Will Technology Kill Us or Make Us Stronger?

McCann Truth Central, the global intelligence unit of McCann Erickson, the world’s largest advertising agency, today released a new global research study, “The Truth About Wellness,” an online global study based on a quantitative survey of 7,000 respondents in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, China, Japan, South Africa and Turkey and supplemented qualitatively in the U.S., U.K., Japan, Peru and Brazil.

“There is an exciting technological revolution in the wellness arena today which is empowering consumers, and transforming our health. However, with obesity seen as the number one threat to future health, there are also concerns that technology is encouraging bad behaviors,” said Daryl Lee, McCann’s Global Chief Strategy Officer. “The good news is that 94% of consumers say brands have a role in supporting their wellness needs.  There has never been a better time for brands to lead positive change.”

John Cahill, CEO, McCann Health commented, “In the healthcare space in particular, wellness is a potent global trend. It’s a time of transition for healthcare professionals and the majority (66%) of people are looking for doctors to focus on prevention as well as curing illness.”

Laura Simpson, Global Director, McCann Truth Central, who led the study, added, “In many ways the Age of Wellness is upon us and is full of contradictions that brands can help to resolve. From China to Brazil, we uncovered an array of unexpected cultural truths about the nature of modern wellness.”

  1. Young men worry more than women that Facebook is making them fat.  Globally,25% of young men (aged 18-24) vs. 17% of same age women worry that their obsession with technology and social networking is encouraging more sedentary living (and therefore obesity). One in ten people globally think that Facebook is making them fat and in Brazil this rises to two in 10, thereby redefining the term “couch potato” for the iPad generation.
  2. Chinese consumers are terrified of aging. Only 7% like the idea of getting older versus 39% in Brazil and 26% globally. Long has it been assumed that aging is revered and welcomed in China yet in a period of rapid change Chinese consumers fear being left behind.  This is an important insight for brands moving into the world’s largest marketplace.
  3. Depression is #1 diagnosis for “Cyberchondriacs.” Globally, one in four people think that our obsession with health is making us unhealthy. After depression, “cyberchondriacs,” or people who look for health information online, are most likely to diagnose themselves with obesity-related illnesses, allergies and migraine in that order said the study.
  4. Brazilians are obsessed with happiness. The happiest countries are thought to be: Brazil, U.S., Australia and Switzerland (and the majority of Brazilians agree! They have a huge level of confidence in their own happiness. 65% see themselves as most happy vs. 33% of Americans). Unsurprisingly, the British think the Australians are the happiest.
  5. Death by cancer is our greatest fear but 20% of Brazilians think that urban violence will get them first. Globally, the # 1 thing people think will kill them is cancer (27%). The British are most concerned about heart attacks and the Japanese are most concerned about Alzheimer’s Disease.  Despite their impressive level of happiness, Brazilians are also very sensitive to the unique risks in their society.
  6. 21% think doctors will be obsolete in the future. Globally, four in 10 people already feel more in control of their health as a direct result of technology and a third trust technology more than their instincts. But 66% think that if doctors can focus more on preventing illness rather than curing it they’ll continue to be valuable to consumers in the future.
  7. Only 5% of humanity would like to have a clone. But many consumers are already gearing up for a science fiction future where technology will bring a host of health benefits. If they could, 32% of consumers would choose to remain the same age forever, 26% would erase unpleasant memories, 18% would insert a microchip to constantly measure their health and 12% would eliminate their need for sleep.
  8. 49% of people regularly do brain exercises. In the past, your heart, liver, and kidneys were the “star” organs whereas now that Alzheimer’s is on the rise, the brain has been added to the “A” list of organs that consumers need to keep healthy. If forced to choose, U.K., Brazil, U.S. and Turkey would preserve their mental health over their physical health.
  9. If you’re 34 it’s all downhill (unless you’re Japanese). Globally, people agreed that the optimal age to achieve wellness is 34 (although in Turkey they think it is 23 and in Japan it is 44). Most people think it is twice as easy for women to achieve wellness as opposed to men.
  10. The average person thinks they’ll live to 79 (but hopes to live to 87). In China, people “think” they’ll outlive the rest of the world by living to age 84. However, it’s the Americans who “want” to live the longest, to age 92 (79 in Turkey). The quest for longevity is surprising given that, on average, people feel that they start to lose quality of life at around 65 years of age (73 in the U.S).

About McCann Truth Central
McCann Truth Central is McCann Erickson’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. For more about Truth Central or to access The Truth About Wellness or previous Truth Studies, visit: http://truthcentral.mccann.com/truth-studies/

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