Honest: Happily, The Best Policy Is The Most Common
Perhaps their friends have looser standards than Diogenes. Whatever the reason, a heartening 88 percent of Americans polled in an Arbitron NewMedia Pathfinder Study answered “yes” when asked whether their friends would describe them as honest. The difference between men and women on this issue was negligible, but responses did vary by age group. Respondents in the 16-19-year-old bracket were the least likely to say their friends would call them honest (75 percent answered “yes”), edging out the 20-29-year-olds (82 percent) for that dubious honor; the 50-59s were the most likely to answer “yes” (95 percent), followed by the 60-74s (92 percent). One possible explanation for these numbers: People learn from experience that dishonesty is more trouble than it’s worth. On the other hand, the finding is counterintuitive in the sense that older folks have more personal history to lie about. (And who’s going to fib about their age–22-year-olds or 52-year-olds?) The survey also gives a hint that habituƒs of the Internet’s virtual realms pay less heed to literal truth than they might. Among respondents who spend no time on the Internet, 88 percent say they’re regarded as honest. Among those who spend five hours or more per week on the Net, that figure sinks to 76 percent.

An Anti-Drug Habit: This Is Your Midriff On 3-Egg Omelets?
Pity the poor egg farmers. For the past few decades, consumer worries about cholesterol have held down sales of their products. Now, just as health experts are conceding that a moderate intake of eggs probably won’t kill you, a commercial comes along that associates eggs with
heroin–even if the egg is merely a prop. It’s a reprise of an earlier spot that did the same thing–the famous “this is your brain” message. In the new version, via Margeotes/Fertitta + Partners of New York, the egg is smashed by the frying pan instead of being cooked in it. Egg farmers’ best hope is that the viewer’s subconscious will connect eggs less with the heroin than with the heroine–the strikingly slinky actress who conducts the spot’s show-and-tell. At least some viewers will muse to themselves, “Hmm, I can eat eggs and still have a body like hers? Wreck ’em!”

Please Forward: On The Road Again
No wonder direct-mail outfits struggle to keep their mailing lists up-to-date. Newly available statistics from the Census Bureau show that 42 million Americans–16 percent of the U.S. population–moved to a different home between March ’96 and March ’97. Two-thirds of those relocations were within the same county, but a footloose 15 percent of movers pulled up stakes and went to another state. As you’d expect, inertia sets in as people get older. While 32 percent of 20somethings moved in the 12-month period, a mere 5 percent of the 65-plus cohort did so. Indeed, once people have bought a home, they tend to stay put. The stats show that nearly one-third of renters changed domicile, while 8 percent of homeowners did so.

Back In Gear? Adding Up Adweek’s Classified Ads For Jobs
After a sluggish spring, the market for jobs in advertising, marketing and media has regained some momentum. For the second month in a row, the nationwide totals of help-wanted classifieds in Adweek showed a double-digit gain versus the previous year. And July was the first month since January in which all six regions were on the plus side in the year-to-year comparisons. One factor: This year’s Fourth of July holiday put less of a dent in classified linage than last year’s did.

Mixed Blessings: The Madding Crowd, Unlucky Strikes, Etc.
“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” According to legend, that’s how Yogi Berra once badmouthed a well-known restaurant. He might apply the same reasoning to a bit of data from a Newsweek survey on Americans’ vacation preferences: “51 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds think it’s very important to go to an uncrowded destination.” In part, this reflects a reasonable desire for peace and quiet. But there’s more to it than that. Now that vacations are as much an exercise in self-definition as a respite from the rat race, people want to feel they’re distinguishing themselves from the common herd. Trouble is, when so many folks are determined to find an uncrowded destination, the result is that fewer and fewer such places are left. Maybe Yogi could suggest a peaceful spot.

What’s got five wheels (including the spare) and books about flies? Sounds like the Milwaukee Public Library’s bookmobile. And if the books don’t capture your imagination, the bus itself will. Copy strikes an intrepid note: “With everything we have to offer, you think we’d let a mere flat tire stop us?” Milwaukee-based BVK/McDonald created the ad.

It’s enough to make you feel sorry for the evil tobacco companies. The nation already is awash in ads about the perils of smoking. Now, an ad about gun violence adopts the look of an anti-cigarette message. In this ad for the Trauma Foundation (via Katsin/Loeb of San Francisco), the text refers to a recent spate of shootings. “WARNING: Lead has been determined to cause pools of blood on school playgrounds by the dead children of Jonesboro, Arkansas. West Paducah, Kentucky. Pearl, Mississippi. And Springfield, Oregon.” It says something about the anti-tobacco climate that an ad will use cigarette imagery to emphasize how lethal guns are–as if tobacco were the standard against which all other deadly things are measured. That’s a problem, and not just for tobacco moguls. Amid the heated rhetoric about cigarettes, it’s hard to sustain a rational sense of a hierarchy of dangers. If a lit cigarette is practically an atomic bomb, how do you scare kids about guns or heroin or unsafe sex? That question grows harder to answer as the language of threats is debased by inflation.