Music Video Advertising

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"Music videos rank above online TV and traditional TV when it comes to viewers remembering and connecting with the ads accompanying the programming, and that's because people feel a more intense emotional connection to music videos."

Based on a new study done by the music video website, Vevo , and global media company Universal McCann, researchers suggest that advertising combined with music videos is more memorable and has a greater impact on viewers.

The fact that the study was supported by Vevo, a music video website does seem a little suspicious and biased. They would benefit greatly from a study that demonstrates that advertisements paired with music videos are more successful, but the study was conducted by an outside research firm. Neuro-Insight, a marketing research company that specializes in using brain-imaging technology to measure how the brain responds to different forms of communication.

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Neuro-Insight used 100 study participants between the ages of 15 and 35, divided evenly between male and female. By using an equal number of males and females, researchers got an equal representation of sexes. Researchers likely only conducted the study on participants ages 15-35 because they are the younger generation that is likely to be watching music videos. The youth generation is also the main target audience in pop culture, so advertisers that would be interested in purchasing spots after music videos or during popular TV shows would be interested in connecting with these viewers. Youth are also considered to be more impressionable and have the disposable income of their parents so it makes sense that researchers would want to understand their minds better.

Using a brain-imaging technology known as Steady State Topography, Neuro-Insight recorded data from areas of the participants brain that relate to everything from like, dislike, attention to detail, and emotional intensity while the subjects viewed music videos from Beyoncé, Skrillex, and Nirvana and TV shows such as Grey's Anatomy, The Big Bang Theory, and New Girl. Advertisements were placed in between the music videos and TV programs. These artists and TV programs are popular among the younger generations so the participants were more likely to connect with these selections and have more of an emotional response or stimulation by them. They are also musical artists and TV shows that do very well in pop culture so therefore they have larger audiences. Advertisers would be more interested in the neurological responses from viewers of these shows because that is where the audience is and where the profit in advertising would be. Therefore, researchers selected the media used in this study very efficiently.

The study concluded that music videos scored higher than online TV and traditional TV in terms of emotional intensity. Online TV scored the highest on engagement. However, music videos scored the highest on memory encoding and the ability to recall advertisements.


It is important for advertisers to understand the effects of different media platforms so that they can properly decide which method would be the best form of distribution for their advertisements. Using technology to measure the neurological response appears to be the most efficient way to measure emotional, engagement, and memory responses, because many times consumers lie or don't know what they want. I also just trust the research that is backed by science like this because traditional forms of research has a lot of room for error and biases based on sampling, response and non-response error, confusion, and so on. Using brain imaging technology just seems to be able to move past all of the difficulties that can occur during surveys and interviews to get to the heart of the information that researchers are really looking for.

Mobile Growth in the Internet and Social Media

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According to the Nielsen 2012 Social Media Report, Social Media is at its coming of age

Social media has quickly become an integral part of our culture. The social media phenomenon has swept us by storm transforming many aspects of our lives. Social Media is entering its golden age as it offers consumers around the world new ways to engage with people, brands, organizations, and events, at their own convenience.

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A particularly interesting facet of the latest Social Media Report is the increase of social media usage through mobile phones. Personel computers remain at the heart of the social networking experience, but mobile usage is a large driving factor to the continuing growth of social media. According to Nielsen time spent on mobile apps account for 63% of the year-to-year growth in overall time spent using social media. 46% of users say they use their smart phone to connect to social media while the other 16% use a tablet.

Whether using a mobile phone or a computer, consumers are spending an increasing amount of time on the internet. Mobile Web use went up from 52,435,000 in July 2011 to 95.176,000 US audience users in July 2012. Similarly, mobile apps internet usage more than doubled within that same year going from 55,001,000 to 101,802,000 as more people began using smartphones. The PC's internet usage actually decreased from July 2011-2012 going from 213,253,00 to 204,721,00 audience members.

