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Posts in category 'Advertising'

20 August 2014

Facebook uses ethnography to deliver more relevant ads

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“As researchers focusing on Facebook’s advertising, we led research trips with a cross-functional team of product managers, marketers, and engineers to Indonesia, Turkey, and South Africa to develop a solid understanding of cultural differences across these countries. [...] Forming a richer understanding of how businesses and people connect with each other—both on and off of Facebook—around the world works will help us develop better ad solutions that drive a positive feedback cycle: we will make better experiences for the people who use Facebook and for the businesses and brands who want to connect with their core customers and prospects.”

Read more here.

20 December 2013

Screen Life: The View from the Sofa

Screen_Life_bubble

A new study carried out for Thinkbox by COG Research and designed to help the advertising community understand the context of multi-screening (watching TV and simultaneously using an internet-connected device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet).

Using a combination of research techniques which examined over 700 hours of TV viewing gathered from filming the living rooms of 23 multi-screening households in the UK, psycho-physiological analysis, digital ethnography and online research among 2,000 people with TV and online access.

Here you can read about the research context, the methodology and key findings from the report which reveals how TV and TV advertising benefits from second screens.

Thinkbox has also posted a 2.5 hour webcast on the topic, whereas Research Magazine provides a broader overview, bringing the results of various studies together in one comprehensive and long article.

24 October 2013

Is UX design the next big thing?

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UX design explained for advertisers:

“Here is where the world of communication and the world of computing starts to merge in intent. Systems are to be used. Products are to be experienced. Users and consumers are the rulers. Technology, if it has to gain acceptance and become successful, needs to provide a great user experience. No longer is it sufficient to be effective, it must be proved first as a delightful, worthwhile experience that will turn users into proponents. Remember how Mac users praise their possession as if they hold stock in the company! Lovemarks that the Saatchi’s often speak of cannot be created solely by the proclamation of the advertiser’s intent, but gets translated into experiences at the user/consumer level. User Experience (UX) goes much beyond creating aesthetically pleasing User Interfaces (UI). To give an advertising parallel, UI is the layout of the ad or the edit of the commercial, whereas UX Design is the intent, the greater scheme of things, the advertising strategy that ensures desired response.”

(via InfoDesign)

10 February 2013

Interview with Michael Griffiths, Director of Ethnographic Research, Ogilvy & Mather China

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Michael B Griffiths is Director of Ethnography at Ogilvy & Mather, Greater China, Associate Research Fellow, White Rose East Asia Centre, and External Research Associate, Centre for International Business, University of Leeds, UK. He is also the author of the recent book Consumers and Individuals in China: Standing Out, Fitting In.

Book abstract:

Breaking new ground in the study of Chinese urban society, this book applies critical discourse analysis to ethnographic data gathered in Anshan, a third-tier city and market in northeast China. The book confronts the – still widespread – notion that Chinese consumers are not “real” individuals, and in doing so represents an ambitious attempt to give a new twist to the structure versus agency debates in social theory. To this end, Michael B. Griffiths shows how claims to virtues such as authenticity, knowledge, civility, sociable character, moral proprietary and self-cultivation emerge from and give shape to social interaction. Data material for this path-breaking analysis is drawn from informants as diverse as consumerist youths, dissident intellectuals, enterprising farmers, retired Party cadres, the rural migrant staff of an inner-city restaurant, the urban families dependent on a machine-repair workshop, and a range of white-collar professionals.

Consumers and Individuals in China: Standing out, fitting in, will appeal to sociologists, anthropologists, and cultural studies scholars, China Studies generalists, and professionals working at the intersection of culture and business in China. The vivid descriptions of living and doing fieldwork in China also mean that those travelling there will find the book stimulating and useful

Shanghaiist interviewed Michael Griffiths (part one | part two) about his book and insights:

Chinese people – and this is what my research seeks to show – like people everywhere, take up positions in relation to dominant cultural narratives or discourses.

This doesn’t mean that all those things about Confucianism (for example) are not true or relevant, it just means that – in terms of what individual people do on the ground in an everyday way – it’s intensely more complicated than that.
So that’s the sort of broader background to my book. The real value of the research is the way I set out to show that. It’s a systematic analysis; basically its structural anthropology though in a postmodern way. It’s about looking at the different ways that people position themselves through their speaking and acting, and disaggregating that into, let’s say, the most reducible … I’m tempted to say elements but that’s not right… discourses. Discourses are simply systems of meaning that have a certain internal integrity whilst also being connected to everything else.”

