popular responses were “put into savings” (65 percent), “pay off debt” (44 percent), “invest in stock market” (24 percent) and “use for children’s college” (22 percent). Few will “buy a new house” (6 percent), but 15 percent said they’ll use the money to “renovate current house.” Bad news for Detroit: Just 8 percent said they’d buy a new car.

If you want a long and healthy life, be born female. Or, failing that, clean up your act. A University of Michigan report notes that men’s shorter average lifespan is due largely to differences in male and female behavior rather than to basic physiological factors. And these account for a gap in health at “every age,” not just when men and women grow old or die. Men are more likely than women to smoke (26 percent vs. 22 percent) and “twice as likely to consume five or more drinks of alcohol in one day.” Male death rates are at least twice as high as female death rates for accidents, suicide, cirrhosis of the liver and homicide. Men are even more likely to die due to floods. Why? A Time magazine article about the study notes that in low-lying flood zones, “men are more likely to drive around barricades and drown in high water.” In short, men don’t live as long as women because they’re often too stupid to survive.

“If we build it, you’ll come out.” That’s the hope, anyway, behind a poster campaign for the Cleveland area’s North Coast Gay & Lesbian Softball League. Merrily playing with stereotypes, another poster in the series positions the league as one “where the boys throw like girls and the girls throw like boys.” Brokaw of Cleveland created the campaign.

Recalling all the reckless things they did as kids, today’s parents often wonder whether they’re being over-protective of their offspring. Excessive or not, their protectiveness has yielded one clear benefit. A new report by the National Safe Kids Campaign and Johnson & Johnson says the accidental mortality rate for children age 14 and under declined nearly 40 percent between 1987 and 2000. Although the death rate from auto accidents went down 16 percent during those years, this remains the top cause of injury-related mortality for kids.

No presidential campaign is complete until at least one major candidate declares to a cheering crowd that “America’s best days are still ahead of us.” Imagine our surprise, then, to discover from a Washington Post/ABC News poll that a large minority of Americans disbelieve that oratorical cliché. When asked whether they think the country’s best days are ahead of it or behind it, 34 percent of respondents said “behind.” Still, a majority (64 percent) knew to answer “ahead.”

Finally, our Oddball Statistic of the Week comes from a survey by BIGresearch: “22.6 percent of consumers said that they had ‘reordered their priorities in their daily life over the last six months.’ ” We’ll hope it was a change for the better.