Moms' Reptilian Desire for Cleanliness

Our company's on-going focus group research with mothers throughout the world continues to demonstrate how critical cleanliness is in deciding which places they'll take their children. 'Clean' continually ranks at the top of importance with 'safe,' ahead of before entertainment, customer service or other components of a business.

G. Clotaire Rapaille, who owns the Boca Raton, FL, market research firm Archetype Discoveries Worldwide, has an evolutionary-psychology explanation for this universal phenomenon. He says cleanliness for moms plays into a reptilian desire to make sure their genes survive. "You are not just cleaning the table," says Rapille. "You are saving the whole family."

That explains what we consistently heard mothers telling us in our focus groups during the days of Discovery Zone, or DZ, which Discovery Zone shortened its name to so it would better fit on its stores' signs. Moms told us that DZ stood for disease zone and dirt zone. Based upon Rapille's explanation, they stopped going to DZ to save their children and their genes. The result of moms' reptilian desires? Discovery Zone became toast.