— On Comms Design. From London

Why DERP is an awesome idea

Research in advertising, in general, can be divided into two types: preemptive and prospective. Preemptive research is when we ask people if our advertising sucks do that our CMO does not fire us. Creatives hate this. Prospective research is when we ask people what they would like to see in our advertising. This is not that straight forward but in general that is what we are trying to find out. Both types are underfunded and useless when misunderstood.

There are, of course, people who get it and do observation, immersion etc but they are pockets of outsiders and cannot be mentioned in a paragraph that starts with “in general”

But this is not the biggest problem of research in advertising. The biggest problem is that, aside for when strategists go digging, nobody really knows what people are like and what they really feel. non-observational research is by definition flawed in spite of moderation having become a Machiavellian feat.

I’ve always thought that forums is where one should do one’s research. People’s unfettered craziness shines there and if the forum is large enough it can become statistically relevant. In Romania tpu.ro is one of these places, as derided as it is by people who look at it as an impressions machine and not an emotions machine. A while back, speaking to the creators of tpu.ro I was congratulating them on an attempt to start extracting research from that. It was, i thought, the most sincere source of research available.

So take that and multiply it by 100 with the advent of DERP (The Digital Ecologies Research Project) wherein Reddit, Imgur, Stack Overflow and Twitch are partners. All those people exposing their craziness and projects and humor and programming prowess!

It is the motherload of research data, the obvious problem being though that nobody really knows how to use all that crazy information. That is why DERP is there is a resource for scientists who may have the methodologies. I have subscribed to whatever comes out of that. It will be awesome. Not sure if useful, but awesome.