1 January 2006

Having your ears on the ground [International Herald Tribune]

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Signbank
If you can track what consumers actually do, why bother with what they say?

Instead of simply producing ads, advertising agencies now want to be seen as creative consultancies, helping clients develop marketing strategies or even new products. DDB, part of the Omnicom Group, last month rolled out a service called SignBank, which taps the power of the Internet and the agency’s global office network to collect thousands of individual snippets of cultural change, identify trends in them and advise clients on what it all means for them.

“Focus groups confirm what you already know,” said Eva Steensig, a sociologist at DDB Denmark. “Talking about toilet paper for two hours in a room doesn’t really help.”

The problem, she said, is that most consumers are not experts on their own consumption patterns. They have other things to worry about – their families, the weather, their moods. So, in focus groups they are easily led in one direction or another and rarely come up with the kinds of original insights that a marketer needs to stay ahead in a fast-changing game.

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Intel anthropologist creates data processing tool for Quantified Self community
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The most important part of self-driving cars will be human control
Until now, the public dialogue about self-driving cars has centered mostly on technology, writes Michael Nees, Assistant professor, Lafayette College. The public’s been led to believe that engineers will soon remove humans from driving. Researchers …
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In the 20th Century creating a close partnership between copywriter and art director led to a creative renaissance in advertising. In the 21st century the relationship between designer and researcher will do the same, argues …
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The deal we have struck with the information society over the extent to which our lives are shaped and our privacy invaded requires urgent renegotiation, argues law professor Julie E Cohen at the annual Law …

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