Focus Groups Through the Ages

Europe – 25,000 B.C.

Thog: Rock good?
Ug: Ug like rock.
Thog: [writing] Get…more…rock.
Thog: No. Rock just prototype.
Ug: Ug get parking validated?
Thog: No.

Jerusalem – 33 A.D.

Facilitator: Okay, now let’s talk slogans. If you heard “Jesus: He’s not just for Jews anymore,” would you be more likely, less likely, or equally as likely to abandon your polytheistic faith?
Respondent: Um, less likely.
Facilitator: What about “Jesus: Last month He died for your sins. What have you done for Him lately?”
Respondent: Less likely.
Facilitator: Okay, one more: “Jesus: Convert or spend eternity on fire.”
Respondent: Uh…what were the choices again?

Ireland – 1588 A.D.

Facilitator: So, Mrs. O’Callahan, if we were to import these “potatoes,” do you think they would become a staple of your diet?
Respondent: I don’t like ’em that much, laddie.
Facilitator: Hmm. Okaaaay, let me put it another way…given the fact that everyone you know is starving because your country has no food, tell me which of these items you’d most prefer as the staple of your diet.
[Curtain opens to reveal dirt, whiskey, three of respondent’s own children, and a potato.]
Respondent: That’s easy–
Facilitator: We poisoned the whiskey.
Respondent: Then Seamus.

Atlanta – 1983 A.D.

Facilitator: On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being undrinkable, and 10 being the most delicious beverage imaginable, how would you rate New Coke’s drinkability?
Respondent: Like I said in the questionnaire, I lost my sense of taste due to the extensive burn damage I suffered when the orphanage caught fire last year.
Facilitator: We’re going to need a numerical score in each category before you can receive your $35 stipend.
Respondent: Okay…seven.