The first part of the interview is more general, while the second part strongly focused on cultural context of the advertising industry in China.

11 January 2013

How research misses the human behind the demographic

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Deutsch’s Douglas Van Praet discusses how focus-group feedback, and the whole notion of the consumer, are misguided and how research should focus on understanding the unconscious and improving human lives.

“How [market] research studies are done is at sharp odds with what science now knows. The elephant in the room is that the vast majority of our decisions are made unconsciously. What is a no-brainer for any cognitive scientist remains mind-boggling to marketers. The conscious mind is simply not running the show, but we’ve created an entire industry pretending that it does.

Advertisers are doubling down on this myth, investing in exhaustive investigations of self-reported preferences, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. These deceptions become guideposts for product and campaign development. For $150 and a ham sandwich, panelists are drilled for hours in formal focus groups before two-way mirrors and cleverly concealed microphones that elicit groupthink and inauthenticity. The best become “professional respondents” glibly dominating groups on the topic du jour–from potato chip to microchip.

The problem is we’re profoundly social beings having spent 99% of our evolution relying on vital resources from tribal affiliates whose opinions mattered. Group rejection likely meant a death sentence. So it’s no surprise we still only put our best face forward while artfully maneuvering ourselves competitively in the pecking order.

The brain is designed to hide most of our intentions and promote self-confidence, an adaptive function that improves lives and prevents information overload. So we invent stories and believe our lies and confabulations. Social science experiments reveal that we are inherently self-righteous and consistently overrate our knowledge, autonomy, and abilities. We say advertising doesn’t influence us even though sales say otherwise. And we maintain these self-serving delusions when wired to a lie detector, which means we are lying to ourselves and not intentionally to the experimenters.

Douglas Van Praet is the author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing. He is also Executive Vice President at agency Deutsch L.A., where his responsibilities include Group Planning Director for the Volkswagen account. Van Praet’s approach to advertising and marketing draws from unconscious behaviorism and applies neurobiology, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral economics to business problems.

2 October 2012

Anthropological study by Google on our magic relationship with mobile devices

mobilemeaning

What is the emotional relationship people truly have with the mobile space and how they make meaning there? To answer this, Google conducted an anthropological study to gain a better understanding of how people feel about, relate to and find meaning in the mobile space, and how brands can engage their consumers in more emotionally resonant and impactful ways.

“We hired an anthropologist to interview dozens of ordinary mobile device owners and observe them as they interacted with their smartphones. The first thing we found is that the phone’s pocket size is anything but a flaw — in fact, it’s the key to understanding what it really means.

Anthropology teaches us that in every culture, miniatures possess the power to unlock imaginations. Whether it’s a dollhouse, toy truck, or some other tiny talisman, miniatures look and feel real, but their size gives us the permission to suspend disbelief, daydream, and play. Remember The Nutcracker? In between pirouettes, a toy nutcracker comes to life, defeats an evil mouse, and whisks the heroine away to a magical kingdom. That, in a nutshell, is the story we implicitly tell ourselves about our miniature computers — one of youth, freedom, and possessing the key to a much larger world.

“Because it’s in my pocket I somehow squeeze this time in for various things — and only because I think it just sits in my pocket,” one of our subjects told us.

The screens may be small, but they serve as gateways to the gigantic. We see this power manifest in insights gleaned from the anthropologist’s observations. Our mobile devices help us fully actualize our best self, or what we call the Quicksilver Self; they engage us to create a shared culture, the New Tribalism; and they help us to make sense of the physical world around us, an act we describe as Placemaking. Understanding the deeper levels at which individuals, customers, are finding meaning in mobile will enable marketers to put this powerful medium to its best use.”

Report by Think With Google

10 June 2012

Marty Kaplan: From Attention to Engagement (video)

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Barcelona Media, an interdisciplinary center of research and innovation, hosted Lear Center director Marty Kaplan to speak at its 10th anniversary celebration on March 6, 2012.

His talk was titled “From Attention to Engagement: The Transformation of the Content Industry.”

