But we knew that all along

The main problem I have with Mark Ritson’s research into ad-viewing is its lack of real insight (MW last week).

His study’s unsurprising outcome – that advertisers need better ways to measure spend – is of little strategic value. It delivers no actionable insights into emerging opportunities for businesses to innovate into. How will tomorrow’s consumers interact with TV and what happens, for instance, if the lounge is no longer considered the main venue for TV viewing?

As for the methodology, one can’t deliver insight into current and emerging behaviour simply by observing people with cameras – you need rigorous integration of data from various sources, including focus groups, discourse analysis, macroeconomic data and, above all, field data from ethnographers living in, feeling and being part of each household.

The Government, broadcasters and major companies including Unilever, Tesco, Vodafone and Orange would concur, after absorbing findings that corroborate those in Ritson’s study. Since 1999, they have been running an ongoing series of ethnographic studies into emerging media and technology consumption in the home, called Octagon.

While Ritson’s observations may be correct, he has quite probably drawn ethnography into disrepute. He has also wasted a very public opportunity to show business how the tools deployed by marketers can aid growth: surely our raison d’être?

Scott Walker


Happy Dog

London NW1

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here