Archive for the ‘Generation or Age of Juror’ Category
Few things are as frightening to us as the idea that our drinking water is contaminated. But this fear is a cornerstone of the debate as to whether hydro-fracking is the answer to our need for energy self-reliance or the slippery slope to contaminated drinking water and health declines for those living around hydro-fracking areas.
Hydraulic fracking [aka hydro-fracking] is a technique of recovering natural gas from underground geological formations that would otherwise not be sufficiently productive to be economical. By injecting fluids (water and chemicals) under high pressure into the gas well, fractures in the rock develop. After the injection procedure is complete, a successful hydraullic fracking procedure (also commonly referred to as “hydraulic fracturing”, “hydro-fracking”, “fracking” or “fracing”) results in higher rates of gas flow into the bore hole, and a more productive well.
It is unquestionably a very successful procedure for increasing well production, and one that has become heavily utilized in recent years. Since this technique has been employed, public concern over environmental impact on drinking water has skyrocketed in the gas field areas. Some local water supplies have developed a terrible taste. Others carry chemical concentrations in ground water that had not been previously noted.
The debate around hydro-fracking and the potential for ground water contamination as well as possible health impact is emotionally powerful. Proponents say fracking is misunderstood and it is a safe technique for accessing deeply buried energy resources. Opponents say we need to know more about the impact and that any risk to health and groundwater safety is too high.
We have a paper in the just released issue of The Jury Expert on hydro-fracking and the environment. In this paper, we generally describe typical arguments by both Plaintiffs and Defendants, but we will not attempt to weigh the scientific evidence that is typically presented in these toxic tort actions. Instead, we will focus attention on jurors, and the related concerns that litigants are going to face from jurors before the first word is spoken.
We use random surveys of registered voters, likely voters and citizens of various states to illustrate varying and similar attitudes in states where hydro-fracking is actively being done, actively being considered, or where it will likely not be done. We first looked at this topic about a year ago and little was publicly available. Now, the information available has exponentially increased as media attention has begun to carefully scrutinize the safety and environmental impact of the practice.
Take a look at our article and let us know what you think of it.
“The Player”, “The Beer Drinker” and “The Buddy”. These are tried and true “ideal male images” used by advertisers to attract men to their products and brand. Apparently, it’s not working so well anymore. Researchers say advertisers may need to incorporate “The Dad”, “The Husband” and “The Handyman” or even, “The Mentor” to avoid alienating the Gen X male consumer.
According to the researchers, “it used to be” that the initial three stereotypes appealed to men. Our guess is that these stereotypes appealed to Boomer men. Apparently, Gen X is a whole different group. Since men are now the primary shopper in a third of US households, it’s imperative that advertisers find the “new” stereotypes that will appeal.
Using the old stereotypes is apparently backfiring and men are reacting negatively to the stereotype, the ad, and the brand. Essentially, the message to the advertiser is “misrepresent me in your ads and you are as good as dead to me”. The researchers see what they call an extreme “market fragmentation” (in terms of male response to the ads) as an opportunity for companies to consider being responsible in media messages targeting men and boys. One of the researchers offers the following statement:
“People build up certain offensive and defensive strategies when they look at ads,” Otnes said. “If they feel threatened by an ad, it may actually bleed over into the way they feel about that product. So if a man is turned off by how males are portrayed in an advertisement, he’ll say, ‘I don’t want to be that guy’ ” – and that’s the end of his relationship with that brand. So teasing out what’s offensive from a sociological or cultural perspective is important.”
This research, while likely startling and disturbing for advertisers, is consistent with our research and writing on generational issues. We need to pay attention to the audience. What appealed to Boomer jurors, often misses the boat with the younger Gen X and Millennial jurors. As we frequently ask ourselves, and challenge clients to consider, “Who is your audience?” It is critical to keep up with the changes to the population of the country–which is reflected in the changing population of the venire. Do not unintentionally alienate or insult your jurors!
Linda Tuncay Zayer, & Stacy Neier (2011). An exploration of men’s brand relationships. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal. DOI: 10.1108/13522751111099337
“Gender, Culture, and Consumer Behavior,” co-edited by Otnes and Zayer. www.routledge.com/books/details/9781848729469/
We’ve written for The Jury Expert a fair amount. In case you don’t know, The Jury Expert is a free publication from the American Society of Trial Consultants that is all about the art and science of litigation advocacy.