Digital technology has increased competition for audience attention, increased audience control of media, and fragmented the mass audience. But the same technology that threatens traditional business models is also providing new data streams and new ways to define, measure, and monetize audience attention. The media/entertainment sector, which traditionally has derived value from distribution, is finding new currencies to price advertising and discovering data mining as a profit center.

Kaplan, founding director of the Norman Lear Center for research on entertainment, media and society, explored the impact on the attention economy of new metrics for the audience.

Watch video
Download slides

Marty Kaplan was also a recent guest on the acclaimed Moyers & Company television interview programme, hosted by veteran journalist Bill Moyers. Kaplan talked about how big money and big media have coupled to create a ‘Disney World’ of democracy.

7 June 2012

Does your phone know how happy you are?

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Kit Eaton explores the coming of age of the emotion-recognition industry.

“Because the smartphones we all carry contain sophisticated computing power, cloud computing connections and, increasingly, a front-facing webcam, it’s easy to see that the next generation of advertising will determine how you’re feeling and subsequently serve up information related to your mood. And it’s not just the question of detecting your mood, it’s all about how this leads the person expressing the mood to discover new information. Essentially advertising will be more relevant to the moment, sophisticated games will react to your emotionality, and even your cars will route you to entirely new destinations based on how you’re feeling.”

Read article

27 March 2012

I’m being followed: how Google (and 104 other companies) are tracking us on the web

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Who are these companies and what do they want from me? Alexis Madrigal’s voyage into the invisible business that funds the web.

“This morning, if you opened your browser and went to NYTimes.com, an amazing thing happened in the milliseconds between your click and when the news about North Korea and James Murdoch appeared on your screen. Data from this single visit was sent to 10 different companies, including Microsoft and Google subsidiaries, a gaggle of traffic-logging sites, and other, smaller ad firms. Nearly instantaneously, these companies can log your visit, place ads tailored for your eyes specifically, and add to the ever-growing online file about you.” [...]

“Behind the details, however, are a tangle of philosophical issues that are at the heart of the struggle between privacy advocates and online advertising companies: What is anonymity? What is identity? How similar are humans and machines? This essay is an attempt to think through those questions.”

Read article

6 August 2011

How to determine what media airline passengers will choose while travelling

Airport
Kevin Miller, global head of insight at in-flight magazine publisher Ink discusses how the environment impacts airline travellers psychologically and in turn affects their choice of media.

“The airline passenger journey, from home to boarding the plane and beyond, is a dynamic and emotional experience, with many media messages and retail choices along the way. But how can we measure these changing emotions and the effect they have on the passenger’s state of mind? And what messages types are most likely to be understood in these states of mind?

Recent research by psychologists, specialising in the field of ethnography (the observation of respondents in the natural environment) has identified the passenger experience to be an unusually highly dynamic and stimulating experience. Hannah Knox, a British-based behavioural psychologist has described airports as “An increasingly intensive use of space where anything might happen…”

Red Border has carried out in-airport and cross-media ethnography, identifying distinct emotional zones in the flyer’s journey, as well as the experience of magazine reading.”

Read article

20 November 2010

Peter Merholz on advertising and marketing agencies delivering UX design

Peter Merholz
Peter Merholz, president of Adaptive Path, has written a long and eloquent rant against advertising and marketing agencies proclaiming to do user experience design.

These agencies, he says, do not come at user experience from an honest place. “Ad agencies, in particular, are soulless holes, the precepts of whose business runs wholly contrary to good user experience practice.”

Read article (and make sure to also read the more than 70 comments so far)

27 March 2010

AP’s ethnographic studies look for solutions to news and ad “fatigue”

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A new study by the Associated Press has come to the conclusion that consumers are “tired, even annoyed, by the current experience of advertising,” and that, as a result, they don’t trust very much of it. But at the same time, AP found, consumers do want information relevant to their needs, as well as ways to socialize that information.

Although it tends to move cautiously and deliberately, AP has been subtly and quietly introducing tools aimed at improving relevance and socialization, and may have plans for an ad-supported aggregation business that applies what it has been learning. [...]

