Small Talk

Beauty vs. brains

March 21st, 2012

In the age-old battle of bigger vs. better and brains vs. brawn, score one for better and smarter. smart USA and Harris Interactive today released results from a survey  that found Americans deeply value smarts over looks and hold the belief that less, not more, is more.

The survey, which was conducted online in December among more than 2,000 Americans aged 18 and older, found that for all the talk about reality television and celebrities behaving badly, the majority of Americans (88%) - both young and old, male and female - would prefer to date a person who is intelligent and philanthropic like George Clooney or Reese Witherspoon, over someone with a pretty/handsome face like Megan Fox or Alex Rodriguez.

The smart USA survey also found that:
Nearly 7 out of 10 (69%) Americans would prefer their spouse to speak another language than have washboard abs
Almost 3 in 5 (59%) Americans would rather have their partner gain 20 I.Q. points than lose 20 pounds
An astonishing 95% of women and 80% of men would prefer to date someone who is smart and philanthropic like Reese Witherspoon or George Clooney than someone with a pretty/handsome face like Megan Fox or Alex Rodriguez

While the last decade is often seen as a period of gluttonous consumption, McMansions, and Super-Size meals, the old adage that less is more seems to be ringing true in today’s post-recession era .  The survey found that three out of four Americans prefer to receive a present in a small package over a large one. Those who thought bigger was better tended to be young, a preference that shrinks as people get older and wiser (34% of Americans age 18-34 preferred bigger presents compared to 22% of those age 45-54 and 17% of those age 55+).

Overall, on the subject of preferring less over more:
97% of Americans believe that at least some of the items in their household are junk (i.e., they could easily get rid of it)
Nearly one out of 10 (9%)  Americans believe they can part with a full half of their stuff
9% of Americans believe that 51-100% of the items in their household are junk, indicating that the supposed American obsession with size and quantity is overstated

"The fact that a majority of Americans are deeply concerned with right-sizing their lifestyles and making intelligent choices shows why smart has so much curb appeal today," says smart USA General Manager Tracey Matura. "People are rethinking whether bigger is actually better and focusing instead on value. They're looking at how they can cut down the clutter in their lives, whether in their choice of vehicle, home or other purchases, so they have fewer, better things rather than simply more, more, more. And smart is proof that good things do come in small packages."

Our smart car rental in Italy, 2004

Our smart car rental in Italy, 2004

smart, a Daimler AG brand, is a small car whose model-line consists of five fortwo models. You may have seen some zipping around Oahu; they're adorable. The unique models, classified as ultra-low emissions vehicles by the State of California Air Resources Board, are just under nine feet long, 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide, and surprisingly roomy inside.  According to a smart USA press release, all smart vehicles are designed to be 85% recyclable and over 95% reclaimable, and over 48,000 smarts have been sold in the U.S. to date.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Smart from December 6-8, 2011 among 2,246 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

4 Responses to “Beauty vs. brains”

  1. M:

    Hello Diane,
    I still like bigger is better if you know what I mean.... lol

  2. kuunakanaka:

    aloha Diane:

    who's Megan Fox?

  3. Po'ke man.:

    What about Kim Khardashian? Still very desireable if you ask me. I keep lots of plastic jugs around, even if I could cash it in. Don't know when I might need a dozen of them. Maybe hurricane season?

  4. snow:

    i'm not sure if putting george clooney and reese witherspoon on the inteligent and philanthropic side makes any sense since they are both great looking people! i'd take george clooney - looks wise - over alex rodriguez any day. additionally, the gossip about megan fox and alex rodriguez makes them sound like they are not-so-nice people, so all the more reason to pick george and reese!

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