When Focus Group Respondents Had Goose Bumps

Dr. Louis Perron
blog post louis

I remember how I once conducted focus groups for a client as a basis for his tv ad. Based on my results, the ad was produced, and then we submitted it again for testing in a second round of focus groups. Before showing the ads, we asked respondents a series of questions about current issues and concerns. When we finally showed them the ads, they said that the ad gave them goose bumps. That’s how well the ad expressed their feelings, concerns and desires.

When I first heard it, I thought that it was just an episode or a lucky punch. Remember that what one person says in a focus group is not relevant in itself. What we do in focus groups is to look for a pattern and after a series of groups, it became clear that the reference to goose bumps was indeed the pattern. In group after group, voters said that that’s how the ad made them feel. Respondents said that it felt to them as if the candidate had heard them during the first part of the discussion when they were describing their concerns. Well, he actually did hear them through my first round focus groups, which were the basis for the ads to be produced. It’s in stark contrast to many political ads that are immediately forgotten after being watched.

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