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Likewise, mobile social networking apps' audience increased from 44.8 million people in 2011 to 85.8 million in 2012. The mobile web social networking audience increased from 40.0 million to 81.1 million within that year as well. The PC audience also increased but at a much slower rate from 162.6 million to 171.8 million. The report concludes that app usage accounts for a third of social networking time. Compared to last year consumers increased their social media app time by 76%. This research indicates that the mobile app market is going to become even more important as more website will begin to offer app adaptations. This also creates an opportunity for advertising and even market research. If so many people are spending so much time on the internet through mobile apps, it is a great way to reach your audience. The different types of apps would also allow advertisers/researchers to reach their target audience based on the the sites demographics and psychographics.

The Nielsen study also suggests that more people continue to spend more time on social media sites-20% of their internet time on social networks is from PCs and 30% is mobile time. Nielsen also reports that 17% of consumers' PC time is spent on Facebook. The total time spent on social media sites has went from 88.4 billion minutes in 2011 to 121.1 billion minutes in 2012.

Females spend the most time on the internet whether it be through a PC or mobile web and app connection. The average male spends 6.13 hours on social networking sites on the PC compared with females 8:37 hours. Similarly males spend 6:44 hours on social networking sites through mobile devices compared with females 9:43 hours. However, Nielsen does not go into detail about whether this data represents the number of hours a day, week, or etc. This leaves uncertainty in the results and may also misinform readers.

Nielsen's U.S. Social Media Survey was conducted on a representative sample of 1,998 adults ages 18 and older that were social media users. Participants were recruited from Nielsen's Online Panel to take the online survey. It is necessary that the survey was conducted on a representative sample with participants that closely represent the characteristics of the United State's population, because this information has been generalized to represent the entire U.S. population's internet and social media usage. The fact that the survey was conducted on a panel better allowed Nielsen to match characteristics of the America's population with participants, but also creates a bias because the panel was voluntarily taking the survey. It was necessary for this survey to be delivered online, not only because it was dealing with the internet, but also based on the results it was a very extensive survey which would have taken a lot of time to complete.

Nielsen also presented their data in an interesting way. Instead of compiling their findings in a written report, Nielsen used a presentation inspired report design with many graphics to depict the data. The report consisted of lots of statistics but Nielsen designed their report to present the material in a clear and concise manner with different types of graphs to represent the data. Nielsen's data can be used for a ride array of aspects in research but it is also important to appeal to everyday viewers.

Based on Nielsen's 2012 Social Media Report it is evident that the mobile app and web industry is helping internet usage to flourish, allowing consumers to use social media wherever and whenever they want.

More Say there is Solid Evidence of Global Warming

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The percentage of people who believe there is solid evidence that global warming is occurring on our planet is increasing. According to the annual survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, 67% of people surveyed say there is solid evidence that the earth's average temperature has been increasing over the past few decades, an opinion that is up four points since last year and 10 points since 2009.10-15-12-1.png

Similarly an increasing number of people say that earth's rising temperature is caused by human activity. 42% of people believe human factors are causing global warming compared to last year's 38% and 2010's 34%. Currently 19% of people believe global warming is caused by natural factors of the earth.

The Pew Research center conducted the survey by telephone among 1,511 adults age 18 and older living in the United States. The sample was weighted to match current patterns of telephone status and usage of landline and cell phones based on extrapolations from the 2011 National Health Interview Survey. 906 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 605 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 291 who had no landline telephone, which is important because we have learned that an increasing amount of people no longer have landline phones. By incorporating cell phone users, and mobile users who did not have landlines into the population, researchers did not completely excluded certain populations from the study, and decreased the risk of bias.

Participants in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who was currently home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. By asking for the youngest adult male or female who was currently at home researchers could have been creating a bais in the survey. Younger generations have been going through education learning about global warming and environmental sciences so they are more likely to accept that there is solid evidence of global warming compared to their older parents, siblings, or grandparents. Considering telephone sampling methods do not allow you to confirm the participants identity, the person answering the landline phone or the cell phone that went on to participate in the survey may not have been 18 years or older which would increase response error in the study.

American's adjusting Ideal Weight Upward

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America the beautiful? Or Obesity capital of the world?

There is no question that the United States is plagued by an obesity epidemic. A recent study conducted by Gallup shows that the land of fast food, preservatives, sedentary lifestyles, and extreme portions, is starting to accept its fate as an overweight nation. According to the study, Americans have been adjusting their ideal weight upwards since the early 90's.

