A typical adthropological endeavor begins when an individual shows up at a consumer's door, camera in tow. The observer tours the home, noting details like the location of TVs and piles of magazines that may have been saved for reference purposes. "When we were doing this for Kraft, we saw so many TVs in the kitchen. That's an incredibly significant detail for a food company," notes Jane Lacher, senior vice president of consumer context planning at MediaVest.
Information gleaned during home visits tends to bolster, and occasionally trump, intelligence gathered via focus group interviews, Lacher adds. "People tell you about their habits, but they tend to script a little bit. When you go into the home, you see if the newspaper has been read, or if there are coupons on the refrigerator, or how many TVs are on," she explains. "People generally won't tell you 'my life is in disarray.' So [with a visit] you get a better sense of where media fits into the picture."