Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Why There Are So Many Shitty Products On The Market

I somehow almost forgot to write about my amazing focus group experience last week. For the two-second backstory, I met up with a friend for drinks a few months back and she had just come from a focus group. She recommended I sign up, seeing as I love giving my opinion on pointless nonsense all the time, so why not get paid for it?

I eventually did register with a market research company, and finally last week, one of them called me and asked me to attend a focus group after work one day. This was after they'd sent me a survey where I claimed that I drink sparkling water all the time, which is an out and out lie considering I can't stand sparkling water. But why worry about these minor details?

Anyway, I went to the focus group, and while my attempts to drink sparkling water without gagging were amusing and all, easily the best part about it was meeting the people who apparently do these sorts of things all the time. Here's a rundown of the characters I was paid spend a glorious 90 minutes with:

The Country Bumpkin - Guy who apparently just moved to Sydney from the asshole of nowhere, and spent the first 5 minutes of the session ranting about how when he first moved to the city the water made him violently ill for 2 weeks straight. He had almost nothing to say for the remaining 88 minutes. Thanks for your contribution.

The Chauvinist Pig - As soon as the facilitator asked us if we drank water for a specific reason and gave an example, this guy would respond with something along the lines of "Nah mate, only chicks care about shit like that..." or "We're blokes! That crap doesn't matter!" I am willing to put money on the likelihood that this dude sleeps in women's underwear.

The Wannabe Advertiser - When asked about the intended advertising campaign for this new brand of sparkling water, this guy not only disliked the one they had, but then took several minutes describing what he thought were better marketing concepts, as if he thought he was in a job interview.

The Faux Doctor - Kept reminding us all that he worked "in the medical profession", although the fact that he never said he was a doctor makes me assume he is a hospital janitor. Used his "expertise" to repeatedly dismiss any benefits the brand attempted to advertise about water being good for you.

Those were easily my favorites, and I'm not sure what they would have thought of me considering I had so little to say other than nit-picking at some sort of marketing pamphlet we were asked to look at (" I don't know, using the word 'fairly' here sounds very non-committal..."), so I was probably the OCD American, which sums me up pretty accurately.

In any case, I really hope I get another invitation to one of these, I think I would actually pay them for this kind of entertainment.

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