Studies, Polls, Cynicism and Wine…Oh My

Color me shocked. Shocked I tell you.

A new study finding that Canadian Government-owned and run liquor stores offer consumers better prices than privately owned liquor stores as well as better adhering to government regulations was commissioned by the employees union representing workers at government-run Canadian liquor stores. The government employee-commissioned study finding that government employees do a fantastic job at government liquor stores comes as consideration is underway on privatizing government liquor stores. Amazing.

Isn’t this a bit like a winery announcing that it has given its latest Cabernet Sauvignon 95 Points?

It also reminds me of the campaign manager responding to reporters’ questions about his candidate being down in the polls by 10 points with this common nugget: “Our internal polling shows us tied with our opponent.” Of course it does.

Actually it’s a bit more like the anti-direct shipping wholesalers funding a study here in the U.S. a few years ago that found that—can you believe it—minors are obtaining wine on the internet in huge numbers. Of course they are.

The actual researchers of the Canadian study soothed any doubts anyone might have about the legitimacy of a study commissioned by those that study found do a great job by noting that the study “went through a rigorous’ process to prevent bias.”

Of course it did.

As a publicist and marketer who is regularly looking for ways to help promote the benefits of my clients’ products and services, I tend to pay attention to the utility of research and studies carried out in the service of promoting policy. I want to know how impacting such self-serving studies are.
I don’t think I’m wrong to conclude that these kind of self-serving studies that miraculously support the position of the folks that commissioned them tend to be discounted by the people they are supposed to sway. It’s a matter of cynics being able to best identify cynical ploys.

4 Responses

  1. Marcia M - October 31, 2012

    Why stop at giving yourself 95 points? Why not make it 100 points?

    Those reports commissioned to laud those who paid for it (in hopes of convincing the undecided) usually make the undecideds even more skeptical since all it really says is that they think the undecideds are really *that* stupid to buy into the study!

  2. Tom Wark - October 31, 2012


    Turns out I already know precisely how stupid I am. I have no need of a “study” that confirms that others think they know also.

    Cheers…. : )

  3. Lee Newby, AIWS - October 31, 2012

    They looked at the worker IN THE STORES, not the horrible distribution system they are also responsible for operating, so you can keep your shelves dusted and the labels lined up that’s not what the privatization of the distribution system is about its about prepaying cash and having delivery take 4 weeks warehouse to restaurant and lots of other distribution issues that normal people would see as problems.

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