Tag Archives: holiday

6 Lies About St. Patrick’s Day You Foolishly Believe

Group celebrating St. Patrick's Day in leprechaun costumes


Perception is reality, but often both perception and reality are not based on fact. Thomas Edison did not invent the lightbulb and eight glasses of water a day are not necessary for good health. The Big Bang Theory is not funny.

This St. Patrick’s Day there will usher merriment, but also a plentitude of wrong facts. We’ll get to these commonly-believed myths quickly and briefly. We know your email or social media feed is being bombarded by an avalanche of St. Patrick articles from Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post and that annoying cousin who has to share everything with you.

The truth might not be pretty, but as someone with Irish heritage, it’s never an excuse miss out on the day’s merriment (even if they’re fictional).


St. Patrick was Irish



He was actually born in either Wales or Scotland, in the 4th century, from a wealthy family who for some reason never invested in maps or GPS. In those days, the Romans occupied the British Isles. Therefore, St. Patrick was probably a Roman, although no records exist naming him a citizen of the empire. He wrote in Latin, according to the two surviving documents bearing his name, and signed his name Patricius.

Hey, when it Rome can mean have a green beer!


Green is the national color of Ireland



Traditionally, it’s blue, something like a sky blue. It seems green became culturally adopted in the 20th century mainly because of soccer. It’s a bit more complicated, and wearing blue on St. Patrick’s Day probably won’t save you from being pinched.

It’s Paddy and not Patty. Patty is short for “Patricia.” Paddy is short for the Irish male name deriving from the Latin Patricius, which is Patrick as we just saw. In any event, Paddy in many contexts is considered a racial slur. Only the Irish can use the “P” word freely.

Oh, and please no ordering Irish Car Bombs at bars this year, while we’re on the topic of political correctness.


St. Patrick was a Saint



I’m not saying I’ve got TMZ information on St. Patrick’s weekend adventures, but that he was never formally canonized by the Catholic Church. His title simply was woven by folklore. On the topic of folklore, legends state St. Patrick drove out the snakes from Ireland, but since the country still boasts politicians the story is likely a fable. In reality, there were never any snakes in Ireland to drive out in the first place.


St. Patrick’s Day started in Ireland



That’s like saying fajitas started in Mexico, even if they’re popular now in that country. The truth is that the holiday—as we know it—began late in the 18th century in Boston and New York when Irish immigrants marched against American racial prejudices against them. The event gradually evolved into the drunk fest we have today, and then made its way to Ireland.

Sure, March 17 has long been a day of devotion in Ireland, with pubs not even allowed to open. Only in the 1970s did the Irish start taking St. Patrick’s Day as a cultural celebration. And man, those pubs stayed open…


Most Irish are Catholic



Okay, they are, but the reality is that most Irish American are Protestant. The main reason, it appears, is that during colonial times Irish immigrants arrived from Protestant regions of Ireland like Ulster. My father, for example, was a proud Irishman who was raised Lutheran (and later became an atheist, probably to fully celebrate St. Patrick’s Day).


Keep in mind and other than that…



Just so you know, Leprechauns were originally lecherous, drunken elves rebranded by American marketing; and that the luck of the Irish makes no sense at all considering history’s ass kicking of the Irish. But it was Tennessee Williams who said, “Luck is believing you’re lucky.” I’ll leave it at that.

It is sensible to assume that St. Patrick was indeed captured by Irish slaves as a child, spent seven years in brutal bondage (forced to listen to prehistoric U2, perhaps?), converted to Christianity, and then returned home only to go back to Ireland to become a bishop.

Between leprechauns and St. Patrick’s history, however, I think you can find the essence of what is an Irishman: life is fiction, history is harsh— so you might as well believe you’re lucky and make your personal history an enjoyable fiction, full of oppression and liberation. Or should I say Irishperson, as I rail against saying Paddy or ordering Irish Car Bombs?


Please enjoy our infographic:

St. Patricks Day Infographic qSample


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Dateless On Valentine’s Day? Science Says Get A Dog And Get Love Quick


Valentine’s Day is around the corner. You’re lonely and alone with no realistic date prospects. Dating website algorithms and magic spells just aren’t working. The rest of the year might be just as depressing. What do you do?