The findings are part of a study called “A new model for communication,” released two weeks ago with little fanfare and no press coverage, even by AP’s own reporters (pdf link to report). The research was done in conjunction with Context-Based Research Group of Baltimore, and was a followup to a 2008 study called “A new model for news” (pdf link to report). Both studies used ethnographic research techniques to do a ‘deep dive’ into consumer behavior and motivations. [...]

To combat “ad annoyance,” the study recommends restoring trust, noting that social vetting of information is now often “filling a role historically played by trusted packagers of information, such as local newspapers, which connected readers with advertisers in a trusted environment.” This led the study team at Context to suggest a what they call Communitas, consisting of collaboration, social contract (understood rules), kinship, honesty, reciprocity and relevance.

Read article

5 December 2009

Bill Buxton, Martin Raymond & Anna Kirah presentations – Imagine 09

Imagine09
Bill Buxton, Martin Raymond and Anna Kirah were some of the speakers at Imagine09, a conference organised by Microsoft Advertising on 28 October in London.

Living in the age of turbulence
Anna Kirah, partner, CPH Design (and former senior design anthropologist, Microsoft Corporation)
Anna explores how advertisers can flourish in the new Age of Turbulence by understanding the needs of people in their everyday and not so everyday lives. This is the age where people’s values, their needs and their desires change abruptly, and where people no longer view their ‘digital’ and ‘real’ lives as separate.
Reflecting on the impact people have on technology, as well as the impact technology has on people, Anna will introduce ‘BIG SISTER’, a concept where benevolent, caring, technology guides you through the Age of Turbulence with seamless convergence.

Dreamtelligence
Martin Raymond, co-founder, The Future Laboratory
Barack Obama describes it as the ‘audacity of hope’, innovators, planners, academics and authors are referring to it as Dreamtelligence, a new vital and visionary way to use play, fantasy, dream- thinking and innovation to kickstart ideas and stimulate consumer engagement. Martin unpacks the trends and outlines what dreamtelligence means to digital business amidst the continued growth of a content-savvy consumer.

The long nose of innovation
Bill Buxton, principal researcher, Microsoft
Hear Bill Buxton share his vision for ‘The Long Nose of Innovation’ addressing the impact of future technologies on advertisers and marketers.

Watch videos

3 November 2009

The Times’ Innovation Portfolio

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The New York Times interactive group creates an online encyclopedia of all their stunning inventions, reports Cliff Kuang on Fast Company.

“The Times interactive team has been creating path-breaking experiments in infographics and interaction design. All of which are now collected in its terrific new Innovation Portfolio.

The pieces called out on the site–each of which is represented by a bubble–range from infographics of public sentiment (“What on word describes your mood”) to ultra-polished interactive features, which elegantly summarize massive feature stories.”

And apparently, the site was designed to inspire conversations about how to apply immersive storytelling techniques to… the advertising process.

Read full story

2 March 2009

Mapping a new, mobile internet

Mobile Internet
Business Week reports on how a nascent industry involving the likes of Google and Nokia is pinpointing the movements and behaviors of millions of cell-phone users.

“Marketers have long dreamed of zeroing in on shoppers, whether in a mall or a competitor’s store, and hitting them with targeted ads or coupons. (The privacy implications are a big deal, as we’ll see.) But the business ramifications of the Next Net stretch beyond marketing.

Mobile data also promise to help researchers fine-tune transit systems, study the spread of crime or disease, and even monitor and optimize the movements of workers. For many businesses, the coming flood of mobile information could bestow a competitive edge.”

Read full story
View slideshow
Watch video

10 December 2008

Whitepaper: The glittering allure of the mobile society

Glittering allure
Mobile advertising specialist Alan Moore, founder of the communication consultancy SMLXL, was asked by Microsoft US to write a paper on the future of the mobile society. It is available as a whitepaper.

“When it comes to mobile telecommunications, it is often said that what works in one country, does not work in another. I wholeheartedly refute that argument. Human beings are more alike than we care to admit. We are programmed to be a “we species”—a social networking species with an innate need to connect and communicate. I often muse on the reason why SMS is ubiquitous as a communication mechanism. It is because we as a species do, in fact, constantly communicate via short messages, a behaviour that we learnt millennia ago.

That is why we are inevitably moving towards the Mobile Society, where our mobile devices become the remote control for our daily lives. Because any technology that allows us to better connect, communicate, share knowledge and information, and get stuff done will be widely adopted.

