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Whiskey and Car Keys

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”  – P.J. O’Rourke


So it’s no surprise that recent surveys found Congress’ approval rating lower than Porn, the BP oil spill and the IRS – and that’s a sleazy threesome.

But surveys can be misleading.

I have met with a number of Congressmen and women – big and small, black and white, bald and bushy – and most of them are concerned citizens whose venture into government was motivated by a sincere interest in public service – not all, but most.

Individually, most are decent, caring people.

So what happens?

The partisan dynamic perverts individual integrity, and legislation is crafted by committee and “group think,” which caters to the lowest common denominator.

Turn a brilliant business idea over to a committee and when it emerges, the brilliance will be gone. The individual creativeness will be turned into a mind numbing serving of mediocre mush.

A committee doesn’t think, individuals do.

That’s why we don’t do focus groups; twenty-five years, countless thousands of surveys, of politicians and policeman, CEOs and CFOs, judges and lawyers, consumers and salesman, artists and agents from Manhattan to Miami, Moscow to Mexico. We’ve never done a focus group.

We interview people individually – we talk to them one at a time. We record what they say and the emotional tone in which they say it. And then we tabulate the results and find what is common in their (individual) answers.

Then we work with graphic designers to turn this marketing intelligence into advertising that “speaks” to the audience using words and emotion that will spark a response.

Congress doesn’t get it. Neither do focus groups.

Surveys of individuals open the door to increased sales by enabling marketing, advertising and PR to parallel the minds of your prospects.

This is how surveys should be done. If you need some, call us.



Bruce Wiseman

CEO On Target Research