Get a dog.

By Cupid’s bow, get a dog right now!

Science makes it clear that owning a pet makes you more attractive to the opposite sex. These are the findings of a recent joint study by Match.com and PetSmart. The study recruited 1210 single pet owners: 60% women and 40% men, with 72% being dog owners and 42% being cat owners. Participants took a 21-question survey about the influence of pets in their dating lives. The study is titled The Roles of Pet Dogs and Cats in Human Courtship and Dating, published in the research journal Anthrozoos.

Whatever, dude, you might say. How does a dog help me get Ryan Gosling or Kate Upton?

The animal will help you mainly for courting Kate Upton. According to the study, using a pet as an accessory works far better for single men than single women. Women were more likely than men to judge a date based on how that person reacted to their pet—with 553 women and 277 men saying this would make a difference. Why is that? Dr. Hal Herzog explains the reason in an article for Psychology Today:

A cardinal tenet of evolutionary psychology is that women tend to allocate more resources to child rearing, while men devote more time and energy to mating. Thus, the researchers predicted, for example, that women should be more sensitive than men to how their dates treat their own dogs and cats. Men, on the other hand, should be more likely to use their pets to attract sexual partners.

Furthermore, owning a dog is more of a chick magnet than owning a cat. After all, dogs are generally thought to require more attention and care. This attitude plays right into the maternal instincts of women, at least those not already dating Ryan Gosling. Lastly, as people are parenting their pets more, dogs have become a barometer of how the bro might treat future offspring.

We can just take a look at the study, anyway. It blatantly found that cat owners were less likely than dog owners to judge a date based on their response to a pet; or to think a pet says something about the owner’s personality.

None of this information should be that surprising, though, especially to desperate hopefull singles who have tried everything including magic spells. As an obvious example, the study explains that men are more than twice as likely to admit that they’ve already used a pet to lure a potential date. Dogs were far more used in this romantic tactic.

And they should be. Despite what the internet and its memes might say, this is a dog nation. qSample’s research using our proprietary pet owner sample found that 61% of Americans prefer dogs as their preferred pet, with only 11% favoring cats. No information yet on golf players and Krakens, but that will come.

Alright, you’ve read enough, single peeps. Borrow a dog from your sister—and then storm the park regardless of the weather. Photoshop pictures of you and Beethoven—and then upload them to your Facebook profile. Put on a Cesar Millan costume—and then roller blade with a pack of pit bulls to the nearest Victoria’s Secrets store (and finally to the hospital, perhaps).

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and who let the dogs out will let the love in.


As a bonus, please enjoy our Why We Fall In Love infographic, which gets more into the purely human science of the heart.

Valentines Day Infographic

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NFL Scandals Not Affecting Surging Popularity of Super Bowl (qSample & QuestionPro Study)


In these divided days of political campaigns and social upheaval, one event that always brings the country together is the Super Bowl. It’s a marketing and celebration bonanza surrounding the two best teams in the National Football League, this year being the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. More than a cultural phenomenon, the Super Bowl is a chief bellwether of American consumerism.

Moreover, the Super Bowl seems to be an increasingly family affair unaffected by past NFL scandals. These are just two of the findings from a joint study by qSample and QuestionPro, surveying more than 300 panelists from a general population sample. Nine-nine percent of respondents claimed they would watch Super Bowl 50, another exclamation point to the popularity of this quasi-holiday.

Nevertheless, the Super Bowl is famed for being an extravaganza stew of sports, entertainment and advertising. Why are people tuning in primarily on Super Bowl Sunday, then? It appears the game itself still dominates the country’s attention span, according to the data:

1.  The game (39%)
2.  To enjoy a social event (22%)
3.  The commercials (7%)
4.  The half time show (1%)

It should be mentioned that 33% of respondents claimed they were participating in the Super Bowl for all the reasons mentioned above. Only 18% of these said they were avid football fans who typically bought NFL merchandise. A majority (48%) stated they were casual fans, with 28% being avid fans that rarely bought merchandise.

