Kiss of death

February 11, 2011

Picnic basket in grassI used to do loads of new product development research, lugging prototypes and mock-ups around Britain in my little tin-can Citroen.  I was a qualitative researcher, where we prided ourselves in really getting under the surface through discussion and maybe some creative games.  Getting to the truth of the matter.

We were absolutely not the sort of researchers who dumbly reported people’s literal response.

Sometimes the short cuts were useful though.   I came out of one group furrowing my brow about the future for this particular product.   Possibly it was the cake bar aimed at teenagers, I don’t remember.

I was there with my boss.  We loaded stuff into her black BMW, and chatted about the session.

‘Well, that’s completely dead in the water,’ she said.

‘But they said they liked it!’

She stopped.  ‘And what were their exact words?’

‘That lady in the corner said, ‘I suppose it would be good for picnics.’

‘Exactly. Dead in the water.  Think about it.   ‘I suppose’ means she doesn’t think so, she’s just being polite, and as for picnics! Don’t get me started on picnics! How many picnics do you go on, in England? Twice a year?! Dead, I tell you. Stone dead.’

Anyway.  It became a kind of in-joke for all the lukewarm responses to dreadful ideas.

I’m still tempted to offer it as an answer when someone asks my opinion.

Are there any death-knell phrases in your line of work?

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