Inside the Advertising Industry


Results of the Ad Age Pop Culture Poll

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CHICAGO ( -- Personal digital assistant won top billing as the most-coveted tech tool in Advertising Age's
Advertising industry heavies are very fond of PDAs, cell phones and Macintosh G4 laptops.
Pop Culture Survey, a poll of advertising professionals conducted on last month. The survey queried more than 300 agency executives and marketers on topics ranging from indispensable tech tools to trendy fashion and food.

Some 20.9% of respondents named their PDA as the tech tool they couldn't part with, while 16.8% said their cellular phone was more important. In addition to Palm Pilots, people named Visor Edges from Handspring and iPaqs from Compaq Computer Corp.

Other tech toys included Research in Motion's BlackBerry; Handspring's Treo; laptops with fast Internet hookups; Apple Computer's iPod and iBook; TiVo; and a Sony Microportable projector.

30% use Mac G4s
Apple's Power Mac G4 won as the favorite tech tool of creatives, with almost 30% of respondents voting for it. This group was particularly passionate about their tech toys. One 25-year-old male creative crooned about his cell phone -- "a cool small one with thousands of ringing tones, like the A-Team theme song" -- while another quipped that he relied on "E-books, the delete button and my brain."

Meanwhile, a handful remained steadfastly low-tech. A 25-year-old from Philadelphia named a "yellow legal pad" as his tool of choice: "All that

Armani fashions, Vanilla Coke and chocolate are also favorites of the advertising crowd.
high-tech crap costs too much for my lowly copywriter salary."

Geographic reach
More New Yorkers filled out this survey than any other city dwellers, but it also drew heavily from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and Minneapolis. Smaller markets voiced their opinions from places such as Chattanooga, Tenn.; Mason City, Iowa; and Lansing, Mich. From outside the U.S., responses came from locales as varied as Bucharest, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo.

Aside from the standard advertising trade publications, reading material ran the gamut from Maxim, Shape and New York Magazine to Brain Surgery for Suits: 56 Things Every Account Person Should Know, by Robert Solomon, and The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell.

When asked to name their favorite snack food, survey respondents revealed a host of chocoholics. Some 14.3% of all respondents named chocolate alone or as an ingredient in a favorite snack. Meanwhile, 10% opted for fresh fruit or vegetables. The rest of the choices spanned the food pyramid: ice cream, pretzels, cheese, sunflower seeds and beef jerky, to name a few. "Anything the media department gets for free," confessed one media executive.

Vanilla Coke
When it came to sampling new packaged goods and grocery products, Vanilla Coke topped the list, with 7.7% of

respondents saying they had tried it. Soy products were also high on the list, with 6% of people saying they had sampled a soy product, ranging from Soy Crisps and soy milk to miso dressing and soy cheese. Sharing top billing were Crest Whitestrips, Naked Food-Juice, Swiffer and Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. Overall there seemed to be a split between trials of healthy and/or organic products and convenience products.

The commentary was all over: "Spider-Man Pop-Tarts MMM-Spidey-licious"; "tofu steaks (yuk) and Altoid lemon sours"; "tortilla chips in the shape of Texas"; "colored ketchup -- thumbs down"; "Naked fruit juice, 'I'm in love'"; and "Baked Doritos (yummmmm) chocolate soy milk (heaven) and organic soy cheese slices (good!)"

Fashion labels
When asked which fashion label they aspired to wear, Armani (8%) was the clear winner, followed by Ralph Lauren (6.1%) and Prada (5.6%). Other top brands included BCBG, Dana Buchman and Kenneth Cole. However, not everyone in advertising is eyeing to expand his or her wardrobe. Many replied that it didn't matter, or as one 27-year-old account exec from Dallas put it, "I'm not a slave to labels."

Perhaps one New York account exec best summed up fashion in light of the past year's events: "Already wear too much Prada and Helmut Lang; will most likely be trading down if this recession keeps up much longer."

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