FEATURE1 July 2010

Diary: Boots puss and flag waving

Notes on things that have caught our eye in and around the research industry this month.

Cheryl Cole story of the month

Nike learned a lesson about the pitfalls of online polls this month when it sought suggestions for a message of up to 12 characters to be inscribed on Ashley Cole’s World Cup football boots. With a tragic inevitability, the votes poured in for the word ‘Cheryl’ (that’s his estranged wife, for readers with better things to do than keeping tabs on UK celebrity news). It all goes to show that the danger of asking the public for their opinion is that they might tell you. In the end, Cole chose the more innocuous phrase ‘Defend4Ever’ as the winner, although at the time of writing England’s performance in the tournament suggested he might not have to defend for anything like that long.

Once more with feline

Have you ever wished that you and your friends could see exactly what your cat was doing at all times of day? No? Well anyway, Sony has come up with the solution: it’s a tweeting cat collar. Armed with an accelerometer, a GPS locator and a camera, the device tracks what your cat is up to and tells the internet at regular intervals, complete with photos. We hate to break it to Sony, but this has actually been done before, by a cat lover and engineer who equipped his moggy, Mr Lee, with a ‘catcam’ and uploaded photos of his adventures, which mostly involved sitting underneath cars and eyeing up other cats. And what with the internet’s general infatuation with cats, there are probably more examples.

Flying the flag

Nadhim Zahawi, the former CEO of YouGov and newly elected Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon, has been showing off his ability to gauge the public mood. In one of his first appearances in the House of Commons Zahawi asked David Cameron if he would fly an England flag over 10 Downing Street for the duration of the World Cup. Cameron replied that he had already looked into it, and that yes, he would be happy to fly the flag. Whether this move was driven by the results of a YouGov poll, we don’t know.

In other news (and in the interests of full disclosure) Research received a box of World Cup-themed goodies from YouGov this month, including balloons, lollipops and miniature vuvuzelas. And look, we still managed to produce a magazine.

Who’s that girl?

InSites Consulting needs your help. The Belgian research agency has posted a photo on its Facebook page of a “nice-looking lady” who appears in a stock photo used in its marketing materials. She’s got a slightly edgy, futuristic look about her, all angular hair and eye make-up. No wonder those naughty Belgians “really want to know who she is”. They don’t, however, state precisely what their intentions are, which makes their quest seem ever so slightly creepy. What will they offer this woman if they find her? More modelling work? Fifty Euros to take part in a focus group on hair products? Long walks in the country, possibly more? Anyway, InSites asks anyone who knows who she is to get in touch – with the promise of a “nice surprise for the one with the golden tip”.