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Focus Group of One - Nationals On-field Experience Provides Unique Perspective on Smokeless Tobacco

featured / health research / public health / tobacco / behavioral research / advertising research / blog

Don’t talk about work. This was the only advice my husband gave me before I headed down to the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Nationals game Monday night against the Braves (holy smokes, did that really happen?). He knew it’d be hard to resist. I’ve posted a time or two (or five) about smokeless tobacco in Major League Baseball for instance, click here. It’s the perfect storm for me. Health, behavior change, baseball. So many of my passions intersecting.

Nationals Baseball

Enter Steven Souza (International League MVP and Rookie of the Year, no big deal), who will catch for me. He opens with the classic DC “I just met you” question: “What do you do?” Research…Behavior change...Public health…Tobacco prevention. Should I stop chewing? he asked. Okay, twist my arm here Souza. Commence a five minute conversation of pure gold. We chatted about addiction, relative risks of different products, additives, the yuck factor, the appeal (e.g., inventive ways to improve the taste that had me curious), youth use, and, of course, the tie to baseball.

And it occurred to me, this is what dreams ideas are made of. I’ve never fancied myself a creative person, but over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to work with some brilliantly creative folks at ad agencies. What they’ve taught me is that health behavior change is not about numbers. It’s not about statistics or facts. It’s about ideas. It’s about inspiration. Ideas and inspiration should be supported by those numbers, statistics, and facts – but behind the scenes. Our best work at FMG takes science and translates it into ideas. Often we accomplish this by supplementing our quantitative work with rich information gleaned from qualitative research.

Nationals Baseball

Though the value of qualitative is undeniable (check out posts by our qualitative research experts Kinsey and Caitlin for tips and best practices!), we’re not a group to promote relying on the insights of a single person. In fact, our focus on scientific rigor and objectivity in all of our studies is part of what sets us apart. But – a focus group of one can be quite the inspiration, when leveraged and interpreted for what it is (and what it is not). One thing’s for sure, I owe the Nationals and Souza a huge thank you for quite possibly the coolest experience of a lifetime and some great insights to boot. Seriously, how can you not catch the fever?


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