Monday, February 13, 2012

Aunt Leanne and the Nielsen Ratings Incident

We got selected to participate in the Nielsen television ratingsI guess the nice folks over at Nielsen thought we represented your average American family; mom, dad, a couple of kids, white picket fence...So they sent us four little booklets (one for each TV in the home) and asked us to record the shows we watch on television for two weeks.  We don't watch a whole lot of TV, and we really only turn on two of our four television sets, but the Nielsen representative that I spoke with told me that it's important that we return all four booklets, even if there was no viewing on that particular television set.  "I think we can handle that," I assured the woman on the phone and I tried to suppress my squeals of delight when she told me that in exchange for our participation, we would receive $30!  Woo Hoo!

I have a business degree with an emphasis in marketing so this sort of thing is right up my alley. I set the little booklets by each of our TVs and vowed to put forth a good faith effort to complete the assignment to the best of my ability. Here is a sample below:

Fast forward to this past Saturday.  I'm driving Leanne back to my mom's house when suddenly she reaches into her Hannah Montana backpack and pulls out one of our Nielsen booklets!

Me: Leanne!  Where did you get that?!
Leanne: By the TV in the guest room.
Me: Leanne, you can't have that.  I'm supposed to send it back to Nielsen!
Leanne: But I need it!  It helps me keep track of my shows.

Sure enough, she had filled it out, cover to cover, with a comprehensive list of her favorite programs.  Here is a sample page from Leanne's booklet:
So I guess this one will be mailed back to Nielsen with a note attached that goes a little something like this:

Dear Nielsen Representative,

Attached please find the television diary from our guest bedroom.  While I cannot read it verbatim, I can assure you that it is a complete listing of The Disney Channel's evening line-up peppered with a few Full House re-runs.  While I'm certain the enclosed booklet solidifies my exclusion from participation in future rating cycles, should you wish to study a specific market segment that addresses the viewing habits of 34 year-olds with Down syndrome, my sister is available and happy to help.

The "Female Head of Household" from what was formally perceived as the average American family

We're anything but average.  And we like it that way.
P.S. Can I still have the $30?
P.S.S.  We accept cash, checks, and Starbucks gift cards


  1. Omg, that's hilarious!!! Love her!

    Btw, funny you should write about this - I was just wondering the other day if Neilsen still had to do these manual surveys anymore now that everyone's using digital TV. Can't they just tap into the digital signal and see what people are watching and what they're recording?

  2. Love that smile of yours Leanne! We love the Disney Channel too.:)

  3. Love love love! Reminds me of when I worked hard on my science project in elementary school for weeks...and then...someone ate my science project.

    And yes, mealworms WERE harmed in the making of that special family memory!


  4. OMG. I'm laughing HYSTERICALLY!!! Can't we all have our own Leanne?!?!?!?

  5. ha! I just love Leanne...
    and I thought that with the Neilson thing they hooked something up to your tv so they can monitor...
    learn something new everyday

  6. Classic! Oh I am laughing. Let us know when your check arrives lol

  7. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! I was literally crying I was laughing so hard...Aunt LeAnne never ceases to amaze me :-) Thanks for sharing.

  8. Listen. Sometimes a handy little booklet that makes sure you get your daily John Stamos fix is a good thing to have. Are you eating Greek yogurt yet, Leanne? Uncle Jesse is smokin' hot.

    Cannot stop could have been ROLLIN' in frappucino money, Leanne. ROLLIN' in it.

  9. Such a fun and witty post - you sure do have a way of putting things in words!

  10. I am laughing so hard. Found this blog through your comment on Blessed by Brenna. I have a niece who is 21 now (I think!) and has DS. She is a hoot! She recently became an aunt and just kept repeating to me "Guess what? I'm an aunt now" over and over. She is so proud and so precious, and I think all DS people are!