Today we concluded our ethnographic brand tracking in Prague. After one week of ethnography and agency visits, we spent the last afternoon of our class reflecting on Czech culture, and more specifically, how it influences the consumption of autos, beer and fashion. After a lot of deliberation, the three groups came up with culture codes that they think best represent their respective sectors here in the Czech Republic. Check out each of the three culture codes within the sector blogs: autos, beer, fashion.
The ethnographic brand tracking helped the students to observe behavior and identify key patterns within their sector. The agency visits throughout the week helped the students to uncover the cultural meaning behind these observed behaviors within a historical context and learn about some of the successful strategies behind Czech advertising from the best that Prague has to offer: Remmark, Garp, Leagas Delaney, and Ogilvy.
As part of the final wrap up, the students also had a discussion about Czech advertising in general. With the help of Jan Tluchor, who joined us from the University of West Bohemia, the students compared and contrasted Czech advertising with British and American advertising.
Overall, it was an inspiring week. Everyone acted like true ethnographers and soaked up everything Czech culture had to offer. Most importantly, the students kept their minds open and embraced all of the different perspectives we learned about – something that will positively influence the approach they take with future work. Our sincerest děkuji to everyone along the way who helped to make our experience here in Prague so meaningful.
From the moment we saw the red and white building with the “Ogilvy” logo splashed across the exterior walls, we knew that we were about to have a fascinating experience at an agency that carries one of the industry’s most respected names. The Ogilvy Action presentation started with an overview of the agency’s “Four Core” model (including Ogilvy & Mather Perception, ONE Information, Action Behavior, and PR Influence) that is used to manage about 30 global brands at any given time. The students were then able to see the work in action with the examples of eight different case studies, presented by Mr. Michal Charvat, the General Director. After a short break to explore the open and stylish office, complete with a full café, and a chance to review some of the agency’s award-winning work, the students had an opportunity to hear from Tomas, one of the three account planners in the office. Tomas shared insight into Czech culture through the lens of history, focusing on how Czech cultural history affects the mindsets of consumers today. Then the students had the great fortune of having Tomas facilitate a mini brainstorming session based on the students ethnographic work for their respective market sectors (autos, beer, fashion). It was magical!
As we were leaving, I shared with Michal the sensory ethnographic exercises I had the students participate in on Parizska Street. He loved them! That led to an extended discussion on the role these exercises, and sensory ethnography in general, can and should play in understanding consumers and overall brand development.
Thanks for the inspiration!
There is no way to take in Prague without letting your senses carry you away. It’s unavoidable. At every turn there is another site lovelier then the last. Each scent nearly glorious and each sound a curiosity. The textures and tastes of Prague simply sweep you up and away.
I have tired to make our time here a sensorial, cultural immersion. Something off the beaten path, a sensory awakening. Something that engages the students with the soul of the city and its culture. This is, of course, no easy task as we are tourists. Yet, in pursuit of an ethnographic sensory awakening we sometimes look nothing like tourists. Is the average tourist a Tesco shopper spending 30 minutes documenting 30 sensorial impressions? I think not. Does the average tourist walk blindly (literally) down the Parizska Street on the arm of a friend accounting for every scent and sound? I think not. Nonetheless, yesterday, that’s exactly what we did. And then we found the sweetest café, tucked around the corner from Parizska Street, where we sat with lattes and hot chocolate debriefing and learning, having taken in Prague with all of our senses.
Other times cultural immersion comes in the form of agency visits. Yesterday we visited Remmark. There we were introduced to Czech consumer culture from three counter points: geo/political orientation, religion, and the Velvet Revolution of 1989. We learned that Czech people are resilient survivors, but skeptical and ironic consumers. For these resilient skeptics, there is one cultural icon that binds them together across time and space — beer.
Today we visited Garp. The energetic team at Garp set up a hands-on workshop focusing on BTL marketing, framed by a Staropramen case study. The students had a chance to use their new-found cultural insights to brainstorm branding solutions. And then, much to the delight of the students, the team offered to moderate a pub tour.
For tonight, it’s time to rest. But then it’s hard to rest in a city that beckons your senses to awaken as never before.