Those Medical Mishaps, Automotive Faves, Etc.

When Americans grouse about healthcare, it’s usually about price rather than quality. Still, a remarkable number of them have personal reason to view the system as accident-prone. In a survey supported by The Commonwealth Fund, 34 percent of adults said they’ve been subjected to at least one of the following sorts of error: “they experienced a medical mistake in treatment or care, were given the wrong medication or dose, were given incorrect test results, or experienced delays in receiving abnormal test results.” Apart from that, everything was perfect!

It keeps them off the streets, anyway. A Pew Internet & American Life Project poll of kids age 12-17 finds them busily creating online content. Nineteen percent of online kids in this age cohort keep a blog; 22 percent keep a personal webpage. Nineteen percent say “they remix content they find online into their own artistic creations.” Teen girls have an above-average propensity for blogging: 25 percent of online girls age 15-17 keep a blog, vs. 15 percent of boys. Of course, this interest in creating Web content does not preclude their poaching on the content of others. Thus, 30 percent of online 12-17s have used peer-to-peer services to download music. They’re not exclusively free-loaders, though, as the same percentage have used legit music services like iTunes to download music files.

The physical health of old folks is the focal point of much high-stakes public policy in the U.S. Less attention is paid to their emotional well-being. Yet, a University of Michigan survey of Americans age 70-plus finds elderly folks tend to be a lonely crowd. Twenty-two percent said they’re “emotionally lonely, feeling alone, left out and lacking in close companionship.” Sixteen percent termed themselves “socially lonely, feeling that they had no one to talk to or turn to and that they really didn’t belong to any group.” Nineteen percent fell into the “isolated” category, “experiencing both social and emotional loneliness.” Having a large social network doesn’t necessarily help matters. “In fact, emotionally lonely people with large social networks—those who were lonely in a crowd—were slightly more depressed and less satisfied with their lives than similarly lonely people with small social networks.”

“Global warming” is an invincible brand name. In a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, 77 percent of respondents said they believe global warming really exists. This far exceeds the number who agreed that “summers have been hotter recently compared to when you were growing up” (51 percent) or that recent winters have been warmer than those of their youth (57 percent).

The old “Accept no substitute” theme still has some life in it, judging by an ad for Seattle-based Recreational Equipment Inc. REI supplies outdoorsy types with the gear they need for their excursions. Folks of that ilk won’t accept a fake-snow-sprayed fake tree as a substitute for real nature, and (the ad implies) they shouldn’t settle for a lesser substitute for REI, either. (And yet, it doesn’t quite seem like Christmas until you see the season’s first fake snow, does it?) Copacino + Fujikado of Seattle created the ad.

When teenagers misbehave, is it because they feel there’s no risk of divine retribution? Not to judge by Harris Interactive polling of kids age 13-18. Fifty-one percent subscribed to the statement, “I know God really exists and I have no doubts about it.” Nineteen percent have doubts but are inclined to believe in God. Just 5 percent said flat out, “I don’t believe in God.” Forty percent of the teens said they pray every day; 67 percent said they do so at least once a week. While 68 percent said their religious views are similar to their parents’, this doesn’t necessarily mean the kids take the matter as seriously: 38 percent said they are less religious than their parents, vs. 14 percent saying they’re more religious. Even so, the 28 percent who think religion has too much influence in this country are outnumbered by the 43 percent who think it has too little influence.

What make of car would you most like to own? The votes were widely scattered in a Zogby International poll on the topic, with Toyota (picked by 9 percent) leading the pack. BMW and Mercedes Benz were close behind (7 percent each), followed by Lexus (a shade under 7 percent) and Honda (6 percent). You might be thinking at this point, “Gee, aren’t there still a few American-based companies that manufacture cars?” Yes, but not companies whose products consumers are so eager to own, evidently. Ford scored the best of the U.S. automakers, with 5 percent of the vote. “Individual GM brands trailed farther behind, and even when combined could not overtake the combined Toyota and Lexus numbers.” Toyota was tops among women; among men, it ranked just behind BMW and Mercedes. BMW led the field among respondents under age 30, with 13 percent of the tally.

In simpler times, holiday travel meant going to a relative’s house and sleeping on a rollaway bed. Now, according to a survey conducted for American Express by International Communications Research, just a slim majority of holiday travelers (55 percent) will stay with relatives or friends. Thirty-eight percent will stay at a hotel, motel or resort, 6 percent at a time-share property, 2 percent at a rental home and 2 percent at a bed-and-breakfast. While most holiday travelers won’t venture beyond the continental U.S., 6 percent will go to the Caribbean, 3 percent to Hawaii and 3 percent to Europe.

This week’s honors for Best Haircut in a Print Ad go to the French poodle who’s impersonating (or is it imdoginating?) a Swiss Saint Bernard in the National Ski Patrol ad (below). It seems that Chamonix, France, is the venue this winter for a conference of ski-patrol types, and the organization wants to promote a big turnout. Lest readers be leery of skiing so far from home, the visual assures them that a rescuer (complete with single-serve brandy keg) will be ready to assist them if need be. The ad’s closing exhortation: “So act now. Or we’ll send Francois the Wonder Dog out to find you.” Cultivator Advertising & Design of Denver created the ad.