Welcome to DDB UK's Scientist in Residence blog.

In September 2010 we announced the appointment of Dr Daniel Müllensiefen, Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, as our Scientist in Residence, a global first in the advertising sector. Dr Müllensiefen will be based at the DDB offices for several hours each week, offering expert input on a wide range of subjects including the evaluation of client campaigns.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Scientist in Residence official announcement

DDB UK has announced the appointment of a scientist in residence (SiR), a first in the advertising sector.  Dr Daniel Müllensiefen, Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, joins the agency as SiR from September.
Dr Müllensiefen, who will be based at the DDB offices for several hours each week, will be offering expert input on a wide range of subjects including the evaluation of client campaigns.

DDB UK Head of Planning Sarah Watson said “As far as we’re aware, we are the first ad-agency to do something like this. It’s culturally a good fit, as Goldsmiths are at the creative end of academia while DBB have a heritage of intellectual rigour within advertising, and it’s the right time for us to be forming links with a university. 

“For too long in our world the people who ‘think’ and the people who ‘do’ have stayed at arm’s length from each other. The result is that we have lots of practice but not much theory. It doesn’t happen like this in other industries – both Google and Apple, for example, have research relationships with universities – and it shouldn’t happen in ours. We are all increasingly realising that disciplines such as behavioural economics have huge practical benefits for us and we want to build an understanding of cognitive processes into all aspects of our planning. As an industry we have much to gain from learning how advertising really works, and more and more research is pointing to the power of emotions within communications.”


As a forensic musicologist, Dr Müllensiefen has a special interest in the function and importance of music in advertising. His work combines elements of psychology, computing, musicology and statistics.  In collaboration with BBC 6 Music and the British Academy, he is currently involved in a major research project involving ‘earworms’ - the technical term for those random fragments of  tunes that become trapped inside our heads.  With companies keen to tap into the values and emotions associated with their products, musical imagery and ‘sonic branding’ are now critical elements of many campaigns.  

Dr Müllensiefen is also co-founder of the Goldsmiths MSc course, Music Mind and Brain, a unique programme which focuses on the biological and cognitive aspects of musical behaviour.

“Daniel will be running an education programme for both DBB staff and clients,” said Sarah Watson. “Goldsmiths students will also provide a valuable research resource for the agency.

It will help inform everything that we do, from strategy and research through to evaluation. We believe this reflects the real depth and authority that we are now able to offer as an agency. We’re hopeful that it will prompt wider debate and we’re planning a dedicated blog to invite input from across industry.”

This initiative is the latest in a long line of planning innovations at DBB including animatics, pre-testing of rough ads, in-house research, econometrics and ethnography.

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