Monday, May 31, 2004

Sixtus Oeschle, manager of corporate advertising for Shell Oil, was at his wits' end. For months, he and his team of researchers had pumped the consumer psyche, desperate to uncover the real reason behind a decade-long sales slump at the $26 billion conglomerate. For months, they'd come up empty. "We tried psychographic memory triggers," Oeschle recalls. "We tried dream therapy. We tried what I'll call tangible manifestation exercises." All to no avail. "We weren't generating anything that was breakthrough," he says. "It was all kind of the same sort of stuff." At one point, respondents were given mounds of wet clay and urged to mold figures that expressed their inner feelings about Shell. When that, too, proved a dud, Oeschle passed out sketchbooks and Crayolas. "We said, 'Draw what Shell is to you,'" Oeschle recalls. "Then we said, 'Draw what you would like Shell to be to you.'" The results, while eye-opening, were not particularly useful from a marketing standpoint...

From The Return of the Hidden Persuaders, an article about about modern marketing techniques in Slate.


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