Nursery Blog

The Paradox of Tinder

Psychologist Barry Schwartz taught us that, paradoxically, the more choices he have, the less happy we are. Rather than enhancing our lives and allowing us to make the most relevant decisions, having more options can overwhelm us, and leave us feeling that the grass is always greener. As Schwartz says:

"Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in a world of unlimited possibilities is harder still, perhaps too hard."

Yet even being fully aware of this paradox, I will still spend my hour lunch break fretting over which colour Nike...

Feeling tap-happy: 2018 as the year of the contactless donation

In December, I predicted that 2018 would be the year that sees contactless charity payments go mainstream – you’ll be able to tap to donate for your poppy, daffodil or geranium badge, and I think it can’t come soon enough. In an increasingly cashless society, and with contactless payments now accounting for more than half of all transactions under £30, I’m hopeful that charities will be able to better harness the power of the casual donor.

We know from consumer psychology the benefit of being mentally and (in this case crucially), physically available...

Coffee anyone?

In 2017 The Nursery predicted that 2018 would be the year of the Reusable Cup. As awareness of the waste built up by millions of morning latte habits has grown, we felt sure consumers would be seeking a better more permanent alternative to all those paper cups, plastic lids and corrugated surrounds clogging up litter bins. The shocking truth is that the UK throws away 2.5 billion paper coffee cups every year and only 1 in 400 is ever recycled. These cups have a paper exterior with a plastic lining and are therefore very hard to recycle....

You're feeling very sleepy....

It’s time to get down to the real basics now.  Sleep is the current big thing we’re being sold.  It was my prediction at the Nursery predictions for 2018.  I’ve seen it mentioned in loads of articles in Jan and Feb, so thought I’d talk about it and remind everyone where they heard it first.

It’s relevant to everyone and with tech keeping us always on we’re heading for a sleep crisis and revolution.  Like Hygge except there’s no need to lose a whole day to Edmonton Ikea.

Benson’s beds has a sleep school.  Liberty has a sleep school....

Nursery Rhymes

If anyone has read Dave Trott's latest blog
They'd find he has given our memory a jog
He discusses advertisers' use of rhyme
And reminds us of a more rhythmical time

A time when an apple a day kept the doctor away &
A mars helped you work, rest and play
The trick with rhyme is it makes things important
And can act as an effective prompt or portent

For an issue that needs addressing
That is urgent or indeed pressing
Clunk Click Every Trip, or
Loose Lips Sink Ships

Today if you travel on...

Home hackers - what does the future hold?

Before Christmas, one of my predictions was that increased usage of the Internet of Things would lead to the first ‘home hacks’. Hackers will start to attack individuals by unlocking their doors, generating random online orders to Tesco or making their living rooms uncomfortably warm.

And although this may sound like a bad joke, or even an episode of Black Mirror, ‘home hacking’ is a growing concern amongst consumers. There are many who are suspicious of smart-gadgets and are holding off on buying them due to concerns over security.[1] So those...

Fantastical, free choice - why the site of Amazon's second US headquarters is of such interest

Late last year Paddy Power opened a book on where Amazon will choose to locate its second US (or rather, North American) headquarters, bringing with it 50,000 jobs, a surge of local optimism and a significant hike to real estate values.

Paddy Power’s action may not be any great barometer of significance, but the considerable number of column inches devoted to this topic has been avidly consumed not only in the States but in the UK as well. Part of the reason may be that this is not the kind of decision we...

The funniest place in the UK

As part of our year-long study into humour types in 2017, we asked our participants: ‘Where is the funniest place in the UK?’

We expected ‘the north’ to feature highly and indeed it did. In fact, Northerners believed that humour barely exists down south; that life is too corporate and driven by profit and this is prioritised over humour and relationships.

But Southerners also said that life and people in the North were funnier than in the South. It was one aspect of Northern life that they envied.

And one particular part of the North...

MRS Awards Dinner

On Monday 4 December over 900 people gathered to celebrate at the Market Research Society’s annual awards dinner. Market researchers don’t often shout about the contributions we make, so the MRS award dinner is a great opportunity to celebrate the impact we have on all the industries with which we work. It’s also a chance for us to learn about what everyone’s been up to over the previous year.

Last year, The Nursery attended the MRS awards to toast being nominated in the Best Agency under 20 million category. This year,...

Unpicking anger

On 8 November the Cultural Insight Forum and BMB held an event on anger. The evening comprised four talks from very different speakers, all touching upon how society views anger and how it can become a force, with both positive and negative outcomes.

We first heard from Ian Murray the founder of House51, a research and strategy agency. His talk centred on the idea that anger is natural and instinctive, and not necessarily a bad thing. He reasoned that even among people who think about emotional response for a living (researchers...

Branding Bigness

Some things, surely, are beyond branding – like numbers or bigness for example?

I was listening to the wonderful Tim Harford on More or Less (compulsory homework for market researchers), and they were discussing the names for ever-increasing hard drive, server storage capacity – Giga, Tera, Peta etc – each equivalent to 1000 times the previous one in the series.

As with the annual launch of the latest Apple device or new car models we seem to see a similar launch of a new prefix to indicate an even...

Thirty Years of IKEA

Thirty years ago IKEA arrived in the UK and transformed the way we live. There cannot be a house in the country that does not contain something from IKEA whether it be a flat pack desk, a Klippan sofa, or a pack of tea lights.

Its mission is simple, ‘to create a better everyday life for the many people’ (ring a bell Jeremy Corbyn?) and whilst many of us have battled to assemble a Billy bookcase or wrestled a set of blinds through the checkout, vowing ‘never again’ after two hours shuffling round the store on...

