At the end of last month, I read a very interesting article in the online magazine I have been meaning to write about it for a while now…

Now this may not seem like the usual online environment for me to be quoting, however Kenneth Hein wrote an extensive article about how major bluechip and fortune 500 companies are using hypnotists to elicit more accurate and ‘deeper emotional’ information from their focus groups.

I love reading about these new ways that hypnosis is being used to advance buiness as well as within the usual herapeutic environment. It is like the corporate world is getting a therapeutic hand along…

When New Labour were relatively new and Tony Blairs leadership was embryonic, they had lots of focus groups that got lots of media attention and I reckon they’d have benefited greatly from this process.

Now this is good… Forget your truth serum…Get your focus groups into hypnosis to tell you what they really think and how they connect with your brand… Apparently Euro RSCG Worldwide, New York, got fed up with the focus groups telling them the same thing time after time and so they called in a hypnotist to find out what people really thought of the Volvo brand.


Members of these unique Volvo focus groups were asked to test-drive the car. Immediately afterwards they were hypnotized and asked their true feelings about the brand. It wasn’t pretty: Many revealed that Volvo also equals being middle-aged. That idea “for some people was suffocating,” said Michael Fanuele, head of planning at Euro. “Hypnosis helped get past the clichés. We needed the conversation to get to a deeper, more emotional place.”

Isn’t this great? This hypnosis article continues:

Volvo’s not the only one going to that place. Focus group hypnosis is increasingly becoming a “secret weapon” for Fortune 500 companies and ad agencies alike, said Susan Spiegel Solovay, owner of Brandvisioning, New York. A former Grey exec, Solovay has been hosting such groups for a decade. Her clients include about dozen brands including blue-chip beer, soda and telecom companies as well as 20 different agencies.

A session, which consists of no more than eight subjects, takes two hours. The first 25 minutes are dedicated to introducing them to the process and getting them relaxed. “We need to ease the nervousness of what they’ve seen on television,” said Solovay. “Everyone asks if we’re going to make them quack like a duck. I wish stage hypnotists would stop doing that.”

Once they are in an “alpha” state of relaxation, the hypnotist will ask them individually about topics like the first time they experienced a product. “We want to find out the imprint of the brand,” said Hal Goldberg, owner of Qualitative & Quantitative Research, Laguna Hills, Calif. Goldberg, who trained Solovay, is a former Leo Burnett exec who has been conducting these groups for 35 years. “People can describe the cookies their mother made them when they were 5 in great detail. This drives adult behavior.”

Avrett, Free & Ginsberg, New York, has been using focus group hypnosis for clients like Dewar’s and Domaine Chandon for more than a decade. “I reach for this, depending on the client, whenever I can,” said president Stuart Grau.

Later on in the article, one of the companies expresses that there could be ethical concerns? And promotes a little skepticism… Oh stop it!

Bu they do make a good joke about it:

It’s not for every client though, said Grau: “Some aren’t comfortable with it. To some extent there could be some ethical concerns associated it.” Goldberg and Solovay both stressed that being under the power of suggestion can’t prompt consumers to say or do anything against their will. “It’s not like we’re asking people to take off their clothes and crumble Ritz crackers on their bosoms,” said Fanuele, whose clients include the cracker brand. “It’s about getting emotional content that is so much more vivid and colorful.”

Hahahaha… Crumbling Ritz crackers? Where i he get that idea from? Great images conjured up… Maybe that was content from his own subconscious! Haha.

How deeply ingrained taglines and ad jingles are into people’s minds was one surprise for O’Neill when he began working the field. “You ask them what the first thing they remember is and they say, ‘Plop plop fiz fizz’ or ‘Where’s the beef?'” Solovay uses Coca-Cola as a warm-up exercise because “everyone has Coke memories.” Fanuele understands the skepticism. “A year ago I thought it was a silly little gimmick, but now I’ve been converted.”

Great. I am off to have a word with Richard Branson and Bill Gates… Seriously,
they need some hypnotised focus groups.