Odd Cereal Numbers, Comfort vs. Style, Etc.

There’s no telling what people might do in the morning. A poll of 30- to 35-year-olds conducted for Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Crunch found 8 percent put juice on their breakfast cereal. Four percent top the cereal with ice cream and 3 percent put on melted chocolate; an eclectic 2 percent add another cereal. As for solids, 38 percent of respondents reported adding fruit to their cereal. That could explain why people don’t obsess about the nutritional value of the cereal itself. Asked whether they care more about nutrition or taste when choosing a cereal, 72 percent of respondents picked the latter.

While diamonds are a girl’s best friend, wives and mothers rank them behind other desirable items. Asked in a Parents.com poll to identify the Valentine’s Day present they’d like best, 35 percent of respondents chose “time alone with my husband.” A sentimental 28 percent picked “a handmade gift from my kids,” while an unsentimental 27 percent preferred “an uninterrupted night of sleep.” Just 10 percent chose the diamonds.

Honors this week for Least Gratuitous Reference to Genital Size go to an ad aimed at dissuading young male athletes from using steroids. With some downsizing in the pertinent locale, Michelangelo’s David is enlisted to make the point that the use of steroids can shrink male sex organs. Seattle-based Copacino is the agency for this public-service effort by Coaches Against Steroids.

So that’s why demand for prescription drugs has increased. A report issued by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says abuse of prescription drugs is “rising rapidly” in the U.S., particularly by young adults and teens. About 12 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds used such drugs “nonmedically” in 2001. Of these, 9.6 percent misused pain killers, 3.4 percent took stimulants and 4.2 percent took tranquilizers. (Some people dabbled in more than one category.) Among the 12- to 17-year-olds, 7.9 percent used prescription drugs nonmedically. Pain killers were the most popular drugs for such misuse (taken by 6.4 percent of this age bracket), followed by stimulants (2.2 percent) and tranquilizers (1.7 percent).

You feel there’s just a narrow market for the products you’re advertising? Maybe there’s broader demand than you suppose. That’s one moral we can draw from a new Barna Research survey about the Christian-books category. It found 17 percent of atheist/ agnostic adults saying they’d read at least one Christian book (other than the Bible) in the past year. Among adults in general, 35 percent reported buying a Christian book during that period. Among teens, 34 percent did so. Twenty percent of adults and 12 percent of teens purchased three or more Christian books. Contradicting the stereotype of teens as aliterate clods, the study also found that 75 percent of them bought some sort of book (Christian or otherwise), vs. 70 percent of adults. But adults were more likely than teens (62 percent vs. 58 percent) to have bought three or more books during the past year.

“I’m not a nonphysician clinician, but I play one on television.” Perhaps we’ll soon hear such an avowal in a commercial, given that more and more medical care is doled out by trained personnel who aren’t doctors. According to a study summarized in The New England Journal of Medicine, the proportion of patients who saw a nonphysician clinician rose from 30.6 percent in 1987 to 36.1 percent in 1997. This trend was concentrated in the provision of preventive services rather than acute-care services.

When you decide what to wear, which matters more to you—comfort or style? In an online poll by Health magazine, 71 percent of women claimed to care more about comfort, with just 29 percent opting for style. The findings leave us to speculate about the numerous women (and men) we see each day who look neither stylish nor comfortable.

You’d likely give yourself an aneurysm if you tried to hum it, but the bass line in Northside Hospital’s ad looks catchy. It’s a clever way of enlivening what’s often one of advertising’s dullest (and most pretentious) categories: the ads that publicize a fine-arts sponsorship. This ad gives us reason to take pleasure in learning that Northside sponsors the Atlanta Symphony. Huey/Paprocki of that city composed the piece.

An imaginative married couple can fight about almost anything. For most couples, though, arguments tend to emerge out of a few well-worn topics. In a reader poll by Glamour, money was the bone of contention cited most often. Next on the roster was “time together—or lack thereof.” Sex completed the top three.

True or false: A satisfied customer is a loyal customer. The answer, says a report by Miller-Williams, is a resounding “maybe.” It doesn’t hurt if the customer is happy with a brand, but “the relationship between satisfaction and loyalty is not as straightforward as most companies think or would like to believe.” Satisfaction correlates closely with loyalty in the personal-computer and telecom categories, but less so in the automotive and e-commerce sectors. A separate study, meanwhile, finds companies more apt to chase new customers than to cultivate the ones they’ve already got. A survey of corporate executives by the Grizzard Performance Group found 58 percent of the respondents’ companies devote a majority of their marketing efforts to customer acquisition, while 34 percent focus their resources on customer retention.

One Last Oddball Super Bowl Factoid before we all look ahead to baseball season: According to a Knowledge Networks study, people who watched the game “reported having their eyes on the screen 59 percent of the time in 2003, vs. 63 percent in 2002.”