Media Research People Have ESP!

Ho hum – another proprietary  tool’. 

However, this time, it’s not re-packaging the same old bollocks with an exciting new name … oh no … this time it’s a tool that’s going to change the World of communication.  Yep, Media Planning and Buying Company, GROUP M, has created a ‘tool’ that can measure how much advertising ‘engages’ consumers ’emotionally and/or behaviourally.  BRILLIANT!

Sorry, but am we the only ones who think this sort of thing actually creates an greater divide between brand and public?

Don’t get us wrong, we love science answering the unanswerable – but the thing is, advertising actually isn’t a science … it’s actually bloody simple! 

The problem is business doesn’t allow people to try new things – and we understand why, because mistakes are bloody expensive. However this has resulted in most marketers only approving stuff that is quantifiable because that way, the big scaredy cats can show ‘data’ to explain why they did what they did if things do go pear shaped!

Funny thing is, that for all the research and information available, there are less successful brands than at any point in history – even when research has said the product/idea/ad will be a great success!

A colleague of ours, Fred, has written a wonderful paper on the ‘Rise Of The Focus Group’ [www.fredriksarnblad.wordpress.com/2006/05/09/goodbye-innovation/Don’t get him wrong, he loves research – it’s valuable in helping guide the development of communication – it’s just that in the wrong hands [and it’s in alot of wrong hands at the moment] it can screw up ‘potential’ better than any teacher or parent.

Our problem is that we can’t help  feel this ‘engagement tool’ is going to screw up creativity and imagination to an even greater extent … because apart from the results being reliant on the interpretation of the individual ‘expert decoder’, it’s still asking people to ‘switch on’ their rational side of the brain [even if it is done subconsciously] and this will naturally skew the ‘findings’ because in the ‘real World’, everything we do is emotionally led, rationally justified.

Anyway, you can read Group M’s hype at … http://adage.com/article?article_id=110187 … and bare in mind that media companies have a long history of launching ‘new tools’ pronouncing they can save the World of communication when in reality, they tend to end up doing the same old thing they’ve always done. 

For all their talk about the ever-changing media consumption habits of the consumer, if you analyse where the majority of the media money is invested by them, you’ll find it’s generally in the same old QUANTIFIABLE media they’ve always used.  Hmmmm ….

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