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To regard the "survey" as anything but a marketing ploy is naive. It is based
on Cialdini's basic work on commitment--once you have stated an opinion, there
is a strong tendency to subsequently reiterate and support that opinion. The
same ploy was evident in "contests" that require a customer to state (in 25 or
50 words) why the xyz widget is best. The contest is irrelevant; the important
thing is to force prospective customers to formulate a response indicating they
prefer xyz widget. Once stated, consistency kicks in big time, and requires
that the customer act, walk, and talk in concert with his or her stated opinion.
For an interesting insight, try Cialdini's "Influence" or any or Robert Baron's
works on social psychology. If you think it is fluff, bear in mind that it was
used by the Chinese in Korea to turn US POWs at an alarming rate. (Not personal
opinion--see Dr. Cialdini's work, and Baron's work on police interrogation
techniques to extract willing "confessions" to crimes not committed.)
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