The Mobile Society is completely different to the industrial society. It requires a new logic and a new way of thinking of how to create business, civil governance, health care, and education. The mobile society is seen as both an opportunity and a threat because it signifies a reordering of business models, new flows of communication, and the appearance of new gate keepers in the information distribution wars. Resistance is a natural response when society changes structurally. As a consequence, there are differing points of view on what exactly the Mobile Society can deliver, depending on who you are.”

Download whitepaper

(via London Calling)

31 October 2008

Nokia on somebody else’s phone

Somebody else's phone
Somebody else’s phone is a new Nokia campaign advertised in London that does a great job of depicting the life of an early to mid twenty year-old through their text messages, MMS and pictures.

(via Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino)

18 September 2008

The end of consumer surveys?

ARF
Advertising Age is waking up to a situation which for us in the experience design community has been apparent for many years: simple question-and-answer consumer surveys are not sufficient to be “in touch with the lifestyles of consumers”.

“After issuing dire warnings about the future of consumer surveys, the two biggest advertisers and buyers of market research in the world — Procter & Gamble and Unilever — are linking with the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) for an industry effort to embrace online chatter and other naturally occurring feedback like never before.

“Without transforming our capabilities into approaches that are more in touch with the lifestyles of the consumers we seek to understand, the consumer-research industry as we know it today will be on life support by 2012,” Kim Dedeker, VP-external capability leadership, global consumer and market knowledge at P&G, said in a statement provided by the ARF.

To tackle the issue, the ARF will hold two industry summits in the coming six weeks to support new ways of listening to consumers that don’t involve the traditional question-and-answer format.”

Nice also this quote, which could come out of any book on user-centred design:

“You can’t ask people what they want, because what they say and what they do are two different things,” said Artie Bulgrin, senior VP-research and sales for ESPN, another backer of the ARF effort. “We can actually improve our [initiative's] success rate if we just listen a bit more … on a passive basis.”

The article then goes on about the alternatives such as mining insights from blogs, social networks, consumer comments to websites, but doesn’t mention qualitative tools.

Interestingly, the ARF initiative seems to reflect a larger paradigm shift, “that could help research shed its uncool image and move researchers beyond today’s primary role as gatekeepers toward idea generators.”

Read full story

(via Fallon Planning)

17 September 2008

Nokia’s Legends Telegraph

Legends
Nokia’s Legends Telegraph is a new Flash interface – with a silly, old-fashioned look and feel – to eight introductory videos and a new section on the company’s website on upcoming innovations and new experiences Nokia is working on and how they work.

Covered are indoor positioning, location sensing, Traffic Works, Connected Home, personalised web widgets, MultiScanner, mobile journalism and NFC.

Apparently the old newspaper look, the accompanying bar soundtrack, and the down-to-earth working class accent by actor Ron McLarty have to “show how real some stuff that might seem unreal actually is” and to “plant new technology right into the palms of regular folks.”

Very gimmicky, if you ask me, with doubtful results. Who is this aimed at? Baby boomers? Kids? Working class geeks?

Well, according to Ross Lamont, one of the people behind the project, this “campaign is all about innovation”, with the main aim of “telling stories about the innovations going on inside Nokia”.

24 April 2008

Brand interactions are the future

David Armano
David Armano writes in Advertising Age about “micro-interactions”, the many everyday exchanges that we have with a product, brand and service that define how we feel about a product, brand or service at a gut emotional level, how information architects and experience designers can help companies design these, and what that means for the advertising industry.

Back to interaction designers. Here’s a concept worth thinking about: many of them don’t want to work for your ad agency. How do I know this? Because I talk to them daily. The most common response I get is, “Why would I want to work on a constant stream of microsites and promotions?” Interaction designers thrive on long-term project engagements. They yearn to sink their teeth into complex problems, wrapping their heads around how they can help solve them.

An agency environment that churns out digital program after program is less appealing — especially when there are opportunities to go work with a start-up, a non-agency or even, perhaps, the future Googles of the world. In an industry built off of the copywriter-art director dynamic duo, it’s time to think about talent in terms of “Renaissance people.” Many interaction designers fit this bill.

Read full story