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American's on average say their ideal weight is 162 pounds which has increased since Gallup began first asked in 1990. American's average self-reported weight is 176, which has also increased over time. Men on average say their ideal weight is 185 pounds, while they report an actual weight of 196, 11 pounds over their ideal weight. Likewise, women on average say their ideal weight is 140 pounds, compared to their actual average weight,16 pounds over their ideal at 156 pounds. When Gallup conducted this survey in 1991 Men's ideal weight was 170 compared to their actual weight of 180. Ideal weight for men has increased 15 pounds. Similarly, in 1991, women's ideal weight was 129 pounds, 11 pounds lower than it is today. These numbers may not seem like such a big deal but the health implications caused by a few extra pounds transcend the differences.

Gallup conducted this survey through telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,015 (515 men and 500 women) adults ages 18 and older selected through a random-digit-dial sample. Using a random sample was necessary for this poll because it is critical that researchers have the same likelihood to dial the number of a health and exercise devotee and an overweight person living an inactive lifestyle. This is necessary so both types of people have the opportunity to be dialed. These different lifestyles would have different ideal weights so it is essential that both could have the opportunity to participate in the survey through the random-digit-dial. The random sample also allows for the opportunity of different ages, races, religions, and ethnicities to have the chance to respond because each of these factors could account for a different lifestyle which would have an effect on ideal weight.

However, being this survey was conducted over the phone, there is a possibility that participants were not honest in their responses. Weight is a sensitive issue and some people may not be comfortable disclosing their weight to strangers. This would misrepresent the population's actual weight and even their ideal weight, if people were not entirely honest. The survey would have been better conducted online. The online format would have provided a more comfortable and safer environment for participants to honestly answer the questions without feeling judged. Having someone on the other line of a phone like this survey did would probably make some people feel like they were being judged so they could have lied about their weight. The Internet allows people to feel an increased sense of anonymity so they would have likely responded with their actual weight or ideal weight. This would have allowed for the survey to be more valid.

Mental Disorders and Evolution

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With the Origin of Species, Darwin set the rule that only the fittest survive. But if that is the case how have genes that contribute to serious mental disorders like schizophrenia, anorexia, autism survived? It has been shown that people suffering these mental disorders are less likely to have children, yet the genes that cause these disorders aren't going away.

A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests that the genetic mutations that cause mental disorders have occurred recently, so not enough generations have passed to allow the evolutionary process to weed them out. The study also theorized that the genetic mutations that cause a disorder in one person somehow make that person's sibling more likely to have children.

Using the Swedish Population database, Researchers conducted the study using 2.3 million individuals among the 1950-1970 birth cohort in Sweden. A cohort longitudinal study was necessary for this experiment because researchers were looking to observe risk factors that have contributed to mental disorders over time. For this type of experiment, using participants at the ease of the researcher makes the most sense because the cohort panel contains people who have/are suffering from mental disorders, and the researcher must work backwards in observing risk factors that may have lead up to these disorders. To prove the study's hypothesis the experiment needed so many participants to observe a valid relationship between mental disorders and fertility. Using such a large population also allows for the opportunity of the participants to be more diverse, not only in gender but also in lifestyle which may have an effect on fertility.

The survey measured the fertility of patients with schizophrenia, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, anorexia, or substance abuse and their unaffected siblings compared with the general population. It was critical for researchers to compare fertility rates against the general population because the general public serves as a control group not affected by mental disorders.

The research concluded that the siblings of people who suffer from schizophrenia, autism and anorexia had on average the same or fewer children than the general public. This coincides with the theory that these mental disorders have appeared relatively recently so they have not yet been able to be weeded out through natural selection. However, siblings of people who suffer from depression or substance abuse had significantly more children than the general public, which correlates with the theory that there is something in the make up of the sibling that somehow makes up the loss of fertility of their sibling suffering from a mental disorder.

Other References

Breaking Down Sephora's Customer Satisfaction Survey

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Over the Thanksgiving holiday that I spent with my family in my hometown my mother and I made a trip to the Sephora beauty supplies store located in the JC Penney's of my area's mall. After making a few purchases I was told to go online to take Sephora's customer satisfaction survey for a chance to win a $500 gift card. Although the gift card would be nice, I was more interested in analyzing the survey for class purposes.

