What Qualifies As Old, Gimme More Beef, Etc.

As baby boomers move en masse into their declining years, need we be surprised that the threshold for being considered old keeps getting higher? In a MetLife Mature Market Institute poll fielded by Zogby International, 60 percent of adults said “old” begins at age 71. Predictably, young respondents had stricter ideas: 59 percent of the 18-24-year-olds judged that oldness kicks in when a person turns 60. Twenty-two percent of men, vs. just 8 percent of women, said old begins before 60. Since men have a shorter average life expectancy than women, perhaps they feel the need to get a head start on being old.

This may come as a surprise to NASA, but 55 percent of Americans believe a human will walk on Mars within the next 25 years. The same Rasmussen Reports poll that made this discovery also found 71 percent of Americans think humans will return to the moon within 25 years. They aren’t quite ready to buy real estate in space, though. Asked whether they think human colonies will be established on other planets within the next 100 years, a majority said it’s either “not very likely” (32 percent) or “not at all likely” (24 percent).

So much for the herd mentality. The confirmation earlier this summer of a second mad-cow case in the U.S. hasn’t stampeded Americans into worrying about the disease. In polling by The NPD Group following the government’s mad-cow announcement, 22 percent of respondents said they’re very worried about it, up just a bit from the 19 percent saying so in a poll conducted in the spring. While 12 percent said they plan to eat less steak in the next month, a hearty 13 percent intend to eat more(!). As it is, 89 percent of respondents said they eat steak often.

Who knew a thin crust was the way to a girl’s heart? Actually, the lead character of a spot for MacKenzie River Pizza did. The young fellow tells us that he toils at one of the Montana chain’s outlets, and that he put this to advantage when he began dating one of the local lovelies. Where unimaginative rivals might send flowers, our hero won her affections by bringing over the pizzeria’s thin-crust pizzas and sliding them neatly under her door. Just so we know this ploy wouldn’t work with any old pizza, the spot shows someone failing to get a fat-crust pizza under a door. Mercury Advertising of Bozeman, Mont., created the commercial.

Kids must feel as if summer vacation has scarcely begun. To marketers, though, we’re in the thick of the back-to-school season. A poll conducted for The Macerich Co. by August Partners finds U.S. households planning to spend an average of $770 this year on back-to-school purchases—25 percent more than last year’s figure. Clothing and accessories will account for an average of $421 of these outlays, with the rest going for electronics and other school-related supplies. Mall department stores are the most popular spots for such shopping.