Economy: Corporate America, Gen X, LA Real Estate

After hitting rock bottom during the height of greed, bailouts, and the economic crisis in 2008, the American public’s perceptions of the reputation of corporate America seem to be bouncing back, according to the findings of the 2009 Harris Interactive RQ Study. The percentage of respondents to the study, which measures the reputations of the 60 most visible companies in the US (as determined by Harris Interactive research), who see the state of reputation as “not good” or “terrible” decreased from 88% in 2008 to 81% in 2009. In addition, there was a 50% increase in the number of Americans who said that the state of reputation is “good,” moving from 12% to 18%. This is the first positive improvement in four years.
As a result of recession-shrunk Baby Boomer household wealth, Generations X and Y will fuel the shopping growth needed to spur an economic recovery, according to [pdf] a new study from PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Kantar Retail.GenX in Big Shopping Stage. Baby Boomers (ages 46-64) were largely responsible for the retail spending that fueled the recoveries from the economic recessions of the early 1990s and turn of the century. However, they have now matured to a point where they need to recoup wealth lost during the recession of the past few years in order to save and invest for the future. Therefore, even though Gen X (ages 29-45) is only about 75% the size of the Baby Boom generation, it is one of two demographic age groups that will increase retail spending in the near future. Seventy-one percent of Gen X members have children under the age of 18, and Gen Xers are entering their peak earning years.
Emi Fontana has filled vacant retail stores with art installations, and even used an empty modern house high in the hills above Pasadena to install a site-specific installation by Olafur Eliasson. In L.A.’s Chinatown, Wendy Yao sells a collection of zines, handmade jewelry and records out of a miniscule strip mall, which has led to a variety of unusual temporary venues. Nearby, Mark Allen uses his small storefront as a place for identifying (and eating) edible insects, holding welding classes and orchestrating temporary takeovers of entire museums.
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Demographics: No such thing as Average American (but Boomers aren’t happy)

The 2010 Census is expected to find that 309 million people live in the United States. But one person will be missing: the average American. “The concept of an ‘average American’ is gone, probably forever,” demographics expert Peter Francese writes in 2010 America, a new Ad Age white paper. “The average American has been replaced by a complex, multidimensional society that defies simplistic labeling.” The message to marketers is clear: No single demographic, or even handful of demographics, neatly defines the nation. There is no such thing as “the American consumer.”
1950 american family
Young adults in their late teens and early 20s report the highest levels of happiness among all Americans, while their counterparts in their 50s and 80s are the least content, according an analysis of more than 600,000 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index interviews from 2008 and 2009. The research, which examined study participants’ answers to a series of questions about how often the feel happy, experience enjoyment, smile and laugh, found that while highest in early adulthood, happiness drops among Americans in their 30s and 40s, and – in particular – among those in their 50s. It then rises among Americans in their 60s, drops among those in their late 70s and 80s, and then rises again among those older than 90.
Possibly related:

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs Hot (
Tall people are happy (
Study finds people residing in poor communities not benefiting from recent drop in colorectal cancer (
Women, Boomers, and Growing a Careforce Through Healthcare Reform (

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Burger King’s Football Sponsorship

At first glance, Getafe’s new football kit is seemingly normal, even dull…
But Burger King’s sponsorship deal isn’t limited to just the front of the shirt…the Burger King himself makes an impressive appearance in this great bit of branding that demonstrate’s an understanding of Football culture…
Thanks to Nicola
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A Peek at the Real-Life Ad Campaigns Depicted on ‘Mad Men’”
With the new season of Mad Men here, Fast Company started reminiscing about the ad campaigns that Don Draper and his creatives worked on during the past two seasons. Sterling Cooper has devised ads and identities for such well-known brands as Kodak, Lucky Strike, and Playtex. The campaigns and pitch proposals vividly evoke the early 1960s and serve as key plot points. But what really happened to those brands and those campaigns back in the day? When did real life trump Mad Men? Read their article and find out.

classic ads

WebUrbanist also features a comprehensive collection of the product of the Golden Age of Advertising – beginning in the 50’s, a bit before the 60’s hey day that Mad Men takes place in – and highlights some of the key historical incidents that affected consumers’ psyche and attitudes towards brands and consumption of consumer goods during the time. A fascinating look at what captured Amercians’ hearts and minds back then – and a great contrast to the more sophisticated, two-way dialogue that brands need to have with more desensitized consumers now. Or would a return to some of these simpler, aspirational images and messages manage to inspire us and break through the clutter today?
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Brands v Obama

  • This Friday Pepsi brand ambassadors will be roaming the streets of Washington handing out samples and branded badges and scarves bearing various “Obamaisms” like “hope” and “change”.
  • Ikea has installed its own version of the Oval Office inside Washington’s Grand Union Station. The installation matches the look of the room but uses Ikea furniture.
  • Quaker Oats is supplying oatmeal to 11 bloggers’ parties to promote a campaign to feed 1m low income families.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts has launched a limited edition “Stars and Stripes” donut for the week of the inauguration.
  • Shopping TV network QVC is broadcasting during an inauguration ball hosted by actors’ political group the Creative Coalition. This event is also sponsored by Pepsi. QVC will also sell memorabilia including Obama and Martin Luther King commemorative coins ($20) and a “Presidential” pocket watch ($90).


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