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Which implicit test is best?

December 13th, 2013 by

At COG we have been working with implicit testing for 8 years now, in collaboration with the developers of the original IAT test at Harvard, adapting that for commercial use, building a simpler IRT test to measure multiple brand values, and adapting that to measure social attitudes. We are lucky to have had clients who have supported us in testing and developing these alternative approaches and thought it useful to share a few early findings:

IF you want to get at deep seated social attitudes and prejudices then the original IAT test is still best. It is technically robust and can prove negative or positive associations in a way that convinces almost everyone. That will be why Adam and Eve DDB and ourselves picked up an APG Strategy Award last month for the work we did on facial disfigurement for Changing Faces.

IF you want a more user friendly way of measuring social attitudes and feelings then the Social IRT test is best – this uses speed of response to identify which issues we feel strongly about (either positively or negatively) and is quicker and more user friendly than the classic Likert scale approach. We used this recently with The Guardian on their acclaimed Concerns and Contentment work.

IF you want to track brand attitudes and the effect that digital communication, sponsorship or good old fashioned ads are having – then the IRT is great. In a 2 minute test you can measure your brand and 3 or 4 competitors on 15 benchmark values to produce a sensitive map of how you are doing.

IF you want to measure other things than brands, then the IRT can still help – we have recently used it to monitor attitudes to sufferers of different health conditions.

There is a lot of interest in Implicit Testing at the moment – because it is measuring the part of our mind that is influencing most of our behaviour and purchase decisions. We can only expect implicit tests to become more popular in future – but one thing we have learnt is that they need real design care to get the algorithms right. Just because they look simple doesn’t mean they are easy to build. But if they are well built they give wonderfully clear and intuitively believable results that don’t need a PhD to interpret.

Market Research in Turkey

December 13th, 2012 by

After picking up the award on Monday it was off to Istanbul to present our paper on Implicit and Facebook as part of a best of ESOMAR day. 160 researchers turned up to spend a lunchtime afternoon and evening debating online issues, ethics, privacy and reliability. Online and mobile is only 3% of research so far but everyone expects it to grow dramatically and they are determined to adopt best practices. I talked to one company who do 100% back-checking on face to face surveys – so you can see why they are keen to move online!

Thanks to Barem Research for making it happen.

Cog wins MRS Award for Advertising and Media Research

December 11th, 2012 by

Last night COG picked up the MRS Advertising and Media Award for their work on
TV for Thinkbox. Up against some tough competition, makes Cog especially proud!

‘This Award is given to the submission that best indicates how research has made a fundamental and integral contribution to understanding and excellence in advertising. Although much discussed, beliefs about the impact of multi-screening have been more speculation that science. Rob and Ali’s paper Screen Life: How multi-screening changes TV viewing replaces myths with facts. Their research contained an impressive combination of ethnography, digital self-reporting, lab-tests, video analysis and qualitative and quantitative techniques.’ – MRS

Winning awards for clients

November 19th, 2012 by

Neil, Tijen and Rob collecting the Grand Prix

Just back from Media Research Group conference and awards dinner in Monte Carlo. it was great fun, really good content and the icing on the cake was our client, Thinkbox, picking up 3 awards – for Media Research Initiative, Trade Body Research and (appropriately for famous F1 setting) the Grand Prix. This was all down to the Screen Life work that COG had done for them and we are so chuffed to be a part of it.

5 things COG came across last week

October 1st, 2012 by


An interesting insight from Dave Trott, “many planners now confuse themselves with researchers” IF PLANNERS PLANNED @
We like doing ‘upstream’ research, which means any ‘copy testing’ research we do asks the right questions.


There’s no such thing as bad publicity? The Wall Blog ruminates on supposed PR disasters.
I also shop at Waitrose because I was once in the Holloway Rd branch & heard a dad say, “Put the papaya down, Orlando!” #waitrosereasons
& how Nick Clegg spins the spin
Got everyone talking and both ‘brands’ were brought front of mind. Could this explicit ridicule actually bring implicit gains?


PSY’s Gangnam style goes viral
Overtakes LMFAO’s YouTube likes . . . breaks a Guinness world record . . . No. 1 on Sunday’s Radio 1 Top 40.
Remember MC Hammer?


Seth Godin’s Blog advises on ‘The wishing/doing gap’
But don’t we need a wish in the first place to make us want to do?


Julian Wolkenstein explores the scientific concept of beauty; “It’s time to reflect”.
Changing normal people’s appearances drastically simply by giving them completely symmetrical faces, creating two identities.
But show us the original faces please so we can compare the real thing!

David Hockney wisdoms

January 3rd, 2012 by

Great conversation with Andrew Marr on Radio 4 (of course). Hockney on about the craft and poetry of the artist – what can and can’t be taught. Reminded we have to be able to research both aspects of ads without letting the craft of research stimulus get in the way – and without letting over rational consumer critique get in the way of the implicit poetry.

Merry Christmas from all at COG

December 23rd, 2011 by

The office is closed now till January 3rd  We are having a well earned rest after a great 2011. The year finished on a high with us winning the coveted New Consumer Insight award at the MRS awards dinner. That was for our breakthrough work on how to get evidence of the way the purchase process actually works.

Have a wonderful holiday – and enjoy the 12 day break!

Ask yourself ‘what can cat videos do for your business/”

November 16th, 2011 by

We just got distracted by a lovely spoof from John St agency

Chisato Kusonoki Concert in aid of Changing Faces

November 7th, 2011 by

Works by Schubert, Liszt, J S Bach-Siloti, Rachmaninoff and Liadov will be played by Chisato, regarded as one of the most talented pianists of her generation.


pic of chisato

The Concert will take place on Sunday, 27th November, at 3pm in Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, NW3.

More info at

Tickets available on the door: suggested donation £10, with concessions.

All proceeds go to Changing Faces.

This will be a wonderful way to spend Sunday afternoon and such a good cause

PHD and Global triumph at Media Week awards

October 28th, 2011 by

Congratulations to our clients Global Radio and PHD for their showing last night
We have worked with them both on producing evidence of how relatively small media campaigns are producing big effects on how consumers feel. We expect the IRT evidence helped win them the Gold for Research Insight. It is so encouraging to see new techniques help prove that innovative approaches really do work – and to be responsible for providing the evidence to prove it.