December 2012 Archives

Dilbert's Company Survey

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This comic strip is a funny way to mock how surveys are often misleading and lead to invalid results used to persuade the public, or in this case corporate. In order to create an ethical and useful survey, researchers must avoid leading and double-barreled questioning, which often work to mislead the respondent and result in inaccurate and irrelevant answers. Also, negative and double negative wording is confusing for the respondent. Lastly, the design is important, creating a confusing design will also contribute to invalid results.

In this case this displays how surveys can be designed in order to receive certain results, but that is a dishonest and unethical way to conduct research.


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Clearly, social media has become an important part in marketing. Yet, with new trends also comes new consequences to consider. In this case, McDonald's attempt in creating a viral hashtag backfired severely. Surely McDonald's is an established and global brand that has created a definite brand community, but McDonald's made a horrible mistake in not considering how a hashtag could create such a negative ad campaign.

McDonald's could have avoided this by having a little more common sense, because clearly there is also a large community that views McDonald's as a corporation promoting unhealthiness. It seems strange to me that research would not have predicted the results of this hashtag. McDonald's could have used a focus group interviewing them about their past views with McDonald's as a brand, and their experiences in McDonald's restaurants.

Typically hashtags are used to create a viral, peer to peer form of marketing, which is a good approach. Yet, McDonald's failure in attempting to predict the outcomes of such campaign caused McDonald's a very embarrassing and newsworthy story.

Why Elders are Scammed

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This was an interesting study about why elders are scammed so much both in person and over the telephone and with junk mail. The study used both interviews rating the trustworthiness of facial expressions and also a survey from the AARP.

A major flaw I found in the study was that they used 119 adults over 55 and only 24 adults in their twenties. I think the major unbalance between these groups make the results slightly inconclusive. Also I was interested how they found their sample. I think in order to achieve the best results it is important to take geography and demographics in account. First, those living in dangerous areas may have a different trust level than those in safe areas. Also, those living with disabilities and illnesses must also be taken account, both for the elderly and even the younger generation.

The article may have failed to include all the information of the study, but it seems as if the study suggests the causality of elders being scammed is due to fewer brain activity, which may have a strong role, but I believe other social and environmental aspects are necessary to consider.

Social Media Marketing

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This video is a parody of a drug commercial displaying how marketers may struggle to get their business noticed but social media has become a great source to gain exposure. Not only is social media a great platform due to consumer engagement, but also because of social media analytics.

Companies like Carmichael Lynch able able to analyze the effects of social media marketing in several ways. First through the basics such as the number of followers, "likes", or by tracking the number of people talking about a product or brand over social media.

Next analytics can go beyond these basics by measuring positive and negative views about a brand, and how passionate these views are through sentiment indicators. Finally, analytics can determine how influential a marketing campaign may be by measuring the total reach, virality, and number of retweets.

Therefore this parody seems a little silly and outdated because the current trends in social media and the availability of web analytics make social media marketing a no brainer.

The ethics of Sacha Baron Cohen's Movies

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This blog entry discussing the Sacha Baron Cohen film "Bruno" may seem like a silly way to relate to research. Yet, as his movies use a mockumetary style that captures political figures and celebrities acting in a manner that they would not necessarily want released to the public. In a sense, Cohen is conducting social experiments to how people react in awkward situations.

Whether Cohen received consent after the fact of the recordings, this work may be considered a serious ethical issue. Though there is a difference between the goal of a researcher (obtaining information for a greater good) and a movie producer (entertainment value) both should abide by similar ethical standards, in that the subject; must be aware of the experiment prior, must be given a full explanation of the experiment, the subject must be allowed to opt out at any time, and the subject must be respected.

In the case of "Bruno" Cohen fails to abide by any of these standards. First, the subjects are unaware of their own participation, unaware or Cohen's intentions, and therefore are unable to opt out. Finally, the subjects are not respected because Cohen uses their responses to his awkward encounters to project these celebrities and political leaders in a negative manner.

Surely one may point out the differences in the ethics of Hollywood and the ethics of research institutions. Though Cohen is conducting his own social experiment, and doing so very unethically it is important to note that celebrities and political figures give up a sense of their privacy for their careers. I think Cohen's movies are funny and expose a disturbing truth we would otherwise not be exposed to, yet regardless of this it is unfortunate he does so in an unethical way because it almost discounts his from his work.

S%$# Market Researchers Say

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This video parodies a lot of aspects of market research. Specifically, I thought it was funny how he had such difficulty finding people to survey on the street. He tried to persuade people with a gift card, which is often how researchers try to get responses. Yet, often it does not work like in this video. People are on the go and being approached for a survey on the street is inconvenient and this method contributes to a higher nonresponse error.


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My group name for class is Brainjuicers, named after this research vendor. The website is designed creatively suggesting that they also are creative in their methods. Under their "communications" tab they explain how they use measures of emotional response in their research because they found that emotional response leads to far greater effectiveness and efficiency. Brainjuicer uses technologies called "Facetrace" and "Commscan" to measure how people are feeling, how strongly their feeling it, the reasons why, and these technologies also help predict likely commercial impact.

