DDB London hopes to tap into popular culture with ‘Grapevine’ panel of cabbies

DDB London, the Omnicom-owned agency, has launched a research panel comprising cabbies, pub landlords and hairdressers in an effort to gain a broader range of consumer insights than that provided by traditional focus groups comprising housewives.

Members of the Grapevine Panel, which launches this week, will take part in the research while at work, and it is estimated that DDB will speak to more than 700 people a week.

The agency aims to find out how certain topics of conversation spread and what gives them their “talk value” in order to gain an insight into popular culture. The first round of results is due next month.

DDB has chosen an eight-strong panel of people who have the chance to chat intimately but in public situations with both friends and strangers as part of their work. The agency believes the panel has its finger on the “conversational pulse” and that this will give it the opportunity to analyse how the grapevine works.

The agency’s client roster includes COI Communications, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé Purina and Volkswagen.

DDB head of planning Lucy Jameson says “Advertising agencies are becoming far too reliant on a roomful of housewives to inform their thinking. The opinions voiced in focus groups rarely give us a full picture of what people actually do or what they really care about.”

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