McCann Truth Central: What Makes People Tick



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Here at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity, people attend a week of seminars on topics ranging from global branding to mobile marketing. At the same time, ad agencies and media/technology companies host private events for guests, often at hotels overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Global ad agency McCann Erickson last night held such an event, and intriguing it was: We all took an impromptu quiz about people’s views on topics ranging from personal tech to beauty. So, take this quiz and join McCann Truth Central as the team explores what makes people tick, and how marketers can relate to those motivations.The answers are below.

  • More than half of the world’s young people ages 16-22 would prefer to give up their sense of smell instead of their personal technology. In which country is this sentiment the highest—Brazil, China, India Mexico, or the U.S.?
  • What percentage of people around the world google themselves more than once a month: 3%, 5%, 12%, 17%, or 37%?
  • What percentage of people have googled someone they hardly know? 10%, 20%, 33% or 75%?
  • In which country—Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Spain or the U.S.— are women most likely to say, “I constantly am thinking about the way I look?”
  • What percentage of people globally admit that they have looked at text messages belonging to a partner or friend—5%, 10%, or 25%?

So, McCann, why the research?

“McCann has stood for ‘truth well told’ for 100 years,” said Chief Integration Architect Daryl Lee as he welcomed the agency’s guests last night. “McCann Truth Central wants to build on that heritage by uncovering truths about issues such as privacy, youth, beauty and moms.”

Laura Simpson, global director at McCann Truth Central, said she and her team plan their research to help the agency’s clients understand demographic and cultural patterns. They have conducted qualitative and quantitative research in more than 20 countries and held more than 50 focus groups. “For instance, privacy is a huge issue for all our clients,” she said. “There is a very big debate and little data. We wanted to uncover what real people on the street think about privacy so we could fill in the knowledge gaps.”

Laura is most fascinated by differences across countries. She said Indians are far more likely to google themselves than people in other countries because there is a “strong fame culture.” And given the “mommy blogger” phenomenon in the U.S., it’s interesting to note that more Chinese mothers describe themselves as bloggers than moms anywhere else in the world.  That is probably due to Weibo, the Twitter-like platform that is so popular in China. (Twitter is banned in China.) Moms in China are likely considering their Weibo “tweets” to be complete blog posts. And because each Chinese symbol is a word and not merely a letter as in the Roman alphabet, it takes fewer symbols to arrive at a complete thought.

If your interest is piqued, then stay tuned for upcoming studies:

  • Truth about Moms, July
  • Truth About Wellness, September
  • Truth About Aging, November
  • Truth About Celebrity, February 2013 (just in time for the Oscar’s)

You can also follow Truth Central on Twitter @truthcentralHQ.


  1. 1. India
  2. 2. 17%
  3. 3. 33%
  4. 4. China
  5. 5. 25%


Sally O’Dowd is a VP and head of the social media team at DiGennaro Communications, a firm specializing in corporate communications for ad agencies, media-buying concerns and entertainment companies. @digennaro @sallyodowd.

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