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FEATURE1 February 2010

60 Second Soapbox – Lesley Dudleston

?Lesley Dudleston, research director at Principles Research, wants the industry to start talking to people in plain English.

?The product I’m excited about at the moment…
A ‘2for1’ website recently introduced to me by my mum. I’m into discounts but I rarely chase them and seem to expect that they will magically come my way. I have a low embarrassment threshold and the thought of getting it wrong is sometimes enough to make me pay full price ‘just in case’. I did my first ‘2for1’ show in the West End and now I’m excited about what else I can find.

A client I’d like to get my hands on…
I’d definitely like to get involved with more social research, such as alcohol or drug awareness. While I love working in the private sector, using consumer insight to make a real difference around products and brands, providing insight and direction on healthcare issues for example can make a real difference to people’s lives and well being. There’s something deeply satisfying about making a contribution to policy in areas that directly affect quality of life.

An idea I wish I’d had…
To use ideas and experiments like those at the fascinating www.thefuntheory.com, which shows how a bit of imagination can influence positive behaviour changes. The experiments range from creating the world’s deepest bin to get more people to deposit their rubbish properly, through to designing a bottle bank arcade to encourage recycling. Their findings and observations prove that fun can change behaviour for the better because there was almost twice as much rubbish collected in one day and 50 times more bottle bank depositors in one evening.

An ad campaign that grabbed me…
The new Live Young campaign for Evian water featuring roller skating babies with attitude. Great music, great expression, great choreography, great feel-good factor and totally watchable.

A campaign that needed more research…
The 2007 MFI campaign portraying a series of ‘common family scenarios’ or well-known domestic jokes definitely needed more research because it received lots of complaints. While the campaign seemed to be based on consumer research, I wonder whether consumers evaluated any pre-launch campaign executions. The ads were attention-grabbing and amusing, lighthearted and different. I smiled at the scenes filmed in the MFI showroom featuring an argument about a toilet seat being left up, and remembered the response I’d get from my parents as a teenage daughter coming home after a late night.

Although the campaign was clearly milder than some soap episodes, many viewers took offence. I saw the lighter side of the campaign, but some saw a real negative side to its lighthearted portrayal of aggression and attitude. This definitely reinforces the need to test ideas properly before going live with them.

One thing this industry could use more of…
Plain English and simplicity so that research findings and, more importantly, the end consumer can be understood and valued more by all internal clients, no matter how research-savvy.

One thing this industry could use less of…
Late nights. The work/life balance is not always easy.

In five years time we’ll all be talking about…
England winning the 2014 World Cup, and looking forward to hosting it in 2018.

And the one thing never to forget…
Big decisions are too important to leave to chance. They need detailed understanding and that’s where research comes in. It really is a fantastic job.

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