Archive for February, 2013

Our First Annual Oscar Re-Cap: by our very own serious Oscar Prognosticator, Alice Morgan!

Posted on: February 25th, 2013 by doyle 1 Comment

The Context

The great thing about the Oscars this year was … the movies themselves.  It was an amazing year.  Virtually all of the 9 movies nominated for Best Picture were excellent (even though I walked out of Les Mis because I couldn’t handle its overly-engaging visual style, I recognize it had merit And not only were the movies great, but people actually saw them!  Seven of the nine nominated movies grossed more than $100 million.  It worked out well that Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for Best Director, this garnered a huge sympathy vote and also allowed Ang Lee the recognition he deserved for Life of Pi.  As Hollywood Insider Nikki Finke notes, Hollywood hates Steven Spielberg, which is why his movies rarely win.  (

The Ceremony

I thought Seth MacFarlane was … fine.  Not horrible, not amazing.  His opening “we saw your boobs” number was offensive but that was the point, he was hired to be offensive, to appeal to younger viewers.  My kids, who normally drift away from the ceremony after 10 minutes, stayed with it, which indicates that the strategy worked.  Liked the riff that Seth MacFarlane was “the worst Oscar Host ever,” because it is true that hosting the Oscars is a no-win job and every year this headline resurfaces.  Sock puppet reenactment of Flight – hilarious.  Loved Adele and Barbra and Shirley “Goldfinger” Bassey but thought the Chicago and Les Mis montages were both overlong.  Fun fact:  the producers of this year’s Oscars produced Chicago so plugging it seemed more than a little self-serving.  HATED the Michelle Obama live feed for Best Picture – do we really need to give conservative Republicans more evidence that the White House is in cahoots with Hollywood?  Other than Daniel Day Lewis, and to a lesser degree Quentin Tarantino, virtually all the speeches were dull, dull, dull.  This speaks to the wisdom of serving alcohol at other awards shows, most notably the Golden Globes, where speeches are often loopy.  Many of the presenters’ intros were long and lackluster (I’m talking to you, Kristen Stewart, Channing Tatum, and Melissa McCarthy!)

The Clothes

Most of the gowns were safe and publicist-approved, good but not great.  Lots of strapless, lots of sequins.  Loved Octavia Spencer and Queen Latifah, hooray for plus-sized women looking fabulous in white dresses!   Also liked the sculptural quality of Naomi Watts’ dress, and Charlize Theron, who has a perfect record of consistently Killing It on the red carpet.  Halle Berry looked lean and mean, fitting for a Bond Girl.  Bad dresses were mostly due to overly decorated bodices – Anne Hathaway’s dress was ok except when viewed from certain angles in which the stitching looked pornographic.  Nicole Kidman, Zoe Saldana and Kerry Washington all suffered from overly glittery bodices. Thought Jane Fonda’s dress the worst of the evening.  And let’s not even talk about Melissa McCarthy.

The Categories

I correctly predicted virtually all of the major categories other than Best Supporting Actor, which was by all accounts a toss-up (although I’m glad Christoph Waltz won, albeit for an identical role he played in Inglourious Basterds, for which he also won.)  Despite the predictability of the major awards, (see Nate Silver’s blog describing how prior awards show wins handicap Oscar races ( it was great to see the lesser awards evenly distributed among a breadth of high-quality movies.

The Coda

Back to the movies, because to repeat, the Best Picture nominees were of unusually high quality this year. Amour is devastating.  Life of Pi and Beasts are visual marvels which defy categorization.  Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty dramatize major historical events, albeit imperfectly. Django is great, great, fun, particularly the first half.  And Silver Linings Playbook and Argo are well crafted, enjoyable films.  Go!



Tips for Getting More Value From Qualitative Research | Part 2: Staying on Track

Posted on: February 19th, 2013 by doyle

Staying on Track

In this blog post,  we will explore additional ways to add value and/or control costs when you conduct a qualitative research project.

