Published on: September 26, 2008
Well, here’s perhaps my favorite story of the week.BrandWeek
had a story about a new male demographic group, and one that I don't mind being part of.
According to the story, “it's not exactly news that men have dominated the upper echelons of cuisine. What is new is the broad demographic trend of men not only spending more time in the kitchen, but also using cooking and gastronomy to define themselves—both as men and as consumers.
“According to the study's authors, gastrosexuals, in addition to usually being male, are aged 25-44 and upwardly mobile. Contrary to the popular myth that the limit of men's interest in cooking is limited to the backyard barbecue, the truth is 53% of men report cooking with separate ingredients nearly every day. Cooking is a hobby (as opposed to a chore) for 52% of men, and the amount of time men have spent at the stove has risen fivefold since 1961. Perhaps most surprising: Much of the increasing time that men spend at the stove seems to involve impressing women. In the 18-34 age group (that golden fleece so many marketers quest for), 23% of men said they cook to impress, even seduce, a partner.”
Well, I don't know about this last part. I cook because it’s the only way to get a decent meal around our house…and there isn’t a lot of seduction going on when there are almost always three of us at the table – Mrs. Content Guy, our 14-year-old daughter, and me. (And that doesn’t count Buffett, the lab who stretches out at our feet, and Buddy, the cockatiel chirping in the background.)
But the good news for marketers is that this emerging demographic creates both branding and sales opportunities. These gastrosexuals not only are interested in cooking, but also in shopping for the foods that they are going to prepare, and for the equipment that they will use while in the kitchen.
I can relate to this. Some guys like to go to Home Depot, but I have to admit to finding Sur La Table more my kind of store. To be honest, if more food stores could capture the magic of places like Sur La Table, they’d be generating a lot more sales and creating a lot more engaged shoppers.
The friend of mine who sent me the Brand Week
article happens to be a fellow gastrosexual (it is weird even writing that phrase) with whom I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen – when he and his wife come over for dinner, the women hang out in the living room, talk and drink wine, while we do all the cooking. As he noted, “Imagine being part of a ‘growing trend’! And at our age! (Actually, being ‘sexual’ anything sounds pretty good at our age…)”
Which made me reread the article, and realize that we are not, in fact, gastrosexuals.
We’re too old.
The story says that the demographic is aged 25-44, which makes me a decade past my gastrosexual prime.
Mrs. Content Guy will probably have a joke about that…
I scan something like 20 newspapers every day as I research MNB
, and every once in a while a headline just leaps out at me, either grabbing my attention or just making me laugh. In this case, the headline in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“FAA SUSPENDS SLEEPING AIRLINE PILOTS”
Upon reading the story, what really amazed me was that while the story only broke this week, the pilots committed their infraction back in February when flying for Go Airlines in Hawaii, and the story only got into the papers after their suspensions had been completed.
That doesn’t mean that the two pilots are back in the air. Both were fired, which seems entirely appropriate to me, and one of them was diagnosed with sleep apnea.
But I have to wonder why these guys didn’t have their pilots’ licenses taken away from them. Because while I hate the idea of losing their livelihoods, I spend enough time in the air that I think keeping these guys out of the cockpit seems like a good idea.
Maybe that’s just me.
Just to be fair… I mentioned last week that I was impressed by the fact that in all of Walmart’s new grocery-oriented TV commercials, the shopper is shown using a canvas bag…which impressed me because it demonstrates a real consistency of message.
But I noticed this week that in a TV commercial for Stop & Shop, the customer in the ad also was using a canvas bag.
And I thought it worth mentioning, especially because I don't often find good things to say about Stop & Shop. In this case, they got it right.
I think I’m probably like a lot of other Americans when I say that I have no idea whether the financial bailout being urged in the halls of Congress is a good idea. On the one hand, if the goal is to rescue financial institutions that made series of bad bets, then it doesn’t seem so necessary. But if the ultimate goal – as expressed by James Cramer – is to assure that people don't lose their houses, then it strikes me as a worthy objective.
I do know this. When people in the Administration use words like “Armageddon” and “depression,” I get very, very nervous.
The New York Times
had a story this week about how Cadbury-owned Dentyne chewing gum has a new ad campaign urging people to “power down, log off, unplug,” and “make face time,” which presumably is more pleasant if the person with whom you are sharing face time has chewed the gum.
But I think they miss the point.
You see, the young people who no doubt are being targeted by Dentyne are capable of checking their email, having a cell phone conversation, texting a friend and talking to a real live person simultaneously…and, by the way, they’re also capable of chewing gum at the same time.
The Mets are making me crazy. Just when I think they’re going to collapse again, they win in the 9th inning. Are they prolonging the agony? Or refusing by force of will, despite injuries and gaping holes in the lineup and bullpen, to go quietly into the offseason?
Not sure it matters. Just as baseball, in the words of the great Robert B. Parker, is the most important thing in the world that doesn’t matter.
It won’t open in theatres across the United States for another couple of weeks, but I want to recommend to you the new western, “Appaloosa,” which continues the re-emergence of the western that has seen such recent releases as “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” and the remake of “3:10 To Yuma.”
I was an enormous fan of the latter film, featuring as it did wonderful performances by Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, and while it has a completely different tone and pace, I like “Appaloosa” every bit as much. (I was a little less enamored of “Jesse James,” despite some extraordinary work by Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, mostly because it seemed to be self-conscious about its artistic aspirations. But it is still an ambitious piece of moviemaking, worth renting when you get a chance.)
From the moment it begins, with the sound of galloping hoof beats, and the camera pans across the majestic, John Ford-like landscape of the American west, “Appaloosa” makes immediately clear what it is – a western in the classic mode, examining classic conflicts and archetypes. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen star as Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, two gunmen who essentially work as lawmen for hire in towns that require their services. They find themselves in the frontier town of Appaloosa, where an evil landowner named Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons, in snarling, mustache-twirling glory) killed their predecessors and is riding roughshod over the town and its residents.
It gets complicated when a woman named Allison French (Renee Zellweger) comes to town and Cole finds himself besotted, and then finds that she isn’t exactly what he’s used to…and Hitch finds himself part of a very complicated triangle. (Zellweger isn’t my favorite actress … I would have preferred the luminous Diane Lane in the part … but Zellweger does fine.)
“Appaloosa” is based on the novel by mystery writer Robert B. Parker, and Harris – who not only directed the film but also co-wrote it – stays very close to the text. He’s like the sculptor who said that he created a work of art by simply taking a block of granite and getting rid of whatever didn’t belong. This is a good thing in “Appaloosa,” because it means that Parker’s snappy dialogue and guy-repartee is pretty much intact. It also at its heart is a meditation on friendship and loyalty – always a specialty of Parker’s, as seen in the Spenser-Hawk relationship that he’s been exploring in almost yearly novels since 1976.
(I’m a longtime fan. See:
I’ve always felt that Parker’s Spenser novels, and especially his Jesse Stone novels are essentially westerns transplanted to a New England locale – they’ve got good guys trying to bring justice and peace to towns or cities that need a lawman with an ethical and moral compass. The movie “Appaloosa” won’t disappoint, I think, especially if you love the genre, the classic construction, and especially the sound of thundering hoof beats.
I have a delicious red wine for you to try this week – the 2007 Domaine Roger Sabon Cote de Rhone, a fabulous and yummy wine from France that is dry and smooth and just about perfect. Can’t recommend it enough. Enjoy.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend.
Sláinte!! And Let’s Go Mets!