Which Of Your Fingers Do You Want Me To Cut Off First?

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Few things about the marketing world raise my blood pressure like bad market research. So a big Congrats! to McCann Research for this week’s contribution to my health problems. According to a release on PRNewswire:

McCann Worldgroup released the findings of The Truth about Youth, a quantitative study of 7000 16-30 year olds conducted in April 2011 across 7 markets. The study examined the motivations of young people around the world and sought to uncover what makes them different from every generation that has come before.

Here are some highlights of the study with my take on them:

1. Technology as a fifth sense. 53% of 16-22 year olds said they would rather give up their sense of smell than give up their technology.

My take: What an incredibly stupid research question. Is giving up your sense of smell — or any other sense or body part, for that matter — really a tradeoff? Is this supposed to indicate how important social media is to Gen Yers? Because let me tell you something: I’d gladly cut your fingers off or poke your eyes out before I’d give up social media. That’s how important technology is to me.

2. Hunting for truth. Asked which values they seek in a best friend, young people globally opted for ‘truthful’, chosen by 42% and rated nearly twice as important as the next most important value (‘genuine’, chosen by 22%). “Truthful” is also the top word young people apply to themselves – with 21% globally choosing this as a personal descriptor.

My take: Let me see if I have this straight. 42% of Gen Yers said being truthful is the most important value they seek in a best friend, but only 21% — half as many — describe themselves as truthful? Not quite living up to their own expectations, are they? Or put another way, not very “genuine”, eh?

3. The Social Economy. McCann Worldgroup’s research found that for young people today it’s increasingly all about the Social Economy; who you connect with and what you share. 47% of the youth globally want to be remembered for their connections.

My take: Really? You want to be remembered for your “connections”? Not your accomplishments and contributions to society? REALLY?

Bottom line: I am sooooo sick and tired of reading this kind of stuff from market research firms trying to capture the “essence” of the “new generation” and how “different” and “transformational” everything is going to be.  Congrats, McCann. You get the Useless Research of the Week award.

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