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Edited by Russell W. Belk
Chapter 17: Using Video-Elicitation to Research Sensitive Topics: Understanding the Purchase Process Following Natural Disaster
Shay Sayre In the past, investigating sensitive behaviors was the equivalent of asking people to ‘talk dirty to me’ about topics such as HIV, sex, drug use, physical abuse, abortion and incest. Today, radio, television and advertising content have brought such topics to the forefront of socially acceptable discussion. Oprah invites bed-wetters and abortion survivors to tell all to viewers; Howard Stern’s listeners join in on conversations from child abuse to sex change surgery; advertisers of Viagra portray newly functioning men as objects of a woman’s adoration. In other words, few topics are considered to be ‘media-sacred’, as so many sensitive-topic barriers have been broken simply by oﬀering people an opportunity to voice their opinions. In preparation for their Depends commercials, a research company held focus groups on incontinence to discover that the stigma of wearing diapers was unbearable for older suﬀerers. Participants in photo sorts identiﬁed their favorite contemporary celebrities, and an advertising agency produced a television commercial where Jane Wyman endorsed the product with an admission that she was a Depends user. The results? Sales of Depends went through the roof. Data on bodily dysfunction, as well as many other embarrassing maladies, have been collected successfully by advertising researchers through self-administered questionnaires, computer-assisted tools and neutral-site interviews. For instance, research on feminine hygiene with 18–24-year-old females revealed these consumers want straightforward pitches that are hip and edgy. In response, Ogilvy & Mather created a Kotex campaign that introduced a blaring red dot into its marketing...
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