Our Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016

This year has been filled with uncertainty and unexpected events, but here at BrainJuicer we have kept ourselves very busy — both in our offices and on this blog. We launched System1 Politics, following two major political events in the UK and US, and introduced System1 Agency, our very own creative agency. We ranked and tested Olympic-themed adverts in markets across the world and saw some major changes in digital and marketing — not to mention working on our usual projects and endeavours! With the end of 2016 quickly approaching, it’s time to take our annual look back at the most read posts of the year. Without further ado, here are the top 10 posts of 2016:


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The Future Of Insights Project is HERE

We’ve been looking forward to posting this one! Last year we did some work with the World Federation of Advertisers on a very juicy topic – the future of the insights business. With 2016 being the 100th birthday of market research (don’t believe us? read the report!) we thought it was time to take a look at what’s coming up NEXT. Today the Future Of Insights Project releases its core report. And it’s fascinating.

WFA report photo

Chief Juicer John Kearon launches the report in Kuala Lumpur.

There are a few “research on research” studies knocking around and most of them have interesting things to say. What makes the WFA one particularly exciting? Continue reading

It’s Our Birthday!

It was fifteen years ago today Sgt Kearon found the juicy way! Yes, we’re 15, and we’re off celebrating at the inaugural BrainJuicer Movie Morning (showcasing the best ads of 2014 on the big screen) but the Chief Juicer has given an interview to that other champion of maverick research Lenny Murphy – in which he talks about BrainJuicer’s origins, what he’s learned, and his opinions on the state of the industry.


But there’s more! Like any fifteen year old worth their salt, we’ve been busy staying up and writing dodgy poetry – and you can see the results in our anniversary booklet, The 15 Things Every Modern Marketer Should Know About Famous Brand Building. You’ve seen free books of marketing advice before – but this one’s better. And, indeed, verse.

Go have a read online – or get hold of a physical copy if you’re at a BrainJuicer event this year. That’s just the start of our literary aspirations for 2015… but enough of that for now. Enjoy the FeelMore50, enjoy the booklet, and we’ll be back after the party to kick off the next fifteen years of juicy ideas!

Thanks to all our readers for reading the Brian Juicer Blog, and thanks to all the brave marketers and researchers who’ve helped BrainJuicer grow into what it is.

Our Best Blog Posts Of 2014

It’s been a busy year at BrainJuicer and on this blog, and with the end of 2014 fast approaching it’s time to take our annual look at the posts you read the most – our most popular content, as voted. Can anything beat last year’s runaway winner, “How To Eat A Sandwich (The Daniel Kahneman Way)“? As it happens, yes. Let’s count down and find out what…


10. So, How Many Basic Emotions Are There Again? Like most successful theories, Paul Ekman’s “7 basic emotions” makes a juicy target for a news story looking to debunk it. This year’s attempt spotlighted a claim that there are only four basic emotions. Bad news for Ekman? Not really – the new work identifies primal emotions that may have evolved earlier, but Ekman’s ideas are still the relevant ones to humans as we are today.

9. The Best Graduate Job In The World? Micha Dudley joined BrainJuicer in 2013 in our Behaviour Change Unit team. In this post, she offers a look at what working here is really like from a graduate perspective. (Spoilers! It’s awesome!)

8. Reclaiming Research’s Radicalism Back in May, planner Martin Weigel published a mini-manifesto about restoring planning to its radical roots. This was our cover version, looking at how well research lives up to his ideas. And in a lot of places, it doesn’t – things the industry should embrace, like learnings from marketing science, get ignored in favour of received wisdom and “zombie ideas”.

7. South-East Asian Advertising: What Works? Happiness is a universal emotion, but not every culture reaches it in a similar way. This post looks at some self-funded ad testing we ran in Thailand and Indonesia, exploring the different drivers of 5-star advertising in each country.

6. 7-1! There was a World Cup this year, you might remember. And if you’re Brazilian or German, you surely also remember the shock outcome of the two countries’ semi-final. In the aftermath of Brazilian despair and German triumph, we turned a behavioural science lens on the match: how on earth had it all gone so wrong for Brazil, and what lessons could be drawn from it using psychology and decision science?

5. Meet The Most Successful Research App Of 2014 The research industry has spent decades making trade-off analysis as tedious as possible for participants. The runaway success of a tough-decisions app for teens should make them think again.

