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McCann Erickson Reveals Time Trumps Money in New 'Truth About Affluence' Study

One in Three Affluents Agree That the Way They Spend their Time is More Important Than How They Spend their Money

NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For the 'Rich Kids of Instagram' and Sofia Coppola's 'Bling Ring,' affluence is all about the external trappings of conspicuous wealth. However, the newest global study out today from McCann Truth Central reveals that in fact, the primary indicators of affluence are more subtle and harder for brands and individuals to detect.

"Ultimately, we discovered that 'time' is more important than money and that affluent people most wanted to spend that precious resource with their families, enjoying enriching experiences with the people they love the most," said Laura Simpson, Global Director, McCann Truth Central. "To succeed in today's market, there's an opportunity for brands to develop a more modern understanding of the subtleties of affluence and resist the urge to rely solely on the obvious visual cues."

"The Truth About Affluence" study is based on a quantitative 4,000-person online survey across 16 countries and 21 cities representing key centers of commerce and culture around the world. Qualitative in-home "dinner parties" with groups of affluent individuals in key cities were also conducted on six continents.

According to the study, depictions of affluent people engaging in exclusive and opulent activities, set apart from the average consumer are outdated. Today the affluent male archetype is no longer the silver fox investor perched behind the wheel of his yacht. His hypothetical wife is not just a trophy with a vacant look on her face.

The new rules of engagement required in today's era of stealth wealth include: 1) Recognizing that Time Trumps Money; 2) Honing Your Rich Radar and 3) Building Fluency in Affluency with a Global Perspective.

1.Recognizing that Time Trumps Money

The research seeks to understand what truly matters to this unique group of people.  Is it money that they are after, or something else? Overall, Affluents agree that the way you spend your money is less important than how you spend your time. Time is actually recognized as the most precious resource (33%), more so than mental energy (28%) and physical energy (16%), personal space (13%), or finally money itself (10%).

"There are two currencies in the world: money and time," said a Chinese male dinner party guest, "Money has a price, but time is priceless."

2. Honing Your Rich Radar to Locate the Stealthy Wealthy

Surprisingly, even affluent people have a hard time identifying fellow wealthy individuals the study found. The vast majority of global respondents (84%) agree that nowadays it is harder to tell how affluent someone is just by looking at them. In fact, the primary indicators of affluence were intangible. The top affluence indicator globally for both men and women was "poise and posture" followed by facial expression.

Secondary indicators were more external. For men, the next most important factor was their "shoes" (31%) followed by their "coat" (22%) and then "jewelry (16%)."  Men's shoes were particularly important affluence indicators in Paris, Sydney, New York, and London. For women, "jewelry" was cited as the top gauge of affluence, ranked number one in Europe as well as in Brazil. A woman's "bag" and then her choice of "cosmetics" followed as signs of wealth.

3. Building Fluency in Affluency Requires A Global Perspective

With affluence becoming more globalized, brands should look not only to the local community but also the global community to understand affluent people. Conducted solely in metropolitan areas, the survey sought to determine how affluent people viewed the various leading centers of culture and commerce around the world.

When global respondents were asked to identify the leading characteristic that led to their own affluence, 69% of Parisians said hard work, 42% of Stockholmers said passion and nearly one-third of the Affluents surveyed in Mexico City cited competitiveness.

Globally, respondents agreed that Paris is still the center of culture and fashion and New York is the #1 city in which non-New Yorker Affluents would most want to live. And not only was New York seen as the city where the most innovative people live and work, but it was also chosen as "the world capital of tomorrow." However, Shanghai and Dubai were not far behind, and were ranked respectively second and third as prospective world capitals of tomorrow.

About McCann Truth Central

McCann Truth Central is McCann Erickson's global intelligence unit, with representation in more than 100 countries around the world. The group is dedicated to uncovering human truths to help brands make their mark in the world. For more about Truth Central or to access The Truth About Affluence or previous Truth Studies, visit:

Methodology for The Truth About Affluence

The online study is based on of the top 20% of the various populations as defined by annual household income and net worth.  The 21 cities representing key centers of commerce and culture around the world included New York, Miami, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Paris, Milan, Berlin, Stockholm, Mexico City, Bogota, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bombay, and Sydney.

About McCann Erickson

McCann Erickson ( operates 180 offices in more than 120 countries and boasts a client roster that includes preeminent global marketers and many of the world's most famous brands. The agency is a unit of McCann Worldgroup, a leading global marketing solutions network, comprised of a collaborative roster of best-in-class agencies that emphasize creativity, innovation and performance. Clients include leading global brands such as American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Coca-Cola, General Motors, General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, L'Oreal, MasterCard, Maybelline, Nestle, Sony and Unilever.

SOURCE McCann Erickson

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