The Future of Spanish II

May 29th, 2014 in advertising, culture | Tagged , | by | Leave a comment

At the end of last year, I wrote a blog post on whether messaging in Spanish  is still relevant to Hispanic audiences. I concluded that the Hispanic population will likely take a similar path in decline of native language that the Italian, German and Polish immigrants took with their own languages not too long ago. I also pointed out an important statistic  from a 2013 Pew research study; Hispanic audiences are increasingly consuming media in English..

Also in 2013, we saw the launch of CNN Latino and NBC Latino. CNN Latino was a channel that broadcast news in Spanish. NBC Latino was a news website in English with a focus on Hispanic content. Total bust. Both projects lasted about a year.


So what can we learn from CNN Latino and NBC Latino? As one of the NBC Latino ex-staffers put it, “one of those weaknesses is a failure, at times, to grasp what people care about.” In other words, when it comes to Hispanic audiences the discussion should really focus more on content than language. Hispanic markets vary in the spectrum of bilingualism (Miami versus El Paso, for example) and when people working with Hispanics focus on what language to put messaging in, they’re missing the point.

Hispanics are Mexican, Cuban, Puerto-Rican, Panamanian, Costa-Rican, Guatemalan, Ecuadorian, Peruvian, Chilean, Colombian, and on and on and on. They are Caucasian, African-American, Indigenous, Asian and everything in between. They are fluent in English and they do not speak English. They just arrived in the U.S. and they are fourth-generation Americans.

I do not wish to undermine the importance of thinking of language when coming up with messaging for this audience. However, when discussion surrounding Hispanic audiences revolves solely on language and slapping on a ‘Latino’ stamp it will fail. And it will fail because it is disrespectful. It shows no understanding, let alone respect, of the multiculturalism that characterizes and pervades the audience. Lumping Mexicans and Cubans in one group is like calling Canadian and American culture the same.

In my view, CNN Latino and NBC Latino failed miserably at understanding the nuances of Hispanic audiences. I suspect they accidentally alienated Latinos by telling them regular CNN and NBC is just not good enough for them. NBC Latin regurgitated many English stories and threw in what they believed was a Latino filter, amplifying the sense of segregation. CNN Latino forgot their target audience isn’t interested in consuming traditional media. In the end, they failed on spending time and energy on understanding their consumer. From a cultural perspective, Hispanics live in at least two worlds and it is necessary to speak with them in the same way.

As Luck Would Have It

May 28th, 2014 in Uncategorized | by | Leave a comment

ImageDo ya feel lucky? Well do ya?

If you do, place your bet and double it again as it appears that lucky streaks are for real. If fact, they’re a behavioral fact of life.

It isn’t that people have a “hot hand,” explains a recent study by University College, London and as reported in The Economist, or that people are self-deceiving and only believe they’re winning when they are not. What occurs when one [usually] wins a series of hands is that wining streaks increase in length because winners start choosing safer bets and safer odds, which leads to more wins, albeit for less winnings. Conversely, those experiencing a losing streak also bring it on themselves making even riskier bets after each loss, and thus lose more.

The rule “the house always wins” is thereby assured, for winning streaks win less and losing streaks lose more. Perhaps the “gambler’s fallacy” is correct after all.


The Great and Powerful Dr. Oz

May 21st, 2014 in culture, knowledge, market research | Tagged , , , , , , | by | Leave a comment

Dr OzWhile the title and subject of this blog post is by no means original (see here, here, and here) I believe it is worth repeating and emphasizing the incredible influence that Dr. Oz, as “America’s Doctor,” has over American’s perceptions of health, diet, nutrition and their bodies. Dr. Oz is clearly among the most well-known celbri-docs and I have watched his program on a few occasions. However, I was recently taken aback by just how great and powerful Dr. Oz is after conducting three unrelated research projects where during discussions of diet and food choices his name repeatedly came up as a trusted source of knowledge.

