One of the most vivid arithmetic failings displayed by Americans occurred in the early 1980s, when the A&W restaurant chain released a new hamburger to rival the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. With a third-pound of beef, the A&W burger had more meat than the Quarter Pounder; in taste tests, customers preferred A&W’s burger. And it was less expensive. A lavish A&W television and radio marketing campaign cited these benefits. Yet instead of leaping at the great value, customers snubbed it.
Only when the company held customer focus groups did it become clear why. The Third Pounder presented the American public with a test in fractions. And we failed. Misunderstanding the value of one-third, customers believed they were being overcharged. Why, they asked the researchers, should they pay the same amount for a third of a pound of meat as they did for a quarter-pound of meat at McDonald’s. The “4” in “¼,” larger than the “3” in “⅓,” led them astray.
My friend Teddy wrote a great play that will soon be performed two times and two times only in a cave at Griffith Park. The synopsis is below. If you live in LA and are at all interested in independent theater performed in spooky caves, you can and should get tickets here.
CAVE is a site-specific play about a religious zealot who believes he is a prophet receiving messages from God through the chirp of crickets. Heeding the crickets’ warning of a coming apocalypse, he convinces his family they must take refuge in a cave to wait out the end of days. The play will be performed in Griffith Park at the Bronson Caves of legendary Hollywood history, most memorably in its appearances as the Bat-cave in the Batman TV show from the 60s.
I talked to BuzzFeed for this important piece:
Get into the habit of talking to people and asking them questions about their life, and don’t do the thing where you zone out of conversations until it’s your turn to speak — actually listening to people and the world around you is like 35 percent of being a good writer. Don’t surround yourself only with other writers/journalists/media people; self-imposed insularity is the fastest way to smother your creativity. And don’t stress out about ingratiating yourself with The Media Scene. A lot of the parties suck.
And I talked to the New York Times for this important piece:
Mr. Jefferson identified a similar homogeneity at prestigious publications, whose mastheads he said were often dominated by “people whose backgrounds afforded them the opportunity to live in New York City and work for a pittance while they made their way up.” He added, “Our society loses a great many creatives who just can’t afford to create.”
Bud Light once had a whole ad campaign about women being attracted to a dog who wore sunglasses.