BMP DDB has set up an observational consumer research unit that
will be run by Siamack Salari, who has worked as an interactive
specialist at J. Walter Thompson for the past three years.
Salari is best known for his role in the ITV documentary series, Shop
Til You Drop. He will report to Nigel Jones, BMP’s head of planning.
BMP Culture Lab plans to exploit advanced digital video recording and
editing capabilities to observe and analyse consumers in their ’natural
environments’. This technique will be used in a multitude of situations,
including observing shopping, media consumption and in-home behaviour,
to provide insights into consumer behaviour and attitudes.
Jones said: ’To stay ahead, we are continually re-examining what
planning offers. These days, consumers are marketing literate; they know
what we’re trying to do, so asking them what they think can be
misleading. To unlock real consumer insights, planners need to be
smarter and use a variety of more novel approaches.’
At JWT, Salari developed a consumer research technique called InSitu,
whereby unsuspecting shoppers are filmed in-store and then questioned
about their shopping decisions.
There had been similar observational projects, but none had followed up
this process with interviews.
InSitu’s first big project was carried out in September 1995 for the
Daily Telegraph on the day the Times was given away as part of
Microsoft’s Windows 95 launch.
The research came to the controversial conclusion that the give-away
might have backfired because non-Times buyers continued to purchase
their normal paper as well as picking up their free copy of the Times.