FEATURE1 April 2010

Diary: Texting, loving and naming

A monthly roundup of notable stuff in and around the world of research.

I tweet therefore I am

Diary stuck its head round the door of Globalpark’s mobile research conference this month to ponder whether mobile is a valid medium for research. But when the people sitting to your right, left and in front of you are all using their mobile phones while the presenters speak the question seems to have answered itself. It almost felt rude not to be tweeting, taking a photo, checking your work email or reading the news. When Diary is Prime Minister, mobile phones will be banned for one day in every month, and we will all be reminded what life was like circa 1995. If Diary remembers correctly, we used to just about get by.

Let your hair down

Disney’s upcoming cartoon version of Rapunzel has been renamed Tangled, and market research is being blamed. It’s all because of the disappointing performance of the last Disney film, The Princess and the Frog, which research has suggested was a bit too, well, princessy to attract boys. Disney said the film would have fared better “if it hadn’t been prejudged by its title”, managing to make it sound like it was the audience’s fault. Changing the title (and characters) in response to research certainly smacks of desperate last-minute tinkering. Diary detects a distinct whiff of lessons not being learned here – presumably Disney did research before Princess and the Frog which convinced them the title was right. So will Tangled suffer because it’s not princessy enough? Will the next film be called Princess Princess Princess?

The language of love

Canadian researchers have completed a survey of thousands of romance novels to try to work out what makes women buy them. The study looked at the titles of 22,777 Harlequin and Silhouette novels to find which words appeared most frequently, and not surprisingly the main themes to emerge were commitment (groom, honeymoon, wedding) and reproduction (child, mommy, pregnant). The authors called their study ‘The Texas Billionaire’s Pregnant Bride’ in honour of their conclusions. Diary has taken the work forward and applied the same method to this week’s UK DVD chart in an effort to get inside the psyche of modern Britain. We can now to reveal that the most common word was ‘the’, closely followed by ‘and’. After that it was a tie between all the other words, which included ‘Harry’, ‘locker’, ‘inglourious’, and ‘wife’. Harry and the Inglourious Wife Locker, anyone? Not sure what that says about Britain in 2010, but look me in the eye and tell me it doesn’t sound like an awesome movie.


Private parts
Cryptic posters appearing around London are pointing viewers towards the website loveyourvagina.com. Diary felt it would be remiss not to at least find out what the fuss was about, so we bravely typed in the URL and pressed Enter. The site contains a highly entertaining poll (that’s the market research angle, for readers who were wondering) about what ladies call their… you know… their… Oh, Diary can’t bring itself to repeat any of the words in a family magazine such as this. In fact we can’t even decide which are less suitable for publication: the familiarly crude ones, or the coy, cutesy ones. But we do urge you to visit loveyourvagina.com and spend some quality time with the word cloud. You’re bound to learn something.