Britney Spears in a focus group? Picture that

Britney Spears in a focus group? Picture that Meet Joe Kiefer – the man adding celebs and armed wizards to the MR toolbox
US-- Where might you find Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears shaving her head and Gandalf brandishing an AK47? The answer would be in a focus group held by newly formed Culture Current Research, where participants use pictures to express their feelings and opinions.
Pictures of the actress, singer and fictional wizard are just some of the many images currently residing in founder Joe Kiefer’s Kiefer Image Dialogue Deck (KIDD), which forms the backbone of his agency’s qualitative offer and is based on the work of early 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who developed a range of word and image association games.“If he said ‘chair’, you would have to create an image in your mind about what that chair looks like, but I might be thinking about the chair of a department, so we have two totally different interpretations,” explains Kiefer.
Using his KIDD technique, focus group participants are shown between 30 and 40 pictures and have to pick one, as well as writing a single word on a post-it note, to describe either a product they are using, an idea they’re debating, or an ad creative in development.
In a recent tests of new flavoured crisps, the focus group chose a picture of Jolie to describe the experience of eating a spicy flavour. “The chip was really hot and so is Angelina,” says Kiefer. “Pictures range from abstract art to car crashes and Gandalf with an AK47 - things that don’t go together. They choose an image using words to describe the sensation and then we dig to find out what makes them associate this idea with this image.”
He says: “The whole idea is to engage people in conversation, rather than getting something measurable and definitive like ‘This plastic duck means I’m happy’. Each image can take a lot of interpretations and we’re not looking for the image to be proven, we’re trying to engage the participant.”
Kiefer said KIDD was proving popular with advertising agencies working on branding and pre-concept testing projects. “One client said ‘It helped me put together my muse’ and having a good muse from the start helps make a success.”
He launched Culture Current Research earlier this year after a stint as director of innovative strategies at Sigma Research Management Group.
Author: James Verrinder

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