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Cell phone interruptus
The highest percentage was found in Germany and Spain, where 22% of users interrupted sex to answer their cell phones; the lowest was in Italy, where only 7% reported doing so. In the U.S., 15% say they practice cell phone interruptus.
The findings are from a new global study, "Wireless Works: Exploring New Brand Connections," from Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide and Proximity Worldwide that surveyed more than 3,000 mobile phone owners. Proximity is BBDO's direct-marketing network.
The purpose of the study was to "better understand how consumers interact with their phone," according to a BBDO spokesman.
The findings arrive as the wireless industry is aggressively ramping up its effort to promote the cell phone as a content- and advertising-delivering device to potentially rival that of TV or the Internet. Cynics, however, question whether most consumers will want to watch programming and ads on a screen hardly larger than the face of a wristwatch. Wireless content evangelists rebut that the emotional connection between individual consumers and their cell phones is an extraordinary one.
The new study suggests that may be true, at least for part of the population.
'Can't bear to miss a call'
"People can't bear to miss a call," said Christine Hannis, head of communications for BBDO Europe. "Everybody thinks the next call can be something really exciting. And getting so many calls proves social success. It fulfills a fundamental insecurity."
In some ways, the mobile phone's attachment to ego might even give automobiles a run for the money. Almost half of all respondents think a cell phone says as much about a person as a car. In the U.S., less than one-third of the audience feels this way; however, in China, the proportion is 70%.
All day long
The survey also found that 78% of respondents have their cell phones in reach 16 or more hours per day. In Russia, 89% have their phone on for long hours, while 75% keep their phone on most of the day in the U.S.
More than half of the respondents, 52%, said they used a mobile phone to flirt.