The occasion: AQR's Advertising Research Seminar, convened by Peter Dann.

Rushed slightly late into room of 50 people. Why was everyone 20 years younger, wearing cords/slacks ­ off with suit jacket, stuffed tie in 'holder' ­ anyone got a spare toupee?

Then followed a positive, polished and worthwhile day. My pharmaceutically orientated brain slowly tuned in: 'ads' in AQR-speak refer to TV and a 'script' is not a prescription. It was packed with discussion, and some of the ideas are sketched below:

  • Planner turned researcher likened transformation as moving from creator to bomber command (rich analogies).
  • We shouldn't be judgmental ­ work with the planners (can we remain objective?).
  • Brief market research on creative's intentions so that comment and creativity can move forward (ditto objectivity?).
  • Negative likeability is the one 'likeability' left to break through ad clutter (logical, but is it right?)
  • Consumers don't know what they think so can't help us (shall we all retire?).
  • Advertising-aware consumer is now hostile and disdainful of the process (but our immigration policy is designed to provide more virgin consumers?).
  • We can't control consumer interpretation (referee!! ­ we try to increase chance of desired communication).
  • Provide two simultaneous moderators per group for a richer group (Yup!)..
  • Headlights® ­ new method involving post-group Web use ­ (different is nice).
  • The marketing revolution is over. Big (global) branding is dying (application to pharmaceuticals?).
  • Expect rejection of strong ideas so measure energy (and rewrite all my discussion guides!!!).
  • Counter cultural problems by running Asian groups with Asians in Asia (I'll attend).
  • We don't need new research methods ­ just do what we do better (ethnography ­ hum).
  • Semiotics enriches qual.

List not complete but have doubled word limit of review. Want more ideas? Go next time. AQR ­ nice lead into sleeves-rolled-up day ­ title: 'Does research stifle creativity or does 80% of creativity miss the mark?'