I won’t get into the arguments about whether the advice that Dr. Oz dispenses is helpful and based on scientific evidence or whether it crosses into the realm of smoke, mirrors and pseudoscience, but the fact is that America is paying quite a bit of attention to the man behind the curtain. 

In today’s world, with the vast amounts of information that we are exposed to on a regular basis about health, nutrition and dieting through digital media, TV, on the packaging of foods and simply through talking with friends and family, very few people can actually pinpoint the source of their ideas about the relationship between diet and health. The information overload consumers face provides so much information, and some of it contradictory, that consumers effectively develop their own guidelines for what defines a healthy diet and what works for them from a conglomeration of different, and often forgettable sources.

And then there is Dr. Oz.

While it perhaps should not have surprised me, I was incredibly surprised over the course of these research projects how Dr. Oz consistently came up as a named source that research participants trusted to give them advice about health and nutrition. As one research participant who was, somewhat paradoxically, skeptical of the food industry mentioned, “He seems trustworthy… He’s a doctor. He’s on TV. You want to believe him.”

It’s the old “Trust me, I’m a doctor” phenomenon, combined with the “I’m on TV and I’m a celebrity and celebrities should always be trusted” phenomenon. Dr. Oz has the both the credibility of being a doctor, which is legitimately derived through his MD from the University of Pennsylvania and being a professor of surgery at Columbia, and the arguably more important credibility of celebrity, derived in large part through the most powerful and enduring celebrity of all – Oprah Winfrey!

So whether this is old news to you or not, it is definitely worth noting that Dr. Oz is NOT the man behind the curtain. He is the man in front of the curtain, and he is the man in America’s living room that quite a few people are listening to.

Solving Research Needs with a Mixed Methodology Approach

May 20th, 2014 in advertising, branding, market research | Tagged , , , | by | Leave a comment

Qualitative. Quantitative. Strategy. The three pillars of W5. As a research firm that conducts both qualitative and quantitative studies, we have the opportunity to work with clients using mixed methodology approaches to solve their strategic business questions and challenges. Often, a research engagement requires more than simply qualitative focus groups or a quantitative online survey. Time and time again, we see the advantages of implementing a hybrid methodology approach – conducting exploratory qualitative research to inform the development of a quantitative questionnaire, or using qualitative ethnographic research to round out newly identified segments coming out of a segmentation study. This month we spotlight a case study illustrating a custom designed approach using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to meet our client’s research needs.


An auto paint and body repair firm with a strong yet dated brand heritage and their advertising agency sought an up-to-date understanding of consumer perceptions, and preferences to inform strategic development of a new brand identity and communications platform.


W5 first conducted exploratory qualitative research through focus groups and in-home/garage ethnography interviews to establish a foundational understanding of consumer behaviors, needs, and brand perceptions. A robust quantitative segmentation study was then conducted, segmenting the market into five actionable clusters, three of which represented prime opportunity segments for the client. After development of brand positioning and advertising concepts targeted for these key segments, W5 conducted additional quantitative survey research to highlight resonant approaches and opportunities for further development.


The research insights yielded an up-to-date understanding of target consumers, their needs, and their perspective on the category. Definition of core strategic segments allowed the client to focus strategic efforts in branding, communications, customer service, and product offerings. Identification of actionable and resonant brand approaches provided short-term benefits to supplement the broader strategic learning.

Spotlight is a special feature of the W5 Blog showcasing W5 consultants’ approach to designing marketing research studies, creating engaging deliverables, and informing strategy. For more information on W5’s approach to qualitative or quantitative research contact:

A Plead to Keep Fashion Unique

May 16th, 2014 in branding, Collection, culture, Fashion | Tagged , , , , , , | by | Leave a comment

