This is some kind of interesting market research. For the upcoming presedential election 7Eleven has designed 2 special coffe cups. One blue for Obama and on red for McCain. Every time somebody buys a cup of coffe at 7Eleven (and according to their site coffe is their No. 1 Product with more than 1 million cups a day) they make a choice between Obama or McCain. As for today Obama accounts for 60% of the cups sold and McCain for 40%. Let's hope it will stay that way on election day.
Anyway this is actually the third presendential election where 7Eleven has done this kind of "research". And the coffee cup predictions were pretty accurate. In fact in 2004 they were exactly the same as the official result. 51% for Bush and 49% for Kerry.
I really like this kind of research because it is so simple. Buying a cup of coffee for most Americans is a simple everyday task. You don't think about it. You go in the store, you grab a cup, you get a coffee. It's a gut decision. You don't think about it. And that's probably why it works so well. Instead of asking people questions and making them think about their decisions, you just leverage on an everyday task and get a simple question in that behaviour. Chances are that the results are far more credible than the usuall market research hokus-pokus.
And it actually isn't that new after all. Social Scientists have been doing this kind of research for years. The problem is that in marketing research we don't trust this kind of evidence. Probably because it is not scientific enough. But if we really want to uncover the new insights, we should start and listen to peoples guts instead of trying to get into their head.
Just a thought though...