As a former marketing researcher, I should be all in favor of more marketing research, but still ...
By BROOKS BARNES
The Walt Disney Company is relying on the insights of Kelly Peña, or “the kid whisperer,” to help reassert itself as a cultural force among boys.
Market research to understand boys is all very fine, but it doesn't get you much closer to actually having shows that boys will think is cool. You wind up with a Powerpoint presentation with bulletpoints like:
- Boys are intrigued by testing boundaries
But shows based on Powerpoints are almost guaranteed to be lame.
To get cool shows, you have to go hire creative 25 or 30 year old guys who still kind of feel like they're 12 and let them come up with stuff that they'd like to watch. They don't need market research because they are their own market.
What marketing research can do is tell you whether the "Disney" trademark is perceived as so girly that boys won't watch stuff with the Disney brand name on it. Maybe they need a new alternative brand name the way Toyota has Lexus: to complement the Hannah Montana-dominated Disney Channel, they could have the Walt Channel.