Point of view: Don't dismiss all market research

John Woodward
Publicis Worldwide

I was surprised to read recently in AdAge that Anna Wintour doesn't read market research. Not surprised because I expected her to; surprised because AdAge reported it as somehow noteworthy, and because it did so uncritically, as if the message spoke for itself: because Anna doesn't read market research, we should ignore it too.

Of course, the relative role of research versus creative genius in marketing and advertising has long been debated, but it seems to me that it is littered with half-truths, convenient assumptions and syllogisms.

The standard agency line of defence starts by quoting or misquoting Henry Ford -"If I'd asked people what they wanted, they'd have asked for a faster horse", passes through Steve Jobs, and arrives at Wintour, before arriving at the conclusion, often heard in the creative department, that research kills all great innovation, and therefore should not be applied to our storyboards.