As far as interest levels, one ought to wonder if the halftime show might garner more significance if an American or more blue-collared act than Coldplay was performing. As far as commercials, the low percentage may not bode well with advertisers spending a record $377 million for Super Bowl 50.

Will bars and restaurants fare better, even if the winter weather is more clement on Super Bowl Sunday? According to the study, ranking on location preference of the game, not likely:

1.  At home (78%)
2.  A party (12%)
3.  At a bar/restaurant (6%)

As with other extroverted, national celebrations like New Year’s Eve or St. Patrick’s Day, it seems Super Bowl is becoming more of a home festivity instead of a going-out occasion.

Supporting this, most respondents said they will spend the night with family members (53%), followed by friends (32%). Eight percent will watch the Super Bowl alone (and unfortunately Coldplay as well). A vast majority (91%) will watch the game on television.


With the Super Bowl becoming a family event, does this mean that this year it might lose viewers due to the recent NFL controversies like Deflategate and the Ray Rice video? That doesn’t seem to be the case, according to the study, when ranking respondents’ view of the NFL as a brand, as shown in this graph:


With this in mind and considering that nine out of ten most-viewed shows in history are Super Bowls—and that last year’s game was the highest-rated Super Bowl—the viewership this year should be extremely high.

Along with bars/restaurants and passionate interest in commercials, social media is not a main player during the plays of Cam Newton and Payton Manning. The exception is Facebook. With 47% of respondents claiming they will be active on social media during the Super Bowl, 41% of those will be on Facebook. All other social media channels receive less than ten percent. This percentage includes Twitter, once the primary social media channel for real-time cultural events, revealing the deepening trouble with the company.

Of course, these findings do not mean social media is irrelevant during the Super Bowl. Last year, Facebook saw 265 million posts, likes and comments during the game, the most measured for any Super Bowl. At the same time, Twitter generated over 28 million global tweets, making it the most tweeted Super Bowl ever. What it does mean is that engagement on social media is potentially not as high as brands would desire.

Image2-SocialmediaSpeaking of engagement, there are social critics who propose that the Monday following any Super Bowl should be a national holiday. The argument has merit. The study found that 26% of respondents will not go to work after the game. Furthermore, it’s estimated that last year 1.5 million people missed work the day after Super Bowl (at a loss of roughly 12 million hours of productivity for that Monday), while 4.4 million workers showed up late to their jobs.

What about the game itself? Is there a favorite team to win the Super Bowl, according to the study? Indeed there is, with respondents giving the edge to the Broncos over the Panthers (45% to 41%).

But as they say: that’s why they play the game and on any given Sunday. On Super Bowl Sunday it will be clear who wins, not just the team, but also consumers, marketers, work bosses and perhaps even Coldplay.

Super Bowl 50 Infographic


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Our Sample For A Cause Charity

qSample is proud (or more like humbled) to support such charities as PAWS Chicago, National Kidney Foundation and others. During this Holiday Season, we would like to increase our giving, and invite you to be part of it. Our sample has worked for many esteemed clients in market research; now we would like to use our sample for a cause.

Here’s how it works:

Request a bid for a data collection project
Project value must be $5000 or above
Sign an agreement to launch before December 31st

At the completion of your project, we will donate $1000 to a charity of your choice

It’s as simple as that. To learn more, contact us or call 312-924-0220 and mention “Sample For A Cause.”

No matter what, we value our client relationships and thank you for being our partner. We look forward to continuing our partnership in the coming year.

All the best to you, your family, and your organization!

The qSample Team

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Consumers Not Jolly About Shopping This Holiday Season (qSample Study)

Santa Claus asleep by a pile of gifts


It’s getting to look a lot like Christmas…at least in the minds of retailers eager to race into the black as the Holiday Season gears up. With a seemingly improving economy, many businesses expect a robust increase in sales this year.

Will their Yule wishes be granted?

