FEATURE14 January 2016

The market research intelligentsia

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Features Impact UK

Peter York describes how the clever thinkers broadened market research in the 60s and 70s in the latest article in our series celebrating 70 years of market research.

My first and only employer, Conrad Jameson, was utterly heroic. Heroic for employing the deeply unpromising me for a start; after I left his business, I had to set up a partnership with clever, disciplined Dennis Stevenson, because it was obvious no-one would ever employ me again! Heroic in teaching me about research and its potential role in the world, linking it to politics, social psychology, architecture and design. And heroic for being a market research intellectual. 

The market research intelligentsia was developed by people with a ‘big picture’ view, rather than a narrow, technique-based one; who were interested in the world outside the fortunes of the FMCG giants that dominated the client base when they had started working. They would be the people who’d use, say, qualitative work for Heinz to develop big ideas about changing family structures, class variations in table manners and mass delusions about nutrition. 

They were the first in the Sixties and Seventies to ...