Gyms, spas stress value of fighting stress in hard times

The economy was a hot topic this month at the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery convention in Orlando, says Jeanine Downie, director of Image Dermatology in Montclair, N.J.

What some docs are doing:

•Image Dermatology hosted a successful "Boootox" Halloween special with discounted injections. Now Downie is looking at a Thanksgiving event. "I'm going to say something like, 'Don't let wrinkles gobble up your face.' "

•On Nov. 1, Scottsdale, Ariz., dermatologist Susan Van Dyke hosted a Botox for Beginners event with free consultations, samples of skin care products and deep Botox discounts. "The economy is hitting everybody," she says.

•Beverly Hills facial plastic surgeon Behrooz Torkian now hosts a Beauty Day on Fridays that includes discounts on Botox and other services, says his office director Marcy Parco.

Beauty Day clients get extra pampering such as hand massages, makeup tips and free skin care samples. Many people now can't afford long family vacations or a "girls' weekend" at a spa, so these Beauty Days — where customers can spend $500 to $800 for a bundle of treatments — are a way to "feel good" in the downturn, she says.

It's also good for business: "It was a creative way to get the ladies in here," she says.

Natural cutbacks

Organic goods — once a pot of gold in the grocery world — may get dusty on store shelves as consumers slice their shopping budgets, says a new report from research company Mintel. "To cope with higher prices, many shoppers are simply opting not to buy pricey organic or premium brands," says Mintel senior analyst Marcia Mogelonsky. The market for organic foods and beverages still will hit $7.2 billion this year, Mintel says, a rise of more than 140% from 2003. Yet, Mintel says year-over-year growth has slowed, and the grim economy is likely to further suppress growth.

Good press

Come June, a new awards category will be added to Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival: public relations. Awards in that arena will honor "the creative use of reputation management," according to festival organizers. Tim Bell, chairman of London-based PR and marketing firm Chime Communications, will preside over the PR jury. For the 2008 edition of the industry's biggest global awards show, there were more than 28,000 entries in the existing 10 awards categories, which include film, cyber, design and radio.

Private matters

Here's a picture that Sonic Drive-In surely wishes it were not part of: A manager of an Oklahoma City Sonic was arrested for allegedly videotaping female employees in the restroom. An employee discovered the camera — after it fell on her head. Police later arrested manager Timothy Billings, who was fired.

"This is a very unfortunate incident," says Sonic spokeswoman Nancy Robertson. "We're confident it was an isolated incident."

Side note to customers of the Oklahoma City outpost: Put aside any concern about being caught on video. That location has no public bathrooms.

Guess he inhaled

There's a new superhero in town: Smokerman. The character is a hero who — due to his cough from smoking — can't quite keep up with the other superheroes. He appears in new anti-smoking TV spots for the Utah Department of Health, created by Crowell Advertising.

Whether he's trying to save trains from crossing broken bridges, rescue people drowning in a kitchen sink or disarm pretend bombs, he keeps losing his breath and missing his chance to save the day.

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