Not likely, based on qSample’s syndicated study. Christmas shoppers appear to be stuck in neutral from 2014, in many ways. The primary research was conducted utilizing our general population online panel. More than 300 respondents participated. The findings agree with the National Retail Federation, which sees holiday sales tepid in 2015 (even if it’s estimated that Holiday sales will total $630 billion).

Almost half of surveyed respondents (49%) claimed they would spend the same amount on gifts as last year. Twenty percent said they would spend more, while 24% plan to spend less in 2015. As the National Retail Federation forecasts, holiday sales will only increase by 3.5% from the previous year, the lowest raise since 2010.

That’s a “Ba Humbug!” if it holds true.


Reasons why consumers are resistant to spending


Why holiday spending seems to be sputtering could be due to a negative perception of the economy. However, that doesn’t conform with the study’s results. Thirty-seven percent of respondents claimed to be positive about the economy this Holiday Season. The same margin of respondents (37%) felt that the economy was the same this time last year, with 25% stating they felt negative towards the economy.

The data could reflect a “what and see” attitude for consumers, who are neither excited nor concerned about economic realities or opportunities. It will likely mean more work for vendors to entice shoppers once Black Friday comes and goes. That will be a hard task, it appears, as 40% of respondents plan on spending between $100 and $500 on gifts, while only 20% will spend more than $500 during the Holiday Season.


Other difficulties for sellers


A further startling takeaway is the notion that tech will rule the Holiday shopping world. It doesn’t seem to be the case, or the vision of expensive iPhones and Samsung Ultra’s flying off the shelves. According to the study, devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers and tech accessories come in sixth place for all preferred gift categories. Other technology like televisions or home appliances ranks even lower. Here is the breakdown:

1. Clothing (21%)
2. Gift Cards (19%)
3. Toys (14%)
4. Cash (13%)
5. Home decoration/products (11%)
6. Mobile technology (9%)
7. General technology (televisions, home appliances, etc.) (7%)
8. Other (6%)

As for shopping preferences, a majority in the study (37%) plan on using both online and stores as their preferred method of shopping (with 25% shopping online and 29% going to stores exclusively). Less than one percent said they would use catalogs to buy gifts.

The hospitality and airline industries might not fare better than retailers in 2015. Sixty-eight percent of respondents claimed they would not travel during this Holiday Season, while 54% said they plan on going out for celebrations and parties at the same rate as 2014.

Everything could be stuck in neutral this Holiday Season, even stress levels. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said that they feel the same levels of stress during any given Holiday Season. The largest source of stress are finances (27%), with shopping itself coming in second (20%) and family in third(15%). Dieting was considered the least source of stress (six percent), but it’s reasonable to think that number will go up as the new year approaches.




Clearly, these numbers could shift as the Holiday Season gains more velocity and retailers get creative (and desperate) in their marketing efforts in the latter part of December. However, it seems that, like the economy, Holiday shopping will be neither good nor bad in monetary terms.

Yet when it comes to retailers across the country, average usually equates with having coal in a stocking.

Holiday Shopping Infographic 2015


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Infographic of the Week: All About Father’s Day

Ending scene in Field of Dreams where Father and Son being to play catch

Father’s Day falls this year on the Summer Solstice, the orthodox start day of summer and longest day of the year. Father’s Day will certainly be a long day of celebration, at least in terms of commerce; it furthermore owns a long and rich history many are likely unaware of. This week’s infographic deals with all of this and more.

Here are some of the Father’s Day statistics that scratch the surface of the infographic:

Americans will spend more than $12.5 billion.
– 76% of individuals will celebrate Father’s Day in the U.S.
– More than 103 countries worldwide will also celebrate Father’s Day.
– 29% of Father’s Day gifts will come from online shopping.
– Father’s Day might actually be 4000-years-old.

It’s fascinating, and on the longest day of the year there will be plenty of time to both enjoy these market statistic and take care of your old man (unless you’re the old man, like me). Here in Chicago, it might be a bit more challenging as the city continues to celebrate the Blackhawk’s Stanley Cup and the start of the churning festival season. But we shall prevail.

