Reading In The Aisles, Doing-It-Herself, Etc.

Given the trend in Americans’ weight, one wonders whether they read the labels on food packaging purely for amusement. Still, 56 percent of respondents to an ACNielsen poll said they “regularly” check the fat content listed on packaged-food labels. Fifty percent check the calories. Among other nutrients with high readership: sugar (48 percent), sodium (42 percent), trans fat (40 percent) and carbohydrates (40 percent). Fewer check for protein (30 percent), fiber (28 percent) or preservatives (24 percent). One nice touch: People are more likely to read the label when trying to lose weight (23 percent) than when buying stuff for their kids (12 percent).

If only allergens were consumer brands with ad budgets that match their impact on people. Consumers certainly react to them. Drawing on a study involving more than 10,000 people age 6-59, a report from the National Institutes of Health says 54 percent “had a positive skin test response to at least one of the 10 allergens tested.” The leading offenders were dust mites, rye, ragweed and cockroaches, “with about 25 percent of the population testing positive to each allergen.”

Once regarded (rightly or not) as a male preserve, the do-it-yourself market now recruits more and more women. In a reader poll by All You magazine, 66 percent of women said they’ve used a power drill; 61 percent have put up a shelf; 41 percent have finished a piece of furniture. With all due respect to the respondents, it’s a bit scary to learn that 14 percent of them have rewired a lamp. Let’s hope many of them have also bought a fire extinguisher.

Though few want to ban smoking outright, people are increasingly supportive of legal restrictions on it. A Gallup poll finds 16 percent of adults saying that smoking should be illegal, a negligible change from 14 percent in a 1990 survey. But 54 percent favor a total ban on smoking in restaurants, vs. 30 percent in 1990. Support is also up for total bans on smoking in workplaces (from 25 percent to 41 percent) and in hotels and motels (from 18 percent to 34 percent). One might expect such nanny-state regulation to enjoy more support from Democrats than Republicans, but the reverse is true. Republicans were more likely than Democrats to say they favor smoking bans in restaurants (62 percent vs. 53 percent), workplaces (47 percent vs. 40 percent) and hotels/ motels (41 percent vs. 33 percent).

Being a ski bum needn’t mean looking like a bum. However, the Cloudveil Mountain Works line of ski apparel is intent on establishing a rapport with the sort of customer for whom skiing is the be-all and end-all of life—like the fellow who’s selling his truck for precisely the price of a season ski pass. Another ad in the same series features a job-seeker whose résumé lists nothing but dishwashing jobs at such well-known ski venues as Jackson Hole and Telluride. TDA Advertising & Design of Boulder, Colo., created the campaign.