Saturday 4 May 2013

The Cineworld Questionnaire: An exercise in how not to do market research.

This week UK cinema chain Cineworld decided to perform a bit of market research by sending out a questionnaire to all of its Unlimited Card subscribers, asking them a few questions about their moviegoing habits. That doesn't sound too ridiculous, does it? Well, wait until you've read the questions.

Seemingly put together by a work experience boy on his lunch break, highlights of the questionnaire range from poor spelling to ropey movie knowledge with numerous anachronisms and a healthy dose of misogynism thrown in too. Please bear with me whilst I vent my frustrations.

The questionnaire starts off easy enough with "What is your gender?" before collecting a few other details about location and favourite film genres before jumping in with "Who do you think is the sexiest actress of all time?" and "Who to you think it the sexiest actress from the upcoming films this summer?" (sic).

But don't worry, it's not all questions aimed at the fellas. We then have "Which of these superhero characters would you most like to date in real life?" and "If you could play the part of a superheroes' love interest which character would you choose?" (sic)giving the options of "Pepper Pots - Iron Man" (it's Potts, actually), "Rachel Dawes - Batman" (it doesn't really end well for her, does it?), "Mary Jane - Spiderman" (she doesn't have a surname apparently) and "Penny Carter - Captain America" (no such character exists but I think they mean Peggy Carter).

Putting the misogynism to one side for a moment, let's take a look at the next question; "Which Actor do you think play the ultimate comic book villain in a film adaptation?" (sic). Except for the poor wording that's a perfectly reasonable question and some of the options include some obvious choices such as Heath Ledger and Tom Hardy, but whichever employee of the Cineworld think tank decided to include "Tobey Maguire as Evil Peter Parker in Spiderman 3" in the list deserves to be taken out to a field and shot.

Skipping ahead a few questions, we arrive at what must be my favourite question of the lot; "Of the following films that were going to be made into a sequel, which would you pick to be made into a sequel now?".

What?? What does that even mean? How can a film be "made into a sequel"? How can one thing be made into a follow up of itself? I know what they're trying to say but it's an appalling use of the English language. The options they offer include ET, Forrest Gump, The Bodyguard, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Mrs Doubtfire 2, ignoring the fact that there isn't a Mrs Doubtfire 2 unless somebody has travelled back in time for the sole purpose of making this question even more redundant than it already is.

Putting to one side the sheer crappiness of the spelling in the questionnaire, perhaps the saddest thing about this little exercise is how completely pointless and unhelpful the whole thing is. Presumably the collated answers would have been put into some sort of PR initiative on behalf of Cineworld with "did you know that 37% of people think that An Officer and a Gentleman is the best '80s rom-com ever?" being fielded out to increase traffic to their website as people shudder in disbelief that Dirty Dancing didn't win the vote because that's their favourite and An Officer and a Gentleman isn't a rom-com anyway.

Although nowadays I tend to spend most of my time inside a differently branded multiplex, I have spent many an hour sat inside a Cineworld cinema in the past and enjoyed most of them. It's unfortunate that by not performing some good old fashioned proof reading and spell checking they've opened themselves up to ridicule and shown that mistakes such as this don't remain quiet in the internet age and that there is such a thing as bad press.

If you feel like giving the full questionnaire a go and you're not one of the lucky people who has a Cineworld Unlimited card, it's available in PDF form via Craig Skinner (which I-Flicks have helpfully linked to here.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who works in marketing, that is pretty dumb! Sounds to me like someone sat in a meeting and suggested that it would be good to engage with their customers, probably because they read it in a book. Then without thinking about why this was a good thing, let alone how to do it correctly, they did this.

    Gives the rest of us a bad name.