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Sephora chose to conduct an online survey to collect data regarding consumer's opinion of the store's customer service. After purchasing an item customers are told of the survey and their chances to win a gift card. The survey link is highlighted or circled by a sales representative on the customers receipt to give the customer the option of completing the survey. In a retail scenario it does seem important to offer an incentive to get customers to participate in the survey. When checking out most customers are in a hurry so they may not really be paying attention to what the sales rep is saying. Shoppers are also likely making other purchases that day so they are more likely to forget about the survey, or they just don't care enough to take the survey. By offering an incentive Sephora is more likely to draw in consumers to give up a few minutes of their time for a chance to win a $500 gift card.

After accessing the survey, participants are prompted through a series of questions ranging from customer service experience, product satisfaction, price quality, store layout and cleanliness, brand identity, demographics, and consumer behavior.

Sephora mainly uses a likert scale design to present its survey questions. Questions are asked based on a scale of strongly agree to strongly disagree. This allows them to gauge the customer's general opinion regarding a range of subjects.

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The survey also asks a variety of questions using a multiple choice and short answer design. To indicate consumer's buying habits, Sephora uses one question in particular to ask where consumers usually get their beauty supplies from. From there the survey lists a number of different stores for participants to choose from. They also list "other" as an option which allows customers to indicate where they normally shop for beauty supplies. This let's Sephora know where it stands amongst its competition. The survey also utilizes one short answer section which allows the participant to choose from a variety of topics including products, price, team members, store environment, advertising, or multiple areas, to give a brief description of their opinion regarding their chosen topic. This allows Sephora to gain a deeper insight in one particular topic that one particular participant felt strongly on. If there is correlation amongst the chosen topic and comments Sephora will be able to use that information to tell if there is a problem in the store or what aspect they are performing strongly in.

The overall design of the survey was very well done. The only problem I had with it was that some of the question categories were not delivered in the same section. To me it would just make more sense to have all of the questions regarding customer service, consumer behavior, product quality, etc. in one section of the survey as opposed to spread out throughout the survey. Otherwise, the survey went quick and all of the questions were easy to understand. It was also nice that there was a variety of question types because I did not get bored taking the survey. In my opinion the survey was designed very nicely to allow Sephora to get customer opinion on numerous important subjects to its retail business.

Childhood Obesity and Advertising

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According to the latest study published in the Journal of Pediatrics obese children may be more susceptible to food advertising. In a society where obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years and one third of U.S. children are overweight or obese, it is evident that we have a problem on our hands.

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The University of Missouri- Kansas City study concluded that obese children are more vulnerable to food advertisements, which as a result may make them eat more.

In their study, researchers compared a group of 10 healthy weight and10 obese children, and their response to food advertisements. Using an MRI machine, researchers monitored brain activity levels of the children as they were shown 60 food logos and 60 non-food logos. Children were also surveyed before and after the test to gauge their hunger levels.

Researchers found that the obese children showed greater brain activity in the rewards and pleasures center of the brain, which were stimulated when they saw food logos as compared to the non-food logos. Healthy weight children also showed more brain activity but in the self-control areas of the brain. They also demonstrated more self-control when surveyed after the experiment, compared to the obese children.

The study shows that obese people may have a tougher time with self-control because of their brain activity. The survey also adds to the debate that advertising has an effect on the obesity epidemic in the United States.

The experiment was very well designed to assure that the food logos were in fact what was increasing brain activity levels. The researchers surveyed the children's hunger levels prior to the experiment because it could have an effect on the results and brain activity when the children were exposed to food logos. This way the researchers were able to know that the brain activity changed because the children were already very hungry before the experiment. It was also necessary for the researchers to expose the children to 60 food logos and 60 non-food logos to make sure that brain activity in the rewards/pleasures area of the brain was only stimulated during food advertisements as opposed to unrelated logos. This allowed researchers to conclude that there were no other factors affecting the brain activity in the experiment. Likewise, researchers surveyed participants after the experiment to gauge their hunger to demonstrate that hunger increased in children who experienced elevated brain stimulation in the rewards/pleasure areas as opposed to the self-control. This allowed the researchers to conclude that their test was valid in concluding that obese children are more susceptible to food advertisements.