Our reading "Getting All Emotional" states that the challenge of understanding customer emotions is that nobody ever talks about them, people often use their rational side rather than emotional side. Therefore, Brainjuicer would be a good company to work with because they have an understanding of the importance of measuring emotions, and they also have the award winning technologies to do so.

Disappearing Elevator Floor

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I thought this video promoting the LG IPS monitors was clever and also an example how to capture pure human emotion and reaction through the use of hidden cameras. This video captures the elevator passengers' immediate response to these monitors and how real they look.

Capturing emotion secretly is a useful way to measure how "real" these monitors actually are. If this video is real, the users are unaware that they are being filmed and observed. This is a beneficial way to measure a sample's reaction to the "realness" of these monitors because the sample will not act differently due to the fact they are being monitored. Yet, if this video is real, and the passengers are unaware that they are being observed, it becomes a question whether this experiment is ethical? I wonder if health issues could have arisen from startling the passengers especially.

Overall, I think this video is awesome and a funny way to show how real this monitors look. It has "viral" video qualities which is very beneficial in the times of Youtube obsession and peer to peer advertising.

Survey Invite

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I got an invitation to participate in a survey studying women's health behaviors of college women. I got the email sent to my U of M email. This is a smart way to reach the target audience because this email is sent to students and also they are able to target specifically female students. This is also a smart method because college students are busy and also tech savvy, therefore they'd most likely complete an online survey because they are often on their computers and they are allowed to complete the survey at their own convenience.

I actually took the survey. The email encourages responses through a raffle giving away Target gift cards. This is also a smart move to increase the number of responses, and as the number of responses increases, researchers will gain a better understanding or a larger sample. survey invite.JPG

Xperia Viral Focus Group Video

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This video represents both an example of a focus group, and a funny viral video campaign promoting Sony Ericsson's new Xperia 10 smartphone. This video captures what typically goes on in a focus group, comparing several similar products gaining insight of how a consumer may react to a certain product, and also gaining insight regarding what a consumer likes or would change about a product.

The video displays how the results of focus group research may not be completely accurate, because of the environment or in this case by choosing a poor focus group. This video uses the "uneducated" focus group to create humor and promote the Xperia's user friendly qualities. Using humor, this video demonstrates how it is useful to use a system such as systematic random sampling in order to have a sample that most likely contains a variety of people, unlike these samples that contained people of similar characteristics (ditzy girls, rockers, and children).

Survey Sample and Scaling

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This is a sample survey that would be used to measure advertising effectiveness. I have taken surveys similar to this for my marketing class last semester. I remember they used images of the product, print ad, logo, and also examples of television commercials. This sample displays a picture of the product as well as a video example. The survey sample displays how it is important to use multiple scales. This survey sample uses Likert, nominal, and ratio scale. The use of multiple scales allows for a better understanding of qualitative and quantitative information relating to the product.

Old Spice

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I believe the Old Spice campaign in the past few years has been an excellent example of strategic communication, and in some some an example how social media and interactive advertising can serve as a form of research.

This campaign encouraged audience engagement and interaction through it's Youtube videos, allowing viewers to leave comments suggesting their own ideas for what they'd like to see in the next video. By encouraging interaction Old Spice is able to see how much of their audience is actually engaging in their advertising campaign, rather than blindly observing it. Also, allowing the audience is contribute is a smart move because people will feel involved and excited to see all the new videos, which works as a successful "reminder" campaign because Old Spice is already a well known brand, but these ads help put their brand image back into our heads.

Quantitative versus Qualitative

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This video compares qualitative versus quantitative research methods by parodying the Mac versus PC commercials. It also makes a point about sample size and validity.

The qualitative researcher's results were descriptive but his small sample size represents how often qualitative research, although specific and informative, rarely represents a large population. He says that his sample size went from 3 to 2 because he "moved in" with one of the respondents because he needed to really get to know his subject. This parodies and demonstrates how qualitative research is beneficial because you are able to really understand your research subjects, but again this is very time consuming which often results in a small sample size.

The quantitative researcher mocks the qualitative researcher for his invalid results, yet the video also mocks quantitative research, because the quantitative researcher simply spits out a number as his results, without an understanding or explanation what that number truly represents. This demonstrates how numbers are an easy way to represent a large sample size, but they do not provide deep insight describing each of the respondents.

In the end both research methods have their pros and cons. This parody helps demonstrate the importance in balancing the two methods in order to receive the best results.


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My mom bought my brothers and I the book called Strengthfinder. It has the access code to the online survey which is essentially a personality test. The survey asked many questions, and each has a 20 second time limit. I believe this is because in order to get the most accurate results the respondent must not over think answers. If a person over thinks their answers they may using too much of their rationality and less or their emotions which could skew results. Also, the respondent may try to answer the questions in certain ways in order to receive the results they want, rather than the true results. Finally, the time limit is a smart way for Strengthfinder to eliminate irrelevant answers.

Not only did the Strengthfinder find my top five strengths, but it also listed how I could utilize these skills in my personal and professional life. The Strengthfinder is an interesting example of surveys work to find information about yourself that you may have not even recognized prior. I heard that the University of Minnesota is requiring some students to take this survey. At first I thought my mom's gift was silly, but I truly do think the Strengthfinder survey is beneficial. top 5.JPG

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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