In order to get a closer look at how Marketing Research is innovated upon and utilized in the real world, the A.C. Nielsen Center students took a road trip to downtown Chicago to visit Wrigley and SC Johnson. Although our excursion to Chicago began with an early-morning 6:30am bus ride, the zombie-esque atmosphere of the drive was quickly shoved aside as we pulled up to the Wrigley Building.
Prior to our arrival, we were required to view 12 Wrigley commercials (past and present) and predict if each ad was successful, unsuccessful, or neutral in positively driving sales. We had great success as a group on this project and even had some teammates win prizes for their accuracy – congratulations, Jose! This session and the tour was proctored by Dennis Hull (Class of 2009), Group Manager of Consumer & Market Insights (CMI). We also experienced a riveting and informative introduction from Marcos Perez, CMI Director for Wrigley.
The tour was extended with a visit to Wrigley’s shelving experimentation room. This interesting space is dedicated to experimentation and observation of Wrigley’s shelving placement at retailers like Walmart, Walgreens, and Costco. We were introduced to new concepts that are currently being tested at key retailers, including the use of overhead lighting to highlight candy shelves. All in all, the Wrigley visit was a wonderfully educational experience!
We then traveled about 10 minutes down the road to SC Johnson’s advertising center. There, we received two interesting presentations. The first discussed the different ways companies collect data through qualitative research, including focus groups and in-depth interviews. The second was centered on neuroscience and how companies like SC Johnson experiment with brainwave-reading technology in order to gauge how consumers feels about television advertisements. One student (me, to be specific) even wore the wireless brainwave reader while the class viewed his brain activity!
The weekend ended with a wonderful social hour at Howell and Hood, a popular Chicago bar. There, we got to interact with fellow students, alumni, and even some SC Johnson and Wrigley employees to further discuss the presentations we had earlier that day.
Overall, the Chicago trip was definitely one of the highlights of my first semester with the A.C. Nielsen Center. It served as an opportunity not only to receive applicable, hands-on education of the marketing research landscape, but to get to know our classmates and community better. Personally, I will always remember the reactions I received while wearing the wireless brainwave device, as well as getting to know some of my fellow Nielsenites over a late-night game of table tennis in the Hard Rock Hotel lobby.
I know that my classmates had similar positive takeaways from this trip and we are anxiously awaiting the announcement for our 2016 trip!