This study also uses an interesting example of the new types of research methods. By measuring children's neurological effects of the advertisements, researchers were able to access the participants subconscious, because the children were not able to lie about the influence the ads had on them because it was measure based on their biological reactions. The success of this study demonstrates that neurological research is becoming a very useful tool in research.

Consenting to UMN Surveys

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I was recently requested to complete the University of "Minnesota Diverse Learning Environments" survey. Like all of the other students I received an email from the assistant vice president urging me to take the survey. Since I've been taking a research class I analyzed the email a littler harder than most participants would but decided to take it. After completing the survey I thought that the survey request and delivery method was much more interesting than the survey itself.

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The survey delivery method was obviously online due to the researcher's convenience. There are many students at the University so this is the easiest way to reach all of them (assuming they even read the email.) After taking the survey I also understood that it was online because it was very long but the survey allowed you to stop and save your responses at any time so you could come back to them when it was more convenient for you. I thought this was a nice touch because many times things come up and people can't complete the survey or are forced to just go through trying to get it done quickly. By having this option I think it could reduce response error because people have the luxury to come back to the survey at a better, but it could also induce response error if people forget to come back to it. However, you are required to enter your email address at the start of the survey so I am sure there would be multiple remainders if you failed to come back to the survey.

The first thing I noticed about the survey was that the request contained an incentive right in the subject of the email. The survey offered a $50 gift card to the campus bookstore. A random 30 participants would receive the reward if they answered the survey. Incentives are very necessary in surveys targeted towards college students because everyone is busy. College students also get an abundant amount of emails a day so it is likely that they could just scan by the email without even noticing it, UNLESS they read "$50" in the headline. This incentive would encourage students to participate in a survey they otherwise may not have cared about.

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I also thought that the way the study approached the issue of consent was very interesting. The consent process was rather extensive for a survey but is likely to be due to the fact that the survey is representing an educational institution and the University does not want any problems with the survey. The email included information about how the survey was completely voluntary and by answering the questions you are giving consent to the survey. After clicking the link to the survey you are also prompted by another screen to enter your email and acknowledge that you are consenting to the survey. From there you are directed to yet another screen that explains the purpose and procedure of the survey but also the risks, confidentiality, and consent issues of the survey. At first I was annoyed with the extensive process but then I began to understand that it was necessary for the University to approach the survey like this to protect themselves.

Aside from that the survey used numerous question styles to gain insight on my opinions on the learning environment of the University of Minnesota. Hopefully I'll be one of the lucky 30 to win that gift card!

Exercising Your Lifespan

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We all know exercise is good for you. It keeps you healthy, reduces your risk for certain diseases, and helps you live a longer and happier life. But exactly how much longer does exercising make you live?

According to a recent study published in PLOS Medicine leisure time exercise, even below the recommended levels, is associated with reduced risk of mortality and even an increased risk of longevity, compared to inactive lifestyles.


The study examined the association of leisure time physical activity with mortality in follow up sets of pooled data from six prospective cohort studies in the National Cancer Institute Cohort Consortium. The study compared physical activity with mortality rates among 654,827 individuals between the ages of 21 and 90. Physical activity was measured by metabolic equivalent hours per week.

The study concluded that brisk walking up to 75 minutes per week was associated with a gain of 1.8 years of life expectancy. Likewise, brisk walking at the World Health Organization's recommended minimum for physical activity of 150 minutes per week was linked with a 3.4-4.5 year gain in life expectancy. The study also concluded that being active and having a normal body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9 was associated with a gain of 7.2 years of life compared to people who are inactive and obese with a body mass index of 35 or above. However, being inactive and normal weight was linked to 3.1 fewer years of life compared to those who were active but obese with a BMI of 30-34.9. This data indicates that participation in leisure time physical activity, even below the recommend levels can decrease mortality.