I eagerly follow New York Fashion week every year, desperate to see what flashy new trends are emerging among my favorite designers. Although fashion week is long gone and we’re headed into summer, fashion week still sits top of mind for me. During the infamous week, the WSJ covered a story, Fashion Industry Meets Big Data, about fashion brands using big data subscriptions to predict and forecast trends. Before digging into the article, I was shocked! How dare these unique brands I have come to love use big data to fill the runway? But, as I read on I understood the business model and why one particular fashion data company has seen 40% growth over the last four years. It seems almost foolish for fashion companies not to use these kinds of services to make sure their styles are on track, their products will continue to move, and ultimately they will increase revenues.091508_floral_400x400

However, I have some concerns about these data services predicting and forecasting what we will be wearing next season, especially if they are all predicting the same styles. For example, it’s no surprise that floral patterns have made a comeback. Every store I have been in the last few weeks has incorporated florals into their summer line. Floral pants, skirts, leggings, blouses and headbands. Of course I realize that trends like this catch on every season, leather in the fall, neon in the spring, but I have to wonder if the overload of florals had something to do with big data fashion companies. If 3,600 corporate subscribers use the same big data company… isn’t there a good chance their lines are going to have sweeping similarities? I continue to hope that this won’t be the case, that somewhere in all the data our favorite designers won’t lose creativity, uniqueness, originality, or expression. Anna Clarke, head of women’s wear for J Sainsbury’s Tu clothing range said, “We use [trend forecasters] to support, validate and give us confidence we’re on the same page.” I think it’s great that there are services that offer guidance to the competitive world of fashion and I wish these companies the best of luck. My hope is that so many of the companies arise and subscriptions are spread across enough vendors that we don’t have to worry about seeing an overkill of trends, a conformity among brands, or for a lack of better words, the same exact thing on every shelf.

Binge TV

May 6th, 2014 in advertising, branding, culture | by | Leave a comment

With Walking Dead on a break, I have been itching for a new weekly show. I settled on Silicon Valley and every ending is a bittersweet moment, as I have to bid yet another goodbye to all the geeky characters until next week. But I am excited for Mad Men to end – I dropped off after the first season after I started to actually work at an ad agency.  But somehow learning it is ending for good makes me actually excited to section off times so I can view all seasons one after another.  I might also really want to see how the writers were able to develop a story where January Jones wears a fat suit.

Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV – these are all tools that have enabled us to watch TV shows like we would a movie, letting us see a beginning, middle and end in one sitting. People talk about waiting to see the whole season at once and I get it – when you’re hooked on a story you want to experience the next chapter ASAP. Miner & Co Studio defines binge-viewing as watching three or more episodes of a show in one sitting.


But Netflix, Hulu, and binge-viewing have been around for years, what’s so interesting about it now?

An article on MediaPost points out binge-viewing is ramping up like never before. Seven out of ten TV viewers are self-proclaimed ‘binge viewers’.  A whopping ninety percent of binge-viewers ‘binge’ once a month. They’re young and they’re diverse, with more than half being millennial and mostly non-white.

Before all the Mad Men get out their whiskeys to mourn the death of commercials, here’s some interesting news to media spenders; the heaviest binge watchers are more likely to play commercials all the way through. They’re also more likely to upgrade their Tv pay subscriptions. For TV producers, this means a lot more viewers – 43% of binge-viewers watch more TV.

Fireball Whiskey is Liquid Gold

May 1st, 2014 in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | by | Leave a comment

Move over Jägermeister, Fireball is coming to town.Fireball on instagram

It’s the cinnamon flavored, Atomic Fireball candy like, syrupy-sweet liquor that “Tastes like Heaven. Burns like Hell.” And, its sales are just that – on fire.

Hailed by many as one of the most successful liquor brands in decades, Fireball sales jumped from $1.9 million in 2011 to $61 million in 2013 – putting Fireball ahead of popular brands like Jameson Irish Whiskey and Patron tequila according to IRI. The $61 million figure does not even account for bar sales of the sweet liquor.

Fireball Whiskey: Selling a Brand, Shot by Shot by Devin Leonard of Bloomberg Businessweek highlights the history of the brand here in the U.S. and introduces Richard Pomes whose job was basically to wander the country buying people shots. Nick Thomas, marketing director for Republic New Orleans, a nightclub in the city, puts it simply, “Fireball did a really good job of focusing on sampling. They just put it in a ton of mouths very quickly.”

