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We're All Just Teenagers When It Comes To Mobile

McCann Worldgroup (PR Newswire) - 01 March 2013

We're All Just Teenagers When It Comes To Mobile

McCann's "Truth About Connected You" Research Equates Adult Mobile User Motivations & Morality with Typical Teens

Just like young & hopeful adolescents, more than one third of global respondents think mobile could save the world

BARCELONA, Spain/PRNewswire/ -- McCann Truth Central, the global intelligence unit of McCann Worldgroup based in New York, in conjunction with the McCann Global Telecom practice today released the findings of a new global research study, "The Truth About Connected You," at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The robust quantitative and qualitative online study represents responses from 9,000 participants in nine countries (U.S., Brazil, U.K., Germany, Spain, South Africa, India, China and Japan) and nearly 20,000 online discussion board posts in the same nine countries plus the Philippines, Chile, Egypt, Norway andSweden. The data for this survey was collected by Harris Interactive on behalf of McCann Truth Central. McCann was responsible for survey design and data analysis. 

"Globally, the average consumer has only been a mobile user for 12 years," said Laura Simpson, Global Director, McCann Truth Central. "That means that, in mobile years, it's as if we're all just becoming teenagers. And like most teens, we're taking risks and trying new things. Our data shows that in their relatively young adolescent mobile lives, consumers have owned 6.4 devices and entered into a serious relationship with a new mobile device or provider every 22 months."

"Our mobile teenage years create fantastic opportunities for brands to enhance their relationships with their customers," said Kevin Nelson, McCann's Global Telecom Lead. "But brands need to understand that people hold mobile to a higher standard than other mediums. This is because mobile is more personal, less like a TV or PC, and more like an extension of ourselves. Brands that respect this unique relationship will be championed and the ones who don't will quickly find themselves screened out." 

Who am I anyway?


Teens are often on a quest to discover their true selves and define their own unique personalities. Surprisingly, the study revealed that people's mobile personalities are often very different from their "face to face" personalities. For example, a person who is usually seen as reserved "face-to-face" may well be far more outgoing on mobile. Average respondents were 50% more likely to be outgoing on their mobile devices.

The survey uncovered a number of distinct mobile personalities. The top 5 are Mobile Maitre-D (15% globally; #1 type in Spain, China, South Africa), Data Diva (11% globally; #1 in U.S. & U.K.), Wireless Warrior (10% globally; #1 in South Africa), iChatty (9% globally; #1 in India & Brazil) and Linked-Out Loyalist (8% globally; #1 type in Japan).

Don't judge a person by their home screen
Some of the less desirable elements of being a teen include pressure to fit in and a tendency to judge others. The study shows that 74% of respondents say that their mobiles have helped them to "fit in" rather than stand out. While 55% say that they judge people by the devices they own, 40% say they judge people by the mobile network operator they choose.

In Japan, a woman said, "There is a guy at work who has a rabbit as a phone cover, and I feel that type of cover is for a student. I worry whether I can do business with such guy." 

The seven deadly sins of mobile
In this brave new world of connectivity the majority of mobile users are still figuring out how to navigate the rights and wrongs of mobile behavior.

1. LUST - Sending or forwarding a sexually explicit text (or 'sext')
- More than 1 in 10 people say they have received a sext!

2. GLUTTONY: When your device addiction becomes excessive
- 38% of people are toilet talkers (take their devices into the bathroom)

3.  GREED: Downloading content illegally 
- 29% of people admit to doing this (49% in China)

4. SLOTH: Screening calls and avoiding texts 
- 55% of people have purposely ignored a call

5. WRATH: Littering your mobile messages with $#^&! Words & "mofanities" 
- 2 in 10 use curses and dirty words in their texts

6.  ENVY: Judging a man or woman by their home screen 
- 55% admit to judging other people by their choice of device and 40% admit to judging someone by the network they choose

7. PRIDE: Living in your own mobile bubble 
- 44% of people say they have a right to do whatever they want with their mobile devices (even if it might bother someone else!) 

The mobile advertising and network carrier opportunity
According to the study, 63% of people wish that the advertising they saw on their phone or tablet was more entertaining. At the same time, mobile advertising can be a real opportunity for brands to connect with consumers, the study found. 

When mobile ads are fun and provide utility, consumers are keen to jump in. After seeing an interactive game on mobile, a consumer in the Philippines said, "I like that it's a game where you can win real prizes. You can really enjoy it, not just alone, but also with your friends."

Could mobile save the world?
The study also revealed a lot of excitement and hope among adult mobile phone users about the future world that mobile can deliver, an optimistic viewpoint that continued to liken them to teenagers.

Nearly 40% of people thought that mobile technology will make us more likely to develop global solutions for crime, 21% thought mobile technology can help us avoid global economic crises, and 16% thought mobile could help alleviate pandemic flu outbreaks.

About McCann Truth Central
McCann Truth Central, based in New York, is McCann Worldgroup's global intelligence unit, with representation in more than 100 countries around the world. The group is dedicated to uncovering human truths to help brands make their mark in the world. The Truth Central Team has analyzed attitudes about topics ranging from wellness to privacy, youth, beauty, moms, social media, politics and more. To download the studies visit:

About McCann Erickson 
McCann Erickson ( operates 180 offices in more than 120 countries and boasts a client roster that includes preeminent global marketers and many of the world's most famous brands. The agency is a unit of McCann Worldgroup, a leading global marketing solutions network, comprised of a collaborative roster of best-in-class agencies that emphasize creativity, innovation and performance. Clients include leading global brands such as American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Coca-Cola, General Motors, General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline, Intel, IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, L'Oreal, MasterCard, Maybelline, Nestle, Sony and Unilever.

SOURCE McCann Worldgroup