Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tales from Corporate Ethnography

If you haven't already seen it, please cruise over to Grant McCracken's blog on consumption and ethnographic research. A few days ago he posted some first-person experiences in the corporate ethnography trenches for The Coca-Cola Company and McDonald's. It's hilarious, and a must-read for the applied ethnography crowd (hint: it involves a researcher interviewing people at the drive-through window).

Commercial ethnography is sometimes the method of last resort. All other methods, quantitative and qualitative, have been tried and all have failed.

That's why, a couple of years ago, I got a call from The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC). A great torrent of Coke flows through McDonald's every day. So TCCC was particularly concerned by a new finding: that consumers order a smaller size of Coke when passing through the drive-through than when ordering indoors at the counter. Multiply this difference (even if it’s just 3 ounces) by millions of drinks per day over thousands of outlets, and you get the idea.

Click here to read the full article.

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