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FEATURE1 March 2010

60 Second Soapbox – Greg Wixted

Greg Wixted, director of recently launched culinary research agency The Food Nursery, thinks that Twitter is going to change the way research works.

The product I’m excited about at the moment is…
Knorr Stock Jelly Cubes, they are amazing and great for all types of cooking. I think this is one of the best food innovations in a long while. Cooks at home want to be more and more like chefs and this is the perfect trade-off – restaurant stock in a little jelly cube.

A client I’d like to get my hands on is…
Marks & Spencer’s food – one of the most forward-thinking food retailers. They have a finger on the pulse of the consumer when it comes to what people are eating. I was recently Dublin on a business trip and went to their café concept and was blown away by it, all that great M&S food served in a really great café environment.

An idea I wished I’d had is…
Sleeper suite on Virgin Upper Class and Bar. Not many people can sleep on planes, but once my bed is made up I am out like a light and it is great for us lanky people. The fact so much thought has gone into the bed and the surrounding environment makes travel a pleasure. A lot of research went into developing not only the bed but also the bar area. I was one of the people in the groups, and thought “Wow, what a great concept”. It makes travel more sociable and then after a few drinks, it’s head down to catch up on some well earned sleep.

A campaign that grabbed me recently is…
One ad that’s making me chuckle is the new Cadbury Crème Egg campaign. It’s a follow on from the last year’s Goo theme. In the first in the series (www.cremeegg.co.uk) the eggs turn up to the gala premiere of 3D Vertigoo. It turn into mayhem with Crème Eggs splattered all over the cinema. Not only does it make me laugh, but it really does reinforce Cadbury’s ownership of the Easter egg season.

A campaign that needed more research is…
The World Food Programme, an ad campaign using actress Drew Barrymore. Imagine stark, beautifully shot images of Drew feeding doe-eyed kids in Kenya in haunting black and white with a red cup emblematic of the WFP. It was so way off the mark and I don’t think it was researched properly.

One thing this industry could use more of is…
From an innovation standpoint, research and insights are key. To say “we know what our consumers want” is corporate tunnel vision and companies need to spend more and carry out more consumer research. This is where the next big thing comes: from the consumer. Companies need to be more forward-thinking and not just NPD followers, they need to be leaders.

One thing this industry could use less of is…
The technical data that comes back from researchers is all so clinical. It’s like there is no innovation within the research industry. We prefer to do it all in-house now as we are really passionate about what we do on behalf of our clients. We want to get those nuggets of insight from the target audience, but in the past it’s been “Here’s your data, thanks very much.”

In five years’ time we’ll all be talking about…
Using Twitter as a research tool. When I was looking for chefs to join an innovation panel my first port of call was Twitter. When we wanted to test packaging concepts we used Twitter. The client loved it and it cost next to nothing.

And the one thing never to forget is…
Life is like a hot bath. It feels good while you’re in it, but the longer you stay in, the more wrinkled you get.

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