What’s in your kitchen cupboards?

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One of the most engaging presentations at last Friday’s Annual PRCA Conference was from Toby Harrison, Planning Partner, Adam and Eve DDB (the agency behind the John Lewis Christmas ads if you didn’t already know).

He covered a lot of ground, but the stand out piece for me was his surprise that during the PR pitch and planning process most agencies rely almost exclusively on desk based research.

Toby was clear that you need to get out to see your clients’ business, services, products and customers in the ‘real world’ to really understand the challenge and in turn hopefully to trigger an insight that will inform the strategy and creative.

The advertisement  above was the example that Toby used to highlight the importance of this hands on approach. You guessed it, when they visited consumers’ homes they discovered that Marmite jars were often pushed to the back of kitchen cupboards – forgotten rather than rejected.  This insight triggered the idea for a creative campaign that proved to be hugely entertaining and effective, while still fitting with the core ‘love it or hate it’ narrative. Toby was adamant that this campaign would never had happened if he and his team had not got out to consumers’ homes..

It maybe that we have so much information on-line that we have forgotten about the value of a bit of field work. But if getting out of the agency aids the identification of true insights that produces a differentiated strategy that helps to win a new client or solve a client challenge then it is well worth the effort.