This strategy coupled with an established presence of brand ambassadors, who you can follow on Foursquare to monitor their whereabouts for free shots, and enlisted celebrities, like Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” Josh Harris, helped plaster the Fireball brand across social media platforms.

From a profit standpoint, bars can’t be happier. The liqueur retails for about $16 a bottle and sells for about $5-$8 a shot – you’re making money after three servings. Additionally, as Leonard points out, the beauty of Fireball from a commercial standpoint is that it’s a whiskey, but it’s easy to take. Men like it well enough. Women seem even more enthralled by Fireball, which is rare for a shots brand. Some bartenders in upscale establishments will tell you they carry Fireball, but they keep it out of sight. They cringe at the thought of being overrun by selfie-taking Fireball drinkers. Still, these bartenders stock it.

To hear more about the Fireball phenomenon explained by three seasoned New York City bartenders, check out this video.

Is Fireball a fad? Perhaps. But in the meantime, bottoms up!

“Quantitative Survey of Television Title Sequences”

May 1st, 2014 in Uncategorized | by | Leave a comment

I have an unabashed love for title sequences of movies and TV shows, this being my favorite:

an education

See it here: AN EDUCATION Titles from MOMOCO Film Titles on Vimeo.

A good title sequence does a lot of expositional heavy lifting, quickly establishing a tone and context for the story to follow. It is the cinematic equivalent of “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Movies have a long history of excellent title sequences, but with the current TV renaissance, TV dramas and comedies have begun crafting artful intros as well.

But linguist Monika Bednarek has taken to analyzing TV titles from the ’00s (via Vox) and found that these titles serve both functional and artistic purposes. The functionality makes sense in the context of the medium – you have to create clear distinctions between programs and attract viewers.

Should you have the requisite idiosyncratic obsession with title sequences and a few minutes to spare, the paper is published in full, here.

“A quantitative survey of television title sequences”

May 1st, 2014 in data visualization, Media, study, Uncategorized | by | Leave a comment

I have an unabashed love for title sequences of movies and TV shows, this being my favorite:

AN EDUCATION Titles from MOMOCO Film Titles on Vimeo.

A good title sequence does a lot of expositional heavy lifting, quickly establishing a tone and context for the story to follow. It is the cinematic equivalent of “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Movies have a long history of excellent title sequences, but with the current TV renaissance, TV dramas and comedies have begun crafting artful intros as well.

But linguist Monika Bednarek has taken to analyzing TV titles from the ’00s (via Vox) and found that these titles serve both functional and artistic purposes. The functionality makes sense in the context of the medium – you have to create clear distinctions between programs and attract viewers.

Should you have the requisite idiosyncratic obsession with title sequences and a few minutes to spare, the paper is published in full, here.





The Blank Stare

April 18th, 2014 in market research, quotes | Tagged , , , | by | Leave a comment

I really enjoyed reading Isiah Adam’s blog post on market research analogies. His compilation of quotes is a great reminder that people who don’t work in the MR world can easily be confused by our lingo. If you work in MR, you’ve likely experienced a blank stare after sharing your job description to a friend. Some of these analogies serve a reminder to talk about MR in a way that those who aren’t immersed in it will understand (whether that’s a friend, family member, marketing director,creative director, or CEO). Below are a few of my favorites, be sure to check out Isiah’s blog post for more. Enjoy!

“Starting a business without doing market research is like stepping out onto a tightrope without bothering to check the tightness of the knots that are holding the rope in place. You’re halfway across when the knots loosen, the rope wobbles; you lose your balance, and fall to the ground with a splat.” -Tim Knox

“Marketing Research is like panning for gold. You must sift through the dirt in order to identify the golden opportunities.” -Heather Hinman

“Some use research as the drunkard uses the lamppost, for support rather than for illumination.” -David Ogilvy