Regardless of where you are, it seems the summer fun has truly begun…even if it’s just a necktie in the gift package or a lawn demanding to be cut again.

Or the opportunity to play catch with the old man.


All About Fathers Day Infographic

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No Luck of the Irish: 5 Lessons U2 can Teach Us About Marketing

5 Lessons U2 Can teach us about marketing on St. Patrick's Day

They say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Some are more Irish than others, though, and some have made a career of maximizing their aspects to the stratospheres of success. I’m talking about U2, an act that could easily teach all companies about branding in the loud arenas of content marketing, market research, and really any type of marketing. Let’s take a look, because maybe the streets have no name but they can be paved with gold for attentive marketers.

Know Your Brand

Unless you have absolute clarity of what your brand stands for, everything else is irrelevant. – Mark Baynes, global CMO, Kellogg Co

From the beginning, U2 knew who they were: a group of young rock musicians in the late 70s from working-class Dublin, mired in an era of political turmoil and punk rock ecosystems. As Neil McCormick explained in his book U2: The band knew talent wasn’t a prerequisite for popularity and that Irish passion had no limits. They believed in a marriage of destiny and calculation, like so many tech companies today. This marriage conceived their first child, in the form of a record deal by winning a talent show in Limerick on Saint Patrick’s Day 1978.

Find Your Brand’s Niche

We used to put the brand in the middle. Now the consumer is smack-dab in the middle of everything we do. And that means we need to understand who our customer is. – Joaquin Hidalgo, brand CMO, Nike

A mistake many companies make is to foolishly believe they can be everything to everyone. U2 materialized in a period when the hippies were becoming a historical footnote and punk rock was self-destructing. The band mined a niche that was being overlooked during the “greed is good” era of the early 80’s: antiwar and spiritual seekers who still dug a good guitar riff and a melancholic love song. It paid dividends, making the band an immediate alternative beyond the materialism of New Wave Music or Heavy Metal. They never stopped nurturing that niche, even when they became as wealthy as the Masters of the Universe of the Reagan Era.

Build Your Brand Gradually

Most brand strategies end up being a penetrating insight in the blatantly obvious. – Brad Jakeman, US marketing expert

Marketing campaigns, especially online content ones, are about nurturing relationships and building momentum. It’s a marathon, even though marketers may feel they’re always sprinting. U2 began in smaller venues, gradually developing their own persona as they researched the persona of their targeted audience. The band toured incessantly at first, earning more money through concerts than their first four studio albums combined. They didn’t become “viral” until 1987 with the release of the immensely popular The Joshua Tree.

Adapt Your Brand with the Times

Building a brand is about a thousand little new touches … Consistency is only for liars. – Eric Ryan, co-founder, Method Products

U2 was as premiere rock band for over two decades after becoming mainstream. The band could have been easily marginalized during the Grunge Era of the 90’s, becoming just another rich aging rock act mocked by slackers and latte-drinkers (as happened with Van Halen and Bon Jovi). Instead, it transcended its image by experimenting with European industrial and electronic dance music, represented by the monstrous success of Achtung Baby in 1991. The band retained its core essence of Irish mysticism and socially conscious neo-punk; yet tweaked its brand when it was obvious it couldn’t compete with the existentialist thunder of such acts as Nirvana or Pearl Jam. Furthermore, U2 went beyond merely expressing social issue in albums, becoming the charity ambassadors for Generation X.

Take Risks with Your Brand

Today’s Twitter is tomorrow’s whatever. New challenges are critical, but they have to make sense for brands and never be isolated from the larger brand strategies. – Sean Finnegan, president/chief digital officer, Starcom MediaVest Group

Many media experts have claimed that U2’s venture with Apple in 2014 was as a marketing calamity (where the latest album of the band was downloaded free to every iPhone across the world, in commemoration of the iPhone 6 release). There was a backlash, indeed, but the band rolled the dice and the results were not that disastrous: Apple paid the band $100 million, Millenials got acquainted with their brand, and for the first time U2 was a hot topic on social media. That’s not bad at all, especially in a universe were bad publicity either doesn’t exist or just doesn’t last.