The study briefly mentions that a limitation to the experiment was that BMI and activity levels were self reported by the participants. This brings on questions of response error and reliability issues. Being participants were able to self report they could have not been completely honest in their BMI or the amount of time they spent exercising a week. This study was done using data from a cohort study that examined lifestyle and physical activity rates among people with cancer, asking people battling with the disease to look back on their activity levels prior to their diagnosis. People know that exercising is important to their health but they often times feel they are too busy or find other excuses not to participate in it, but when questioned upon their diagnosis of cancer, people may exaggerate their responses to make it seem like they exercised more. (The only real way I can relate my logic to this idea is the way that people exaggerate the amount they floss when at the dentist even as their gums are bleeding after the dentist got done cleaning their teeth)

Differences in the overall reported numbers wouldn't really change the study's conclusion that exercise increases lifespan but it could result in differences among the life expectancy gain numbers.

In this internet age where virtually everything can be done over the Internet, nearly every website uses some form of captcha. This code of confusing jumbled letters and numbers always seems to be an inconvenience. Especially because most of us can't read the code forcing us to request another or even having the code spoken aloud to us by the computer. The chaos is endless just so websites can make sure that users aren't bots.

An advertising firm has come up with a creative way to not only alleviate consumers of the hassle of decoding captcha, but also to conduct innovative and worthwhile brand research.

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Solve Media has launched a new mini research tool they're calling brand tags, that turn captcha into research questions. All of Solve's customer's sites display a brand's logo instead of annoying captcha, and instruct web visitors to type in a word or phrase that they think best describes the brand. Solve's customers then get a list of tallied phrases that consumers have provided.

This research method is very creative and can provide useful information. The projective technique of sentence completion in the form of a captcha is a quick and easy way for brands to tap into their consumers and gain insightful qualitative research. Although some consumers may just type in obvious or negative answers just to get on with their tasks, others will provide more helpful ones. In the article published on AdAge, Solve Media gave the example of one of their brand tag results for Purina Dog Food. Numerous consumers responded with "Dog Food", while others gave answers such as "good", "quality", and "nutritious."

This research method will allow companies to understand their current brand image and what the public opinion is of their brand and products. Being the study is not presented in a standard survey design, consumers are allowed to freely respond to the question, allowing for more creative and broader responses.

When captcha codes appear, consumers are usually trying to just get on with their task as fast as they can. This can benefit and be a disadvantage to the brand tags.

On the negative side, consumers may just respond with nonsensical answers just to get on with their tasks. In the article Solve also mentioned with their Purina example that they received one response of a synonym for "crap". It may be hard for organizations to weed negative responses like this out because who knows if consumers actually meant this response or if they were just trying to get through the brand tag process quickly and were annoyed with the hold up. However, hopefully brands will be able to judge the overall opinion of their brand based on the relevance of other answers. If Purina got numerous responses like "crap", it would likely indicate that there is a problem and that consumers are not satisfied with their products. However, if there are mainly positive answers, Purina may not place a lot of significance on the one negative response.

However, on the positive side, the fact that consumers are quickly completing the brand tag question, they are giving the first response that comes to their mind. Instead of thinking their response out and analyzing it like they participants may tend to do in surveys or focus groups, they give the first response they can think of. This almost allows brands to tap into consumers subconscious minds because participants answer the questions quickly without thinking too hard and without analysing or censoring their responses.

Using brand tags is not only an innovative research method, it is also timely and cheap. Instead of holding focus groups that take time, participants, and money, brands can host brand tags on sites for a relatively low price. They also don't need to seek out participants because consumers essentially come to them. Although no one is really volunteering to answer the brand tag questions they are willing to because they do, and they are forced to. Most focus groups and research convenient surveys have biases because they only have participants who volunteer. Brands also can save a lot of valuable time by using brand tags. They just host the questions and wait for the replies to come in. They still must code and analyze their findings but the hard and extensive work of actually conducting the experiment is done for them online.

Overall the use of brand tags over captcha are really valuable. I think this type of research will become more popular online as people are able to do more things online and spend more time on the Internet. I also think these more projective research techniques will become more important in the future because people aren't very willing to take surveys anymore. Brand tags are fast, easy, cheap, and convenient ways for brands to conduct insightful research.