Truth In Advertising For A Change

I’m sure there are plenty of you reading this that cringe at the thought of answering marketing surveys, giving businesses information about yourself that will let them sell more stuff to you, or at least to people who are like you.

I’m a bit ambivalent about it all, as I’m disinclined to help out most companies that are trying to market to me — I’m the kind of consumer who bases their purchases on sober reflection after thorough research, most of the time. Actively trying to convince me that I need to buy some company’s product that I wouldn’t otherwise even be thinking about buying just gets up my nose most of the time — there are exceptions, when occasionally I learn about a product that I haven’t been aware of that suits some need.

But I still do often fill out the surveys that you’re invited to participate in via a URL printed on the receipt from a store, or that get sent via e-mail after having responded to one of the former — and no, I’m not daft enough to respond to just any old survey invitation that arrives in my Inbox…

It’s the carrot of being entered in a draw that motivates me to respond. That and a slightly perverse sense of satisfaction in knowing that by answering honestly, I’m going to really mess up their demographics… you may have noticed my avatar here is a drawing I made of a square peg in a round hole. ‘Nuff said.

And I actually have won something (a fairly decent prize too, certainly worth the time it took) from filling in one of these surveys — could’ve knocked me over with a feather when it happened.

Anyway, the point of this post is actually a new survey invitation I received in my e-mail, from a company that I’ve responded to before. And usually there will be some statement about how long the survey should take to complete — generally a wildly optimistic i.e. short time, as in “this survey will take approximately 5-8 minutes to complete”.

Riiiight. And monkeys might fly out my butt… Usually about 15-20 minutes in and after 30 to 40 web pages of clicks with seemingly no end in sight, I’m alternately cursing myself (for having been sucked in) and the survey company (for having lied to me about how long it would take).

So when this latest invitation arrived, I nearly fell down ROTFLMAO — at last, a truthful survey invitation! Here’s what it said:

Thank you for taking the time to answer a Leger Marketing survey regarding Healthcare. Your cooperation would be greatly appreciated. This questionnaire should take you about 2400 minutes to fill out.

That’s my emphasis there… Diogenes, I think I’ve found your honest man.

2 Responses to Truth In Advertising For A Change

  1. The Oracle says:

    I laughed out loud at this.

    I was on a website dealing with car purchases, and in the course of clicking around for info about the Corolla, I took a “short” survey about the Toyota.com website.

    I clicked, I looked, I multiple-choiced, I answered between 0-10, I did it at least 3 times, I told them what I thought about their website. And then they wanted me to do it again about something else about the website.

    That’s when I gave up. I originally wanted to know the cost of the car in Cdn $$, and I decided that I didn’t want to know that badly. And I was so angry about the “short” survey, that I started looking at Hondas.

  2. Rob says:

    Ted, the real irony was that when I took the survey, a couple of questions in it asked if I was a smoker or had ever smoked. I answered “No”, and was promptly informed that they had already reached their quota for respondents matching my profile. End of survey, 3 minutes flat or thereabouts… thankfully.

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