Happy Friday! Here’s some punk brass band music from Germany.
Brian, you may be asking, why are you showing me this… this thing?
It’s all to do with the Oscars, naturally.
At first sight the Oscars looks like a brilliant opportunity for a bit of cheeky research PR. Get your preferred testing technique, use it to call the winners right, and watch the Retweets roll in? But it’s not that simple. The problem with Oscar Night is that the winners aren’t decided by the public – they’re decided by a small coterie of experts, which makes them extremely opaque to the research gaze.
Take, for instance, our horn-y German punks. They entered their song for the heats of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, bidding to become Germany’s official entry. The results were decided by a combination of radio and television public vote, and by an expert jury.
So what happened? The public loved them – they swept radio and television votes.
The experts put them last. No Eurovision for you, punky brass guys!
This is the difference, in a nutshell, between box office and expert judgement. Market research is in a good position to predict box office – when BrainJuicer pitches its Predictive Market testing tools, we often lead with self-funded studies on Hollywood and Bollywood films, which picked hits with impressive accuracy. But we wouldn’t use Predictive Markets on the Oscars, because “experts” are, frankly, too capricious.
People can and do speculate on what experts will choose – it’s what makes awards shows fun. And you could, if you liked, survey a lot of those people and aggregate their ideas about what the experts will do. Couldn’t a market researcher do that? Sure – but there already a bunch of people whose job it is to aggregate popular ideas of what will happen, and we don’t call them “market researchers”. We call them “bookmakers”.