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We had our first workshop for the f word, our continuous research programme exploring the lives and motivations of Irish women. A debate broke out about whether we can really understand women, unless we also research men, so that we can compare the female results to the male results. The camp was divided. Was it more valuable to know that 79% of women consider technology an important part of their lives, or that women under-index on interest in technology compared to men. Which tells us more about women? Should we be focusing on the percentages, or the indices?

In advertising, we don’t like to lump all people into one group. We usually segment or cluster, in the hope of capturing the subtleties of different audiences, whether those differences are demographic or attitudinal. We look at each group, relative to another group. But sometimes, I wonder if we over-emphasise the differences, at the expense of what is usually a large amount of behaviour common to everyone. Maybe what unites us, rather than divides us, makes for a stronger communication approach.


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