4. 2014 Christmas Ads: The Emotional Winners Revealed This post only went up a couple of weeks ago, but with the UK Christmas ad race these days a lot more interesting than the race for the Christmas No.1, it’s no surprise it’s proved very popular. Monty The Penguin takes on raving Christmas lights, World War One soldiers, posh fairies and a kid on a chopper bike in this highlights and lowlights review. (For the full story – with over 15 ads rated – get in touch!)

3. These Aren’t The Insights You’re Looking For The second in a series of posts exploring the demise of the traditional research concept, and how to get testing new ideas right. The conceit here – what if Star Wars had been put through the research wringer? – helped make it one of our most-tweeted posts, as well as one of our most-read.

2. The Behavioural Economics Guide 2014 – A Free Behaviour Change Resource Want people to visit a blog? Give them free stuff! Longtime BrainJuicer associate Alain Samson wrote a Behavioural Economics guidebook this year, and we linked to a free PDF of it. It’s still up. It’s still free. What are you waiting for?

1. Obituary – The Traditional Concept c.1960-2014 And our most successful post of the year was probably also our most fun to write – there’s a lesson in there somewhere! A mock obituary of the traditional research concept, explaining how it can’t keep pace with a System 1 world. The interest in our proposed solution – VisiCepts – has been enormous, but the story starts here.

So that was our 2014 – how was yours? There will still be a couple of posts to go before the year ends, of course, and right at the end of the year there’s our 15th birthday (which we’ll be celebrating in January – that time of year needs a bit of cheering up…!)

Thanks for reading this blog, and have a fantastic holiday season.

Our Best Blog Posts Of 2013

It’s been a fine year for the Brian Juicer Blog – we more than doubled our readership and views from 2012 – and it feels like a good time to spotlight the posts you liked most this year. A countdown, no less, of our most popular content this year!

10. Packaging – The Plain Truth? The Australian government has introduced Plain Packaging laws on cigarettes – this post took a look at the intitial results. It’s ambiguous whether the packs are reducing tobacco consumption – but they do seem to be making it less enjoyable, which raises a whole different set of questions…

9. Doctor Who And The Anchoring Effect Back in November, the BBC announced it had recovered some of the “missing episodes” of long-running sci-fi show Doctor Who – but not quite as many as had been rumoured. The reactions were a perfect encapsulation of psychology’s “anchoring effect”….

8. Research And Big Data: Seven Roads To Enlightenment In February, BrainJuicer partnered with the AMA to organise the first ever Analytics With Purpose conference. (The second one is coming up!) Here, conference chair Tom Ewing summarised the themes of the conference and of research’s relationship to big data.

7. Moving The Elephant If you’ve seen one of our Webinars this year (and if you haven’t, check them out!) you’ve probably seen “the elephant and the rider” – our favourite metaphor for decision making. This is the post which explains why we like it and where it comes from.

6. When Stories Suck The more specific a story is, the more likely it is to be believed… but the less likely it is to be true. This post looks at the dark side of “storytelling” and its dire implications for common research techniques like segmentation.

Any excuse, frankly.

Any excuse, frankly.

5. Taming The Panda “Brand Trackers are the Giant Pandas of research”. ‘Nuff said.

4. Eight Days Of Emotion Emotions matter – so back in March we took the opportunity to throw a spotlight on each of our basic emotions in turn. This master post collected the series – find out which ads use sadness best, the difference between contempt and anger for a brand, and the uses of happiness (and lots more).

And now, the top 3…. Continue reading

Eight Days Of Emotion: The Complete Series

Here are links to all our Eight Days Of Emotion posts, looking at the seven primary emotions identified by psychologist Paul Ekman – plus Neutrality, the absence of emotion.

Anger: “Some people will always be furious, but research is one way of getting consumer anger in perspective.”

Contempt: “For brands, it’s perhaps the most disastrous of all emotions.”

Disgust: “Disgust seems to be an extreme reaction to specific circumstances – a spasm of moral feeling when a brand has done something very wrong.”

Fear: “At the heart of marketing is removing fear of the unknown”

Happiness: “The single most important question you can ask is: does it make people feel happy?”

Sadness : “The most powerful storytelling emotion.”

Surprise: “Surprise can colour an entire experience – it is the spice of emotion”

Neutrality  “The problem with neutrality is that it’s almost impossible to use it creatively.”

If you want to know more about the primary emotions, we very much recommend Paul Ekman’s Emotions Revealed. And if you want to know more about how we at BrainJuicer use emotions, have a look at one of our articles on the topic.

The Top Experiments of 2012

Last month we ran the “Advent Calendar of Experiments” – 24 things we in BrainJuicer Labs ran or helped run last year. Here’s the “Master List” of experiments so you can go back and check out the ones you missed.