Christmas comes early












We were talking in the office about how Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier every year – that old (roast) chestnut. No sooner have the “Back to School” posters come down at the supermarkets than the aisles are re-jigged and reconfigured to accommodate a wider range of Christmas essentials – from tins of Celebrations to jars of Pickled Walnuts and dog Christmas stockings to fairy lights. It used to be that Christmas merchandise didn’t really appear in...

Challenging Perceptions of Life in Uniform - Creative Development for The Army's 'This is Belonging' Recruitment Campaign

We’re really proud of the work we’ve done over the years for recruitment for the Armed Forces. And we’re delighted to have been shortlisted for the MRS Jeremy Bullmore Award for Creative Development. 

Our joint submission with Karmarama is for work on The Army’s ‘This is Belonging’ Recruitment Campaign. Developed against a backdrop of challenging Army recruitment targets and low consideration, our contribution included three stages of qualitative research (identification, development, evaluation) over 15 months, all of which were integral to the campaign’s development.

In January 2017, the campaign...

The researchers who never ask why

The more you learn about being a qualitative researcher, the more you value the power of asking fewer questions. Most importantly, you tend to stop using the word ‘why?’

‘Why’ is just not a terribly nice word. It’s sharp and aggressive. It’s accompanied by a challenging question mark or is asked with a quizzical lilt. It piles the pressure on. It impels people to rationalise their ideas, thoughts and behaviour. It encourages people to provide an ‘answer’.

But qualitative research isn’t about hunting for answers and identifying truths. It’s...

Are you getting the most out of your tracking? | Part 4

Don’t take your data for granted. A lot of work goes into the science of collecting accurate, representative samples of the audience you are shooting for. You need to know that the 500 people who say they love your brand look like the 5 million you really care about. Good research companies are like swans – elegant and peaceful, but believe me there’s a lot of hard paddling going on under the surface.

Survey respondents are not earning the minimum wage taking part in surveys. Keep it simple, deliver it...

Humour: it's a serious business

Come along to one of our Nursery Breakfasts in London or Leeds to see the findings from a fascinating qual/quant study we recently conducted into different types of humour. Humour can be a powerful communications tool for brands, but there’s been very little research into the power of laughter and how it impacts an audience.

We’ve created a humour segmentation which identifies nine different types of humour in the UK and establishes the predominant segment. It’s the result of research that included an online survey, consumer workshops, vox pops and...

Life's too short: The key to good communication

I recently went to see a performance at the Barbican. My brother had bought me tickets as a birthday present and, because I really love it there, I was unperturbed to find out that the show was a two hour one man play without an interval.

Well that’s two hours of my life I’m never getting back!!

As the rest of the audience got up for a standing ovation, I could barely bring myself to clap my hands together. How could it be that everyone else had enjoyed it so...

The two most sensitive subjects to research

Researching sensitive and embarrassing subjects fills you with dread as a younger researcher and with glee once you get older and have lost all capacity for embarrassment yourself. The first focus group I ever moderated was about adult incontinence. I had listened intently to my qualitative director who told me to always find some common ground with the people you’re interviewing. This seemed solid advice so I embraced it wholeheartedly and so told my audience of worldly wise older women that I wasn’t incontinent at the moment but I...

Lunchtime in Guatemala

One of the glories of life at the Nursery is the sheer diversity of brands, categories and markets we get to experience. In the last month alone I’ve spoken to UK parents about why they take their kids to A&E, asked Americans about holidays in Britain, explored why we Brits love Michael Parkinson and helped develop a property investment platform for Ultra High Net Worths.

Variety truly is the spice of life but you can also find variety in the unlikeliest of places, which brings me to my favourite project of...

Ramadan - it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

A recent project in Cairo during Ramadan made us think about the differences, but also indeed the similarities, between cultures. Christmas and New Year may seem different from Ramadan and then Eid, but there are also connections between them.

For me, going to Cairo as a non-Muslim, Ramadan can seem a curious mix of self-denial and pleasure. We are used in the West to one following the other, to have a blow-out at Christmas and then go through a period of detox in January, or perhaps the other way round where...

AQR Spark - Cultural Revolution

It was on a dark and rainy July day that two colleagues and I traipsed across London after work to attend a talk on culture and branding held by AQR Spark. Although it was only Tuesday, we all felt like we’d had a long week already, and even the idea of listening to an hour and 45 minute lecture left us feeling a little drained. Luckily for us, Dr. Nick Gadsby’s talk was engaging, uplifting and funny, we all went away with revived energy. 

The Association of Qualitative Researchers regularly hold Spark events, which allow qual researchers the...

The Liars of Love Island

As with the rest of the country, our office is split between those of us glued to Love Island and the rest who think it is, as the Spectator described it, braindead filth. But any researcher who does not watch Love Island is seriously neglecting their profession. This is because the essential joy of the show is not just looking at beautiful people having a two month holiday but in figuring out who is honest about their relationships and who is lying through their teeth. And figuring out lies from the truth is what research tends to...

Which side are you on?









Debate rages at The Nursery as it does in the wider advertising community at the new directive issued by the ASA about gender stereotyping.

The team at The Nursery always give a point of view - in this case Lucy and David offer two different ones for the price of one. Which side of the fence are you on?

Lucy - It's 2017

So the ASA has stepped in to the hot topic of gender representation and decreed that advertising should not perpetuate gender stereotypes. Quite right too.

And significant that the ASA has...