Trendsetters: April Fools’ Day Around the World. David McCaughan Asks-Which Nationalities are Most Truthful?
David McCaughan has spent over 28 years at McCann WorldGroup largely in Strategic Planning roles throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and he certainly knows quite a bit about “Truth Well Told.” Yesterday, as the fiscal year ended in his Tokyo office, he was given an emotional send-off as he starts a new chapter in his life. Yet, in typical Dave-style, he shared some significant associations about April 1st and the latest global study from McCann Truth Central.
“In Japan April 1st is an important day,” says Dave. “First of the new financial year it is also the day when new university graduates start their new jobs. All over Japan today hundreds of thousands of young people will be starting their new careers, mostly dressed identically in their new black suits, white shirts and black ties. I am starting a new stage of my life today, but less formally…”
He adds, “McCann Truth Central today released a little Lie-O-Meter to celebrate April Fools’ Day—in those cultures where it is celebrated. Although everyone may have an opinion about the ‘honesty’ of other nationalities, this is a good debate starter.”
The Pinocchio Chart on the left will give you an idea of where your nationality ranks on the McCann Lie-O-Meter. McCann’s Truth Hunters asked people around the world how many lies they tell a week.
Those admitting to lying least include the Chinese, the Japanese and the French. The Chinese, on average, claim to lie only 1.82x per week, and rank the lowest globally. Chinese society is driven by deep bonds of friendship and kinship, so a person’s credibility is paramount. Those who lie are considered to have a “glib tongue.”
The Japanese admit that they lie on average just 1.86 times per week, which supports how loyalty and honesty or “shoujiki” are considered essential building blocks to a flourishing society this orderly and structured culture.
The French say they lie 1.96x per week, which suggests that when the French aren’t happy about something, they say it! Perhaps the national rallying cry of “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” encourages both freedom of speech and challenging the status quo.
On the top end of the scale, Nigerians rank highest on the list with the most lies-- 4.76 lies per week—perhaps a necessity in a fast-growing, street-smart culture. Yet, Germans rank second with 4.06 lies per week, which may seem unusual given how German culture is famous for its professionalism and emphasis on accuracy. Perhaps the smallest diversion from the facts is considered a lie in Germany. Indians ranked third by admitting to 4.01 lies per week, which may point to how being economical with the truth may also save face in a reputation-oriented society.
McCann Truth Central is McCann’s global thought leadership unit. With the help of a global network of Truth Central Champions in 109 markets, each study covers over 20 markets to deliver a truly global view. The goal is to uncover what the truth means for brands and to advise how the truth can take a client’s business to new heights.
Dave McCaughan has spent 28+ years at McCann, lived in four cities-- Sydney, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Tokyo-- and visited over 50 other offices in forty+ countries. He led the creation of the company’s global insights programs, helped create its strategic structure, and has been one of the initiators of its long running global training programs.
In the coming weeks, he will be doing more speaking and workshops for corporate events in Macau, Dubai and Tokyo, and more writing-- including the guest editorship of Research World Connect, while starting new newsletter about the interaction of people, brands and media with a focus on Asia.
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