This Gist: We used our data to prove and disprove the efficacy of 10 of Karen Walker’s most infamous quotes. It turns out that some of her entertaining life mottos hold a surprising amount of truth and insight for today’s marketers.

This fall, we’ll all be blessed with another season of the classic sitcom, Will & Grace. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, you absolutely must.

Aside from the main characters Will and Grace, the show is bedazzled with another character, who is arguably one of the most offensive, politically incorrect characters to ever air on television – along with Al Bundy. That said, she’s undoubtedly entertaining, and it will be interesting to see how her character fares in 2017 as opposed to the late ‘90s. Surprisingly, her infinite encyclopedia of one-liners presents somewhat refreshing insights for today’s top marketers.

So, we paired our data up with the famous character (unbeknownst to her), to prove and disprove some of her top nuggets of wisdom.

Shall we get started?

Should You Appeal to Emotion or Humor?
Karen Says: “Hey I have feelings too you know…[Jack and Karen both break out laughing]…Dammit, I was trying to keep a straight face!”
Should You Listen to Karen? The Data Say: Yes. Sort Of.  

Your prospects are people first, buyers second. We all know that. It’s important to maintain a holistic view of your customer’s persona, including how they feel. That said, do emotions always come first?

To find out, let’s look at commercials:

Our polling data show that most Americans resonate with funny commercials over emotional or informative commercials.

As you can see, emotional commercials resonate most with only 9% of U.S. adults, while funny commercials resonate most with 56%.

So, do your prospects have emotion (unlike Karen Walker)? Yes. However, should you always lead with an appeal to emotion? Not necessarily.

On A Similar Note, Should You Appeal to Emotion or Logic?
Karen Says: “You know how I know how? Because I realllyyy think so.”
Are Most People Like Karen? The Data Say: No.

Keep in mind this is self-reported data, but 89% of adults say they are usually most convinced by logical arguments when someone is trying to convince them of something. Only 11% are most convinced by how they feel.

As a fun fact, people who are most influenced by emotional arguments are more likely to actively use Snapchat. Women are also more likely to be convinced by how they feel, in addition to those who make under $50k per year.

Interesting, no?

How Open-Minded, Really, Are Your Prospective Customers?
Karen Says: “You say potato, I say vodka.”
Are Others Like Karen? The Data Say: Yes!

When considering both sides of an argument, 84% of adults say they can usually see how both sides could be right or wrong. Although that percentage is slightly on the decline among Millennials, it’s still more than significant.

Overall, this is good news! If you slip up, your prospects might give you the benefit of the doubt.

Are Your Prospects As Confused as Karen?
Karen Says: “Honey, what’s this, what’s happening, what’s going on here??”
Should You Listen to Karen? The Data Say: Yes!

We’ve just endured one of the weirdest and most emotionally demanding years in history (well, depending on who you are), and there are very few people who really know what’s going on.

Take bank-switchers for example. Since November’s shocking election, we’ve seen a significant change in the profiles of consumers who are likely to switch retail banks. Before the election, Democrats were more likely to switch banks, while Republicans are now more likely to make a switch. We’ve seen a similar trend in other industries, from insurance to advertising, as well.

So, long story short: Everyone is confused. Make their lives easier by providing them with some certainty in this confusing time of ours. Be simple and clear with your outreach – and acutely communicate the value you can add to their lives.

What Do Your Prospects Splurge On?
Karen says: “Honey my catchphrase is: 24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case, you figure it out.”
Should You Listen to Karen? The Data Say: No – But She Brings Up A Good Point!

Though Karen brings up an interesting idea that people need, rather – want – all sorts of things to make it through their crazy days, beer might not cut it. To read all about liquor preferences, you can check out one of our past blog posts entitled: Eyes on the Wine: Liquor Preferences by the Numbers.

Spoiler alert: beer is the most popular alcohol among adults 25+, so there is some truth to Karen’s madness. However, alcohol doesn’t seem to be a major staple in how people make it through their days and lives.

To see what we mean, let’s check out “splurging” habits. Why? Because you are responsible for adding value to your prospect’s lives, and to do that, you need to know how consumers add value to their own lives.

Our data show that most U.S. consumers splurge on clothing or an expensive meal.

When things get tough and your prospects need to splurge on themselves, only 3% run to expensive liquor. What really does it for most people, it seems, are clothing and food. 15% go on clothing shopping sprees when they splurge, and 12% buy an expensive meal.

Now, I’m sure you weren’t planning on sending all your leads bottles of liquor Karen Walker-style (although if you were, no judgment), so this may seem irrelevant. However, the core value here is to help you get an idea of what everyday consumers lunge for when they have the means, so you can oblige if possible.

People Are Just As Quirky As You Are
Karen Says: “Honey, I’d drink the alcohol out of a deodorant stick.”
Should You Listen to Karen? The Data Say: Yes!

No, we don’t mean Karen’s right about drinking alcohol out of a deodorant stick… But, what she’s showing is that everybody has their quirks.

An example, you ask? Our data show that 49% of people crack their knuckles, 29% of people bite their nails, and 13% do both. As an interesting note, they all skew heavily male, Gen X, and Hispanic.

If you’re interested in specific quirky correlations and findings to aid in your marketing efforts, check out our recent eBook: 102 Cool Consumer Insights!

(Wine) Drinkers Volunteer More
Karen Says: “What can I do? How can I help? What are we drinking?”
Are other drinkers as helpful as Karen? The Data Say: Yes!

Like Karen Walker, people who drink wine at least twice a week (or in her case, twice an hour) are more likely than all other alcohol drinkers to volunteer. Conversely, beer-drinkers are least likely to volunteer.

And here’s an interesting meta-fact: Frequent clear spirit drinkers (Karen Walker’s favorite) are 2x more likely to watch TV sitcoms. So, is it safe to say that Karen would watch Will & Grace if she wasn’t a core character?  

Another interesting tidbit is that 45% of frequent wine drinkers are women, and they are more likely to have a household income over $150,000 per year.

Do Your Prospects Save or Spend?
Karen Says: “Gosh, I just love gambling here in Vegas. Sure, I may lose $100,000 but the drinks are free so it evens out!”
Does Karen Have a Point? The Data Say: Yes!

Most U.S. Adults prefer to spend rather than save! Check it out:

Our survey data show that 68% of consumers spend rather than save money.

On the flip side, 38% of U.S. Adults say they manage their money “Pretty well,” and 19% say they manage their money “Very well.” Only 15% admit to managing their money poorly.

Unlike Karen (who is undeniably irresponsible with her money), wealthy U.S. Adults are much more likely to say they manage their money “Very Well.”

It’s My World, You’re Just Living In It
Karen says: “Nobody matters but me, good night.”
Should You Listen to Karen? The Data Say: Yes!

Like Karen, many consumers think that they’re at the center of the universe – and it’s understandable. They live in an era where everything is personalized to them and their preferences, so they expect to be catered to across all facets of their lives. So, keep this in mind…


So, there you have it. We hope these Walker-inspired insights inspired you to both follow and shy away from Karen Walker’s footsteps in your efforts. At the least, maybe you’re now a bit more excited for the Fall premiere.

For us, it has been incredibly fun to connect data with Karen Walker. Who would have thought that they go together?