Avoid last minute screening changes.   Make sure everyone involved with the project has signed off on the screening criteria before you begin the recruit.  Once you get into the field, any changes that are made—unless they are to loosen screening criteria—are costly.

Plan for no-shows by recruiting overbooks or floaters.  It’s inevitable.  A child gets sick, there is a traffic accident, someone forgets, or someone shows up and doesn’t pass the rescreen.  Rather than being thrown by it, plan for it!  Our rule of thumb is to over-recruit by about 20% for groups, and to schedule a floater for every 4-5 IDIs depending on the length of the interview.

When technology is involved, little things matter.  When conducting telephone/mobile interviews remind respondents to charge their cellphone batteries and have cords and chargers on hand.   When conducting webcam focus groups or IDIs, require the platform hosting company to do a “tech check” prior to the scheduled research to make sure the interviews go smoothly.  And when stimulus is involved, request that it be provided 1-3 days in advance of the research (depending on the complexity of the stimulus) to allow time for uploading, checking, adjusting, etc.

Plan ahead to avoid overtime charges. Last minute projects often incur overtime charges to complete. And with a short recruit time, there’s less time to look for specific quotas and significant pressure to relax criteria and sacrifice the perfect respondents.  If you’re not recruiting in a rush, ask your field manager to set a schedule that completes the recruit without overtime.

Reduce group size. You can save up to 20% on both recruiting and incentives by simply reducing the number of respondents required to show. Smaller groups (6-7 respondents for in-person, 3-5 for online) are typically just as rich in quality and quantity of information gathered.

Schedule research to avoid hard-to-fill time slots. With the increase in working moms, daytime slots have become more difficult and expensive to fill. Even research with stay-at-home moms must be scheduled with care; a group between 2:30-4:30 (when kids are getting out of school) is going to be much more challenging to recruit and is likely to require a higher incentive.

Control backroom requests. Last minute copies, ordering off of menus vs. ordering in advance, food for 12 when only 3 show up…all contribute to an increased bottom line.  And as with all fine dining, the bar bill adds up quickly!


Introducing QuickQual

Posted on: February 12th, 2013 by doyle

DRA Offers QuickQual

Right now at Doyle Research Associates we are excited about our new QuickQual Service. We believe that QuickQual, powered by GutCheck, is a game changer. Our clients are under tremendous pressure to make business decisions quickly and often there simply isn’t time to wait a month for the qualitative. Time is truly of the essence. With QuickQual, participants are recruited within about two minutes – as opposed to two weeks. Most projects take less than a week from start to finish. This results in smarter business decisions, a Doyle mantra.

When to Use QuickQual

QuickQual is particularly well suited to projects where timing is tight and recruitment incidence reasonable. In a matter of days, a project can be set up, respondents recruited, interviews completed and findings gleaned. Because recruitment is immediate, no pre-scheduling or pre-recruiting of interviews is required, as is the case with other qualitative methods.

Our Case Study

We recently completed a QuickQual case study using the GutCheck platform. The objective was to understand consumers’ overall reactions to aging in the context of air travel, specifically focusing on feedback regarding the new United Airlines Dreamliner Airplane. We selected the Dreamliner as a research topic because it is topical and information about it is publicly available.


DRA completed 18 30-minute one-on-one interviews with Boomers and Seniors. Everyone had flown within the last two years and had household income of $50K+. We showed older Americans a short video about the new United Dreamliner airplane and solicited feedback about it. We then successfully segued into a nuanced and personal discussion of how Boomers and Seniors feel about airplane travel, and more generally how their opinions about flying have changed as they have aged, and then about aging itself.


We obtained feedback on the United Airlines Dreamliner plane and determined how perceptions vary by age. The insights we garnered were interesting and unpredictable. We were intrigued by the degree to which many older consumers equate flying with freedom. Whereas we thought Seniors would have greater concern about flying safety, we learned that, regardless of age, it’s all about creature comforts. Flyers want to be comfortable, and they want to be fed!