Ever get suspicious that your Facebook friends are having too much fun? That the lives of people you follow on Instagram are too fabulous to be believed? According to Christophe Jouan, CEO of Future Foundation and a keynote speaker at our upcoming Advertising Research conference, held in London on September 25, all of this social media-based bragging should be a crucial concern for the marketing industry. At Ad Research, Jouan will be discussing what he terms the Big Lie of marketing – also the title of a new book from Future Foundation. This Big Lie is a simple human truth: that how we want others to see us is as important a consideration as how we truly feel.
From this perspective, it's pretty obvious why so many are so keen to portray a happy and interest-packed life via Facebook. As Jouan told me, when we talked through his Ad Research presentation in London last week, "in these social networks, you create your own brand – which you want to promote at all times." It follows that marketers need to recognise this performative need to make others view us positively, and tailor their communications accordingly.
This year's Ad Research event is based around the implicit memory: that ever-evolving set of new MR techniques that promises to uncover unconscious motivations and desires. But, as head of an organisation with an arsenal of traditional survey data stretching back 30 years, Jouan sees such "implicit memory" techniques as only a useful part of the research repertoire, rather than the be all and end all. The responsible client, he suggested, should not go all in with brain scanning and eye tracking and jettison the tried and true techniques.
"The reality is – a lot of it is in between the conscious and unconscious," Jouan told me. "We are not completely irrational beings. And part of the idea behind the Big Lie is that there is a degree of rationality behind every single action."
This issue has become an ongoing debate in the MR industry, and will be one of the subjects under discussion at Ad Research. Our agenda includes client voices from Heineken to Heinz, along with research agencies from Ipsos ASI and Forethought Research. You can browse the whole agenda, and book your tickets, in the Warc Store.
If you'd like a teaser of the event, or if you can't attend, next Monday (16 September) we're also hosting a lively discussion about researching the implicit memory with Nick Southgate (consultant), Mark Earls (author of Herd), David Penn (MD, Conquest Research) and Phil Barden (MD, Decode Marketing) in a free pre-event webinar. Click the link to register, or to receive a recording of the 60-minute webinar to catch up with later. We hope it's useful, and, together with the conference, will serve to move this interesting debate on.