See Dick and Jane Sleep, Work, Watch and Buy

Discussion
May 03, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

According to the greeting card wisdom of the good folks at Hallmark, we know a few things about dads. Among these insights is the knowledge “that naps can happen almost anywhere.”

Based on numbers from the American Time Use Survey put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dads are not the only ones who know the simple pleasure of gazing up at the inside of their eyelids. Americans, on average, spend more time sleeping than engaged in any other activity.

The average person living in the U.S.A. spends 8.6 hours a day sleeping. Even during the week, Americans are getting more than their eight hours of beauty rest but where the waking-challenged really excel is on weekends where we send nine hours sleeping on Saturday and 9.6 hours making Sunday a day of rest.

It appears as though Americans need their sleep to help recoup from all the time spent working. Women spend seven hours a day on average working to bring home an income and then spend more than four times as much of their free time doing chores around the house. Men work about an hour more a day than their female counterparts and then go home to, as the numbers point out, do something other than household chores.

Perhaps, men are actively engaged in the important activity of television watching. According to the government, watching TV is the only thing Americans spend more time doing than sleeping or working.

Taken as a whole, Americans spend 11 percent of their time with eyes focused straight ahead on whatever is being broadcast into their home. As would be expected, those with the most time on their hands, the young, spend more time plopped in front of the tube than those working adults who pay the cable or satellite television bill every month.

With so much time spent sleeping, working and watching television there is little time for other pursuits such as reading. Again, age has a bearing with older Americans reading more (doesn’t count time spent on the Internet) than kids and young adults.

The government’s numbers are supported by the recent announcement by the Newspaper Association of America, which reported that paid circulation for major U.S. dailies was down 1.9 percent as of March.

One thing Americans do find time to do is shop. On the average day, 40 percent of Americans go shopping. Saturday is the day devoted most to shopping with the average consumer spending 42 minutes in pursuit of whatever. Women spend about twice the time men spend shopping.

Moderator’s Comment: Considering how Americans are spending their time, do retailers need to alter their advertising strategy? Are there any companies
that have made course corrections that illustrate how to respond to market events and/or consumer behavior in a way to more effectively drive sales?


A piece on this topic by Ad Age “why many retailers are fixated on Sunday newspapers, arriving after the big shopping day”, which research indicates is
Saturday.


As for course corrections, the most recent and obviously successful example was Wal-Mart’s reaction to its bad start over the Black Friday weekend during
the last holiday season. The company changed its media mix and focused on highlighting items with very low prices to overcome an early momentum gained by competitors.

George Anderson – Moderator

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6 Comments on "See Dick and Jane Sleep, Work, Watch and Buy"


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Jeff Weitzman
Guest
Jeff Weitzman
15 years 9 months ago
I’m not sure I read this right, but you’ve got both sleeping and TV watching being the #1 activity. Actually, I believe neither is correct: being awake should be the #1 activity. I jest, of course, but statistics are like that, are they not? As for the insight that people shop on Saturday and most CPG coupons are distributed on Sunday, well, that is something I can relate to. In my business of distributing coupons via the Internet, Thursday and Friday are the big days, which fits the model quite nicely. When coupons are delivered on demand like that, people check them while they are making their shopping lists. Time use studies are one example of how advertisers can do a better job of “modal” advertising. Instead of relying only on demographics, try to find consumers that are engaged in an activity that makes them receptive to your message. So present coupons to consumers when they are likely to be thinking about their shopping lists, or present travel advertising when someone is checking the weather… Read more »
George Anderson
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

As I understand it, sleep nudges out work by .6 hours a day. I’m not sure if the hours spent watching television were included in either the sleeping or working figure.

Art Williams
Guest
Art Williams
15 years 9 months ago

I feel advertisers are doing a pretty effective job in general in regard to the types and timing of their media buys. Where many of them fail, though, is in making their ads memorable and actionable. So often I see an ad and try to describe it to my wife and can’t remember what it was they were advertising. The ad was either funny or thought provoking, but the item being advertised was lost in the shuffle. I can usually recall what type of product it was, but not the brand name. How can that be effective?

Executing an effective advertising strategy or campaign has never been easy and it is made even harder by now having to decide on Internet choices. But the basic principles of understanding your target audience and selling the unique benefits of your product haven’t changed and likely won’t anytime soon.

Karen Kingsley
Guest
Karen Kingsley
15 years 9 months ago
Well, obviously, the most coveted medium for advertising is the inside of people’s eyelids, but technology hasn’t mastered that challenge just yet. Media purchasing habits are too often slow to change, because, even in these fast-moving times, people are slow to change. As an advertising person, I would be retired if I’d been paid for every time someone said the equivalent of, “but we always do it that way.” We complain about advertising’s use of RFID, but it may be the most effective way to catch people as they’re considering purchase. Informally, I believe many more people are shopping on lunch hours and on their way home from work than was done previously. Some marketers effectively reach them online with recipes and information so they can just pick up what they need after work – inspired by the pop-up or sidebar on home pages. If someone’s cell phone delivers a message as they’re walking by The Gap – or wherever – I’ve caught them when it’s convenient to them. Now, before you all yell at… Read more »
Ann Mazure
Guest
Ann Mazure
15 years 9 months ago

The comment … Ad Age “why many retailers are fixated on Sunday newspapers, arriving after the big shopping day” suggests the Sunday circular is not well timed if Saturday’s the big day.

To the contrary, readership research on the weekly ad indicates there is a whole process involved. From a consumer’s perspective, it may be just as well that going through all the inserts is an event in and of itself. People actually allocate a portion of their day with the stack to plan shopping/start a list. Plus, they keep their choice ads for four days on average.

Follows then that Sunday might be just the perfect day for newspapers to carry retail inserts (aside from grocery).

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

Aw, come on, guys. Are you seriously saying no one has yet figured out a way to advertise subliminally? As someone who can rarely get through a whole day without a little catnap, I usually wake up totally shocked at the blackness from which I’m emerging. The fact that I have been so completely oblivious to my surroundings, no matter what they were, for as little as 5 – -10 minutes astounds me. What a waste. What an opportunity.

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