Our articles in The Jury Expert are focused on litigation advocacy and meant to help you do your job with the latest information available. Take a look at what we’ve done in the past couple of years.
Marketers are always trying to figure out how to distinctly describe various groups of us. This time it’s the often-studied Millennial Generation. Apparently there are six discrete types of Millennials (those aged 16 to 34) and they are not all what marketers seem to think.
Boston Consulting Group identifies the various groups of Millennials. And because they are marketing consultants, they have to give each market segment a goofy name that would embarrass any member of that segment: Hip-ennials (29%); Millennial Moms (22%); Anti-Millennials (16%); Gadget Gurus (13%); Clean and Green Millennials (10%); and the Old School Millennials (10%).
Their graphic succinctly describes these young people as separate and distinct segments within the Millennial generation.
So while marketers continue to parse and define subgroups of the Millennials, they are looking at different reasons for describing this group than makes sense for trial lawyers. We recommend you stay focused more on the values, beliefs and attitudes that resonate with your case and identify the jurors that won’t be good fits when it comes to hearing your story.
We’re all for debunking stereotypes (as the title of this report trumpets) but this approach simply looks like another way of sticking people in categories that aren’t useful in the courtroom.
Barton, C. Fromm, J. Egan, C. 2012 The Millennial Consumer: Debunking stereotypes. Boston Consulting Group.
My daughter was 11 when I agreed to take her to get her ears pierced. She desperately wanted to have it done but was afraid of the pain. So I had my ears pierced with second holes to show her it was survivable. As time has gone on, she’s added to her collection–always in my company. Second ear piercings. A cartilage piercing. And now, in the wake of her 18th birthday, she asked for my company to a tattoo parlor so she could have her rook and tragus pierced. Showing my age, I asked what part of the body these unfamiliar words were located upon and was relieved (and appalled) to discover they were also on the ear.
So off we went. The “piercer” came out to meet us. He was a huge man (think sumo wrestler) with huge hands, and gauges in both nostrils and the biggest gauges I’ve ever seen in each ear. I felt faint. My daughter looked anxious. He turned out to be the nicest guy. And when he picked up the huge needle to pierce her ear, I could have passed out. She turned very pale as the needle went through not once, but twice to pierce the rook. After he got the earring in (with his huge hands and fingers), he asked if she was ready for the tragus piercing. She asked in a small voice, “Will it hurt more than the rook piercing?” He assured her it would not.
I was reminded of a blog post from Dave Munger back in the glory days of Cognitive Daily blog. In this post, Dave’s spouse Greta (co-author of the blog) discovered that the fable of the Fox and the Grapes was unfamiliar to many of her students. Cognitive Daily then did a survey of their readers to see how many were familiar with the origin and meaning of the phrase “sour grapes”. As it turned out, not that many.
It’s a good lesson in generational communication for the courtroom. While we (hopefully) will not hear plaintiffs describe their pain in terms of body piercing, it’s important to consider the examples we use to communicate. As they saw in the Cognitive Daily survey, those survey respondents who were avid readers were more familiar with the meaning and origin of the term “sour grapes”. We need to remember the phase of life of our jurors, as well as how actual ‘reading’ has decreased for many. Movie references, TV show references, book references, even pop culture references become quickly dated and meaningless to your audience.
Pay attention to what you say. Don’t use verbal shortcuts and assume everyone knows what they mean. Your snappy analogy may just fall short.
We saw this recently in a mock trial where the defense attorney was attempting to demonstrate the difference between the disputed technologies as the difference between a record album (which he held up for the mock jurors) and a CD. Same music. Much different technology. Jurors liked the comparison and it made sense for them. But an unanticipated message came through. The attorney displayed a record album by Barry Manilow. Younger jurors saw that choice as reflecting both the attorney’s age and a questionable taste in music. They were unafraid to verbalize this perception directly.
So. Be careful what you unintentionally communicate! You likely won’t have the benefit of direct juror feedback on mistakes you make.