Reading today’s mags for the trends of tomorrow

Getting ahead in advertising usually doesn't mean sitting around reading magazines all day....

Getting ahead in advertising usually doesn’t mean sitting around reading magazines all day.

But that’s exactly what two people in the Montreal office of Publicis have been hired to do – all in the name of research. The point of this task is to spot consumer attitudes and possible trends before they become reality. Called Context Analysis, the program involves scouring a huge number of magazines, from Chatelaine to Wallpaper, and detailing the incidence and meaning of key words and themes, from sexuality to stock markets – anything that presents an attitude or point of view, which goes into a database.

‘It’s a trend-tracking tool,’ says Eric Blais, VP, director of strategic planning at Publicis. ‘The premise behind it is that what people will think and do tomorrow is largely influenced by what they see, hear and read in the media today.’ The research leads to a better understanding of market dynamics and consumer segments, and ultimately aids clients in making sound marketing calls, he says. If a client were considering targeting parents, for example, it could first refer to the context analysis database to see the changing role of parenthood and what it might mean to the target group.

Context Analysis is carried out on a worldwide basis through Publicis offices around the globe. According to Blais, Nestlé’s global operation was recently looking into the evolving nature of corporations, and Publicis Canada was responsible for the Canadian view.

Also in Canada, Publicis recently launched a report outlining major trends it gleaned from the Canadian magazine landscape. Called Tidaltrends, the report draws up portraits of certain populations and charts corresponding trends. For example, a ‘Lux Punk’ trend notes that wealthy boomers are tempering their pursuit of luxury with a hard-core devotion to ethical principles, while a trend labelled ‘Pink & Blue’ finds women to be taking on more masculine behavior while men are taking on more feminine traits. WC