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Phoenix on Tour: Quirk’s London Recap

Greenwich, London is a fascinating place. People have lived and plied their various trades in the area for more than a 1,000 years, it features a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Old Royal Navy College, and was of course the birthplace of Greenwich Mean Time – the basis of our international time zones and vital navigational tool for sailors of old. But nestled in such important history, one only has to look across the river Thames to see modernity in the towering skyscrapers of Canary Wharf and the heart of London’s financial district. It felt like a fitting setting for the first Quirk’s event in the UK, the traditional and directional guidance provided by research juxtaposed with leading edge data and insight.

As keen supporters of Quirk’s in the US, we were delighted to participate in the inaugural London conference, particularly in a market that has felt a little light when it comes to industry trade exhibitions. Based on conversations around the Phoenix MI exhibition booth, it is a welcome addition to the conference calendar.

As a market research agency that specializes in Ad and Brand, it was good to have the chance to catch up with some leading edge thinking in the area. In particular, Andrew Geoghegan, Global Head of Consumer Planning at Diageo presented a study that explored positive gender portrayal in advertising. It was an important and inspirational piece of work, not only did it provide the moral and ethical reasons for better representation both in the content and production of advertising, but it also demonstrated how diversity can massively impact the growth of a brand.

Another of the stand-out presentations was from Geraint Jones, Global Marketing Director of strategic consultancy firm CLEAR M&C Saatchi, who presented details of their landmark study The Experience Gap, claiming that between £220 and £360 million is lost each year due to the gap between a brand promise and a consumer’s experience. Additionally, Simon Shaw, Director at Trinity McQueen, shared a new study into the use of nudge tactics in digital marketing, specifically in the leisure industry, showing that consumers are becoming wise to some behavioral science tactics. These sessions combined to show that we now operate in a more savvy consumer environment than we once did; authenticity, representation, and the ability to meet the expectation of a brand promise matter enormously to the public. An important reminder that ad and brand research is as vital as ever.

With all that going on, we were proud to be part of this conversation via our very own SVP of Business Development, Jim Berridge. Jim presented a snapshot of our own study and thought leadership about short form ads. He showed that the rise of short form ads, particularly in the US, has grown apace in recent months and shows no sign of slowing down. What’s more, short form 6 second ads are almost as effective as their longer form 30 and 60 second cousins. However, Jim’s core message was a cautionary tale. Using brand examples, he showed that the industry needs to avoid another App Store scenario, where marketers rush to embrace the concept without really thinking about what is right for the brand. Once again, authenticity and brand promise were shown to be vitally important at Quirk’s London, even when it comes to the length of creative.

The Quirk’s Event London was a great showcase to demonstrate how a market research conference can provide essential learnings for those within the data industry, but also for marketers. We relished the opportunity to connect with our international clients at the event, but also be part of the conversation about how the world of ad and brand is evolving.  

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