Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, May 01, 2021

During the course of the day last Friday, I somehow ended up with an obscene amount of spare change. It was the result of several small purchases: A bagel here, lunch there, magazine here, newspaper there.

I’m still getting somewhat adjusted to not only carrying a fair amount of cash on a regular basis, but also to actually using it daily. In Florida, I had gotten used to going days in a row with nothing in my pocket but plastic; it’s more convenient, especially in speed of transactions. But in New York, so much of the City’s economy is essentially cash-based: Kiosks, newsstands and small stores often don’t take credit/debit cards, or else there’s such a crowd that it’s just easier to go with the green.

That doesn’t mean I actually want to count out the coinage. And so, I just about always just hand over a couple of singles, or a five/ten/twenty, and keep it moving along. Even if I have coins jangling in my pocket, I’d rather add to them than fish around for exact change.

To see just how much financial residue I wind up with from this behavior, I’ve decided to run a tally on my daily out-of-pocket spending. Starting today, I’m going to toss the coin-based change I get from every cash purchase into my attache bag (please, don’t call it a man-purse). At the end of the day this Friday — i.e., an average workweek — I’ll empty out the bag, and count out how much money I’ve accumulated.

What will this prove? I dunno. I’m not going to spend any more or any less than I usually do. I’m not going to stop using the plastic when it’s an option. I guess I want to see just how much that “incidental” (in my mind) money comes to over time.

Let the nickel-and-diming begin…

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 05/01/2021 11:44:33 PM
Category: General | Permalink | Feedback (3)

Yes, I know you’re tired of seeing semi-naked women enticing you to crack open a beer. Miller Brewing feels your pain, and so is rolling out “Man Laws”, a series of ads featuring celebrity menfolk pondering what’s in and what’s out in testosterone-land:

The commercials revolve around group discussions starring men who Miller says “have defined in their own way what manhood is all about.” Among others, they are the former National Football League star Jerome Bettis; the World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler Triple H; Aron Ralston, the rock climber who cut off part of his arm after being pinned under a boulder; and the discussion group’s leader, the actor Burt Reynolds.

“They are true men,” said Erv Frederick, the vice president for marketing at Miller Brewing, owned by SABMiller. “They all have a lot of substance, and they have their own unique personal style.”

In the ads, the actors are assembled around a large square table, sitting before beer bottles and solemnly debating “Man Laws,” the rules by which men should ideally govern themselves. When toasting, should one clink tops or bottoms? (Answer: bottoms.) Is the high-five officially played out? (Yes.) How long must a man wait before dating his buddy’s ex-girlfriend? (Six months.)…

Mr. Frederick said that the company “wanted to move beyond that stereotype of men as sophomoric” or as “the lowest common denominator.”

Call me crazy, but it occurs to me that sitting around a table, swilling piss-water and analyzing the merits of a hand-slapping greeting is… Well, the epitome of sophomoricism. (Feel free to deduct man points from me now — as I watch my hockey game.)

I guess Miller is shooting for a similar male-bonding dynamic achieved by Levi Co., when it rolled out those iconic Dockers TV spots some 15 years ago. Those conveyed a casual, faux-unscripted, almost un-commercial feel that got audiences to chattering.

I can’t believe this concept is being played straight. It sounds to me a lot like the setting for sarcastic/goofy “experts” forum, with a now-self-parodying Burt Reynolds holding court. I think there’s a chance that, if the early reaction is flat and Miller somehow wants to hang onto this campaign, that agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky will retool it exactly that way.

At least there’ll be a predictable — and eye-pleasing — conclusion to this:

David H. Jernigan, the executive director at the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University in Washington, said that when the beer industry promised to reform itself, the old commercials usually came back again.

“This is the same thing we’ve heard after the Swedish bikini ad in 1991,” Mr. Jernigan said, referring to an ad for Old Milwaukee beer that drew some criticism.

As usual, it all comes back to the bikini…

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 05/01/2021 11:24:40 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg. | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Common sense tells you that growing your own food will save you a little money over paying grocery store prices.

Unless you’re an upper-class professional, playing at being a farmer-wannabe, and thus can’t plot out a simple vegetable patch for less than $16 grand. That, plus bad weather, bad soil, and a pesky pilfering groundhog named Superchunk, resulted in William Alexander producing a sorry yield of Brandywine tomatoes at the financial/resource equivalent of $64 per fruit.

On the positive tip, he did write a book about the folly.

To me, this is a great example of how you play down to your affluence. Alexander had far too much play money at his disposal, so rather than take a sensible low-maintenance approach, he over-engineered the whole show. It’s like it’s not a worthwhile hobby unless you throw money at it. Most people would buy some seeds, till a little dirt, set up a cheap fence, and leave it at that; and they’d probably be far more successful. Granted, economies of scale make buying processed/pre-picked food more cost-effective, but this was obviously an extreme example.

Then again, I hate tomatoes. So what do I know?

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 05/01/2021 10:53:10 PM
Category: Publishing, Food, Society | Permalink | Feedback