An otherwise benign survey has turned into a PR kerfuffle for Calgary Stampede officials after a handful of potentially suspect questions caught the eye of respondents.
In a section of an online segmentation survey, sponsored by the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, respondents were asked to rate statements on “different approaches to life” on a sliding scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree.
The statements included: “Some jobs are best suited to men. Women should just accept this,” “Kids today have too much freedom,” and “The only acceptable definition of a family is a husband, wife and children,” among others.
Quinton Rafuse, who lives near Stampede Park and took the survey, was initially “appalled” when he came across the survey, which he said was otherwise “about 95 per cent completely normal” for market research.
“I found some of the questions in there a little odd and on one hand a bit surprising, and on the other hand possibly not surprising,” he said.
“Sometimes the Stampede and the city try on that persona of being a bit redneck.”
Rafuse said the questions were something the controversial character Borat would ask to elicit an inappropriate response.
“I just didn’t think they belonged in a survey,” he said.
The Calgary Stampede’s Doug Fraser emphasized the statements, designed by the research company Illumina Research Partners, aren’t representative of the Stampede.
“While the statements themselves are intended by the research company to be polarizing, they do not reflect the opinions of the Calgary Stampede,” he said.
Fraser said the research helps them better tailor their programming to a changing audience in Calgary.
Illumina president Yvonne Brouwer said statements like these are fairly standard in the market research industry. They also need to be considered in the context of the whole survey, she said.
“They are really statements that are meant to help divide people, that people would have very different opinions on,” Brouwer said.
“By doing that, you get a much clearer picture on similarities and differences across different people.”