Will U2 be remembered as one of the greatest rock bands in history? That’s debatable. What can’t be argued is how remarkable it is for a band to sustain a high level of popularity for so long. This certainly takes talent, but also a top-notch marketing strategy.

Many will be celebrating on Saint Patrick’s Day, but it’s probable that U2 will planning its next marketing marathon into the next music era. If nothing works, the band will have an almost unparalleled legacy, and still keep its Irish stoicism. It was Bono, who when asked about overexposure, said: “Look, I`m sick of Bono and I AM Bono.”

5 Lessons U2 Can Teach Us About Marketing


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Holiday Wine Survey – Champagne and Sparkling Wine Lead the Way!

For many – the Holidays mean spending time with family. Our Holiday wine survey definitely reflects that. Results from the survey conducted by YourWineOpinion.com with Bacchus and Beery Wine Blog during the first two weeks of December reveal that 96% of respondents indicated they will be buying wine or bubbly for a Holiday celebration; almost half (46.1%) plan to purchase wine for a family dinner this year.

So whether your purchase of “good cheer” is to make your Uncle Frank more interesting, tolerate your Aunt Rachel’s nagging or as a thoughtful pairing for your sister’s beef tenderloin, consumers reach for many forms of wine during the Holiday season.

YourWineOpinion’s Holiday Wine survey spelled out what motivates casual wine drinkers and enthusiasts towards their purchases this season. Buying wine for a family meal topped the list as the number one reason for a consumer purchase, with “purchasing for party” coming in at 29.5% and “as a gift” at 23.4%.

It’s no surprise that price led the way in factors that influence Holiday wine purchases at 39%, and perhaps this is a good sign of economic recovery – more than 34% of survey respondents indicated they were willing to spend between $11-$20 for a bottle of wine this holiday season.

As many in the wine industry may already know – the Label is a key influencer when it comes to how consumers choose their wine. More than 15% of our survey respondents agreed. The data also revealed that varietal is the second leading influencer among survey respondents (24%). Red varietals beating out their white wine counterparts, and Merlot leading the charge at 13.2% for reds and Chardonnay at 12.4% for whites.

What kind of holiday wine survey wouldn’t include sparkling wines? Not ours! Over 70% of those surveyed said they were buying Champagne/Sparkling wine – nothing surprising there, but what maybe be considered novel is the fact that American Sparkling wine came in a close second at 31.6% to swanky and festive favorite French champagne at 33%.


Of course, where consumers plan to buy wine is of interest, with the following categories in the top three: liquor store 25.9%, grocery store 18.3% and Discount/Wholesale store at 12.2%.

qSample’s Wine Enthusiast Panel – YourWineOpinion.com is an exclusive group of research panelists who are deeply profiled and agree to share their opinions on all things wine-related. Over 300 responses were collected for the survey with respondents from the following demographics:

• Over 50% are college educated
• 31.4% make over $56,000 in income
• 71% are between the ages of 25-34

Maybe this insight into our Wine Enthusiast Panel has sparked some ideas for your own Holiday purchases or ways in which you can use our specialty panels for your next research study? For more information, please contact sales-team@qsample.com.

by Rudly Raphael

New Data on New Year’s Resolutions and Holiday Exchanges

Research Access is proud to announce a new partnership with qSample, the Research Access / qSample Poll. Our goal is to regularly provide interesting, topical poll results.

Our first Research Access / qSample poll was fielded using qSample’s online consumer panel in the US. The poll fielded from January 3 to January 7th and includes 296 completed interviews.

We decided to ask a few questions about holiday gift-giving and exchanges as well as New Year’s resolutions.

Here are the results:

Did you receive a gift or gifts this holiday season?
Yes 83%
No 17%



So far, have you kept or broken your New Year’s resolution(s)? (among those who made one or more resolutions)
So far I have kept my resolution(s) 87%
I have broken my resolution(s) 13%

We hope you enjoyed this poll. Our resolution, which we promise not to break, is to bring you more interesting data throughout 2012.

by Rudly Raphael