Investigate or create?

It is known that creative copies flee from pre-testing spots and deny market research as if it were the black plague itself. The discourse is always the same: they are very basic analyses, they are only based on rational aspects (when we already know that the consumer makes his decisions emotionally), they abide by the opinion of 4 as if it were the Bible, the analyst projects his subjective opinions ,…

The most recurrent example that I have heard to discredit the investigation is to quote Henry Ford with the already famous: “If they had asked consumers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” I wonder if they will have this phrase engraved on the front door of advertising schools, because they always use the same example.

Well there is news. Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with Gem Romero (Creative Strategic Director at Ogilvy&Mather Barcelona and president of the APG Spain), come on, someone quite authoritative in the matter. Gem gave a workshop on «Cómo gestionar un brainstorming o un workshop de generación» of ideas at the Foxize School. There I was taking notes on techniques to generate ideas based on lateral thinking and, I have to admit, I was somewhat overwhelmed by so much creativity, since it is somewhat dizzying to see how there are millions of possible ideas and that it depends on chance to come up with one or another. . Everything but scientific method. Me, used to rigorously analyzing the information from my focus groups to find the true idea, the only one, the best, the one agreed upon, the one tested… entering (like this, bareback), into the vast and unfathomable world of creativity.

Gem would comfort me by saying something like, “Don’t worry Viki, I took a huge load off my shoulders realizing that I didn’t have to have the best idea, just a good idea, as there are thousands. In advertising it is said that 50% is a good idea and the other 50% is security when selling it. If you believe it and work on it with care, it becomes a great idea»

In addition, he told us that, after the creative whirlwind, comes the time to select and validate those ideas. For that, we turn off the right hemisphere of the brain, we leave it at rest again (as it usually is most of the time) and we return its weight to the reign of vertical, logical thinking, which inhabits the left hemisphere.

At that moment my brain did a catacrack (perhaps due to the lack of habit of spending 3 hours creating). It was like when you pull the reins of your runaway horse so that it stops acting crazy and returns to the walk.

And then the question that opens this reflection assailed me again (a very recurring question in my case): why do advertising agencies deny market research so much if they themselves, after creating, admit to returning to logical thinking to select those most viable, credible, adequate ideas,…using that “killer” thought that consists of clipping the wings or mercilessly dropping that post-it with that idea that it took so much effort to emerge from the inaccessible right hemisphere.

The answer was clear and sincere, (already intuited on my part). Something like: “There are two reasons. The first is that the creative is annoyed when an idea bounces off him, like that with a stroke of the pen. And the other, (of more theoretical depth in my opinion), is because market research tends to load ideas based on emotional concepts arguing that the consumer has not understood them»

Well, I already have the answer to the question that has haunted me for the last 15 years in which I dedicate myself to this: publicists do not deny market research, they deny bad market research.

Gem confirmed it to me: «Market researchers know about research, but they don’t know about advertising. Just like those in advertising, we know about advertising, but we don’t know about media»

There is. How can a marketing researcher do his job well if he doesn’t know the criteria that make advertising effective? Well, of course, he can’t. I have spent years trying to combine both worlds, with my postgraduate degrees in strategic planning, my trainings as creative copy, my workshops to learn new techniques used in agencies by advertisers,… and I fully agree with Gem that, without all of this, it would not be a good researcher, but a vulgar researcher who only knows about research.

We make peace?

Article also published (October 28, 2013) in the magazine Anuncios and in its digital edition (MarketingNews)