Daily Archives: February 21, 2011

Focus Groups: Behind The Mirror

This week’s Dustinland touches on focus groups, which I experience via my day job, aka my only job: an ad man. It sounds really cool if you watch Mad Men, but read this comic and you might think again. You think Don Drapher had to sit there in a focus group in Baltimore for two days straight, eating crappy sandwiches? And at least if he did, he would have been drinking scotch the whole time.

But yeah, focus groups. I don’t want to give people the wrong impression. You should totally participate in them because it’s a really easy way to make some quick cash, and it’s very unlikely you’ll get made fun of because everyone on the other side of the mirror is usually too bored to even bother, unless you say something that’s just mind-blowingly stupid.

I also don’t want to make it seem like focus groups are completely pointless wastes of time and money that exist only to provide client and agency employees with job security and prevent good work from ever being produced. Maybe about half of focus groups work that way. I’m sure this topic has been talked to death by people with way more industry experience and know-how than I have, so I won’t dwell on it. I’ll just say that I think it’s way more useful to test ideas rather than actual work, especially if it’s in a conceptual phase. For example…