The Warc Blog

Four data lessons from history

Posted by: Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence, Manning Gottlieb OMD

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The trade press overflows with interesting predictions about the future of advertising.

But there's a problem.

18 October 2016, 10:57
A good walk spoiled: The problem with moral licensing

Posted by: Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence, Manning Gottlieb OMD

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"All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking." Or so said the half-crazed philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. Brian Wansink took that one step further and conceived a great advertising thought while getting others to go walking.

Wansink, professor of psychology at Cornell University, recruited 56 subjects to walk a mile route. Half were told to test an MP3 player as they walked, stopping off at six places along the route to monitor sound quality. The other half were told the walk was exercise, and asked to monitor energy levels at the same set places. After the walk they returned their results, collected payment and were told they were free to go. Before they left they were invited to an all-you-can eat buffet the university had laid on.

03 October 2016, 14:36
The cobra effect

Posted by: Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence, Manning Gottlieb OMD

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Of all the decisions made by the colonial governor in Delhi, offering a bounty for dead cobras was one of the worst.

It had seemed a sensible policy. After all, cobras were a deadly hazard that needed culling. But as the governor had limited manpower at his disposal, he needed others to conduct the cull. So a small bounty was offered for every dead cobra handed in to the authorities.

05 September 2016, 10:38
Doping and the false consensus effect

Posted by: Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence, Manning Gottlieb OMD

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Doping casts a shadow over the Olympics. Excitement about record breaking performances will be tempered by doubts about whether they were chemically fuelled. But this uncertainty about who is cheating led Matthew Dunn, a psychologist at the University of Sydney, to create an ingenious experiment.

In 2011, Dunn asked 974 elite athletes to estimate the prevalence of drug taking in their sport. He found recent drug users estimated 45% of their competitors also cheated, whereas non-users put the figure at just 12%. The athletes couldn't help but project their behaviour onto others.

01 August 2016, 12:34
Distinctiveness - a sinister advantage for brands

Posted by: Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence, Manning Gottlieb OMD

Blog author

After England's early exit from the Euros, patriotic sports fans have turned their attention to Wimbledon. Britain still have strong representation in the form of the Murray brothers.

While Andy gets most of the attention, it's actually Jamie who has the higher ranking: currently doubles world number 1. Perhaps part of his strength is due to a natural advantage. He's left-handed.

05 July 2016, 15:03
From the wisdom of crowds to the winner's curse, and how Media buyers should zig when the world zags

Posted by: Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence, Manning Gottlieb OMD

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In 1906 Francis Galton, the country's foremost statistician, attended the West of England Fat Stock and Poultry Exhibition and uncovered an intriguing phenomenon.

Galton was interested in the highlight of the country fair: a guess the weight of an ox competition. After the competition ended, Galton analysed all 787 entries and stumbled upon a surprise finding. The median of all the guesses was remarkably accurate – 1,207 lbs, compared to the actual weight of 1,197 lbs.

23 June 2016, 15:34
The curse of knowledge

Posted by: Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence, Manning Gottlieb OMD

Blog author

Think of a song. A simple, well known tune. Now tap out the rhythm on your desk and ask a colleague to guess the name. Easy, right?

Well, an experiment from Elizabeth Newton, a psychologist at Stanford, suggests not. She split participants into two groups: 'tappers' and 'listeners'. The first group chose a song and then, without revealing its name, they tapped out the rhythm for the listeners to guess. The tappers estimated the probability of the song being recognised at 50%. They were wildly wrong. Of the 120 songs in the experiment only 2.5% were identified correctly.

19 April 2016, 12:28
All that is solid melts into thin air

Posted by: Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence, Manning Gottlieb OMD

Blog author

Although more than a hundred years ago, the summer of 1914 has many similarities with now. In particular, it was a time of rapid technological change. The wireless telegraph, invented in 1896, had transformed communications - messages that once took days to convey could be transmitted instantaneously.

But that speed had a cost.

23 March 2016, 12:59
How costly signaling makes ads more effective

Posted by: Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence, Manning Gottlieb OMD

Blog author

In the nineteenth century Charles Darwin was struck by a number of oddities in the natural world that contradicted his theory of evolution. The peacock, for example, with its huge cumbersome tail baffled him to the extent he wrote to Asa Gray on April 3rd 1860:

"The sight of a feather in a peacock's tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick".

18 February 2016, 12:14
Should advertisers invest in ‘moment marketing’?

Posted by: Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence, Manning Gottlieb OMD

Blog author

WARC and Deloitte Digital recently published six major marketing trends for 2016. The most interesting is moment marketing: the idea that brands need to identify the moments and contexts where messages resonate best. It’s an important trend as the rise in consumer data and digital targeting means it’s easier than ever to identify and then reach consumers at the ideal moment.

But what’s the evidence for the importance of moment marketing?

25 January 2016, 10:50
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