"Ms. Haverty, who works full-time for the Boston agency of Havas's Arnold, where she occasionally walks around in a lab coat..."
I knew an agency could be a field of dreams for a psychologist but that may be taking it a bit far!
The piece followed the development of a bland television spot for Ocean Spray (the cranberry people).
What's interesting to me is what isn't in this piece. The whole article reflects a pretty dated understanding of how advertising is studied today. Scratch that, it's even bigger - how communication works today! The dusty experimental designs of quantitatively testing advertising are flawed. They are based on a linear understanding of persuasion and are overly reliant on simple comprehension and recall. This in turn encourages more aggressive messaging and repetition which are extremely blunt instruments in today's cluttered marketplace (the piece even mentions that Millward Brown's objective of testing was to simply know how well the ad is remembered).
There are emerging methods of understanding people that are more nuanced and interesting than those profiled in the article. For instance, there is no real mention of engagement or social connections or any of the real trends in the industry (soon I'm going to post something more on engagement; I saw the head research guy from ARF speak recently and would like to share some notes.)
And the role of non lab-coat-wearing resident planners (yes, like me) on nearly every major advertised brand doesn't seem to be on the radar screen.
I guess we should give more consideration to Lab Coat Fridays?
Full article here: Agencies Don Lab Coats to Reach Consumers - WSJ.com.