Present Tense: And They Seem So Offensively Relaxed
At last, some good news about teenagers: 45 percent are “often too tired to do the things they want,” says a Yankelovich Partners poll. Needless to say, such fatigue can only be a boon to mankind. We’re also told that stress is more common among teenagers than it was 10 years ago. For instance, 52 percent of teens now report themselves worried about not getting a good job, up from 32 percent in 1988. They’re even more apt to worry about dying, with 49 percent citing that concern, versus 38 percent 10 years back. Here again, this rise in worry seems more like good news than bad, since these are matters about which a prudent person should worry. Let’s credit the peculiarities of today’s youth-oriented advertising for helping to make teens ill-at-ease. If you’re an ignorant 16-year-old (there’s no other kind) and ads persist in addressing you as a world-weary know-it-all, the intrinsic weirdness of that situation is bound to induce stress. And it’s surely exhausting to be on the receiving end of all the irony commercials direct at teens. Likewise, when rebelliousness is marketed as the indispensable style of youth, kids are left with the anxiety of figuring out what (if anything) they’re supposed to be rebelling against. In its rapid-fire display of puzzling cultural signals, youth marketing has become America’s equivalent of the Japanese cartoon show that sent kids into fits. No wonder our teenagers are weary and worried.

Vested Interest? Stocks, Not Socks
Talk about keeping up with the Dow Joneses. Asked how they’d spend an unexpected pot of cash, a plurality of men polled by Fairchild Publications’ DNR chose not to spend it at all. (See the chart below). Among the sports who’d lay out the money instead of socking it away, most would seek transitory experiences rather than durable goods. Very wise of them, too, since most people already have too much stuff and too little fun. The survey’s respondents were also asked about shopping for clothes. (DNR covers the men’s fashion field.) A majority of men either dislike such shopping (22 percent) or view it as a “necessary evil” (30 percent), while 23 percent say they enjoy it. Opting out of the whole process, 12 percent of the men say they have others shop for them. The men who “always wait for a sale” (32 percent) are easily outnumbered by those who “ignore price, buy what I like” (48 percent).

Mixed Blessings: Swarming Microwaves, Bush-League Ads, Etc.
For connoisseurs of odd statistics, here’s a delicacy: 7 percent of U.S. households own two microwave ovens, and another 4 percent own three or more. So says a study by Decision Analyst of Arlington, Texas. When someone has three ovens humming at once, it must sound like killer bees are swarming through town. This assumes, of course, that owners of multiple microwaves are using the machines and not just collecting them.
Is design a necessity of life or a mere adornment? A transit ad for the Design Exchange in Toronto argues the former case in memorable fashion. Still, cynics will come away convinced that rocks are better designed than most products–superior in durability, simplicity and versatility. Toronto’s Axmith McIntyre Wicht created the campaign for the Design Exchange, a nonprofit outfit that promotes and showcases design.
The link between beer and baseball reaches down to the game’s grass roots–even if the grass isn’t uniformly smooth. The microbrewery that makes Bert Grant’s Ale is situated in Washington’s Cascade region, known to beer aficionados as a premier hops-growing area. Thus, a hopcentric campaign is a natural for the brand. The ad shown below runs as an outfield sign in minor-league parks in the Pacific Northwest. Accustomed to the bad hops ground balls often take on farm-team infields, fans will enjoy the double-play entendre. Copacino Creative of Seattle devised the ad.
Wonder why you’re full of affection for corporations? A study by the Association of National Advertisers suggests one reason: Corporate ad budgets jumped 18 percent in 1997. Two-thirds of the companies surveyed ran corporate ads between ’95 and ’97, while 53 percent had done so between ’89 and ’91.nd ’91.