How W+K used Fabric to understand sports fans, quickly

Wieden+Kennedy Opening Day ad

How W+K used Fabric to understand sports fans, quickly


W+K was invited to pitch MLB, in part for its long time credentials working with Nike, in part because of its experience working for ESPN in the past, and in part because of its ability to understand how to leverage brands in a way that imbues them with meaningful cultural connections.

Like most pitch situations, the agency needed quick-turn qual with a limited budget:

  • A national sample
  • Gen Z – including a subset of Latinx and Spanish speaking respondents
  • Sports fans (who play and watch sports generally) whom the League was trying to bring into the fold
  • Baseball fans (who play and watch baseball regularly) who would provide the core baseball audience POV


The agency had some initial strategic themes they wanted feedback on, with the goal being:

  • To understand how the themes resonate with consumers
  • To see if any had an adverse impact
  • To see if any new, unexpected themes surfaced


The account planner – Anthony Holton – turned to Fabric’s mobile video ethnography platform to get the job done in days versus weeks that traditional qual takes, and leveraged it in a number of ways:


Pinpoint accurate recruitment: The platform can recruit respondents from its proprietary database, and to make things simple; all he had to do was type the specs into an open field, and Fabric created the screener, then added qualified participants to his study


Emotional AI-Automation: He opted for a sample size of n=15 because that’s the minimum threshold for Fabric AI to serve as an automated research assistant (more on that below)


SaaS Platform: Anthony crafted his own study questions (up to 10 Qs/respondent) and typed them in to the study builder


Simple stimulus uploading: He added stimulus (links to PDFs…as simple as adding links to a Google Doc) in a few of the study questions to get participant feedback on the strategic territories they were exploring


Intuitive Online Dashboard: As respondents completed, he used the study dashboard to review incoming responses:


1. Each response is a self-recorded video up to 60 seconds long


2. Each response comes with transcripts


3. Fabric AI —which is optimized for sentiment and emotion— offers a number of different ways to parse the data at the press of one button:

  • It counts Mentions, Mentions with emotional intent, and identifies which Mentions align with the 8 primary emotions Fabric AI tracks
  • It identifies themes and patterns to drill into
  • Using a combination of voice intonation and the transcripts, it generates a view of how strong each of the 8 primary emotions is, per question
  • It serves up the most emotionally engaged video responses – with a toggle to view verbatims instead


4. Each video can be shared (which he did with fellow remote team members, to get their comments), tagged, rated and comments added


5. The agency also put together a short highlight reel to bring the insights to life, adding title cards, B roll and music; ultimately bringing additional meeting theater into the final pitch presentation




W+K was awarded the MLB business, helping it drive not only new top line revenue, but adding a prestigious and iconic brand to the agency roster.


The launch campaign for Opening Day used the newly created tagline “Baseball is something else” which was a creative articulation of one of the strategic themes tested on Fabric.


The mass media coverage of the campaign and the social media buzz helped elevate MLB’s place in the cultural conversation, and opening day shattered the previous one day viewership records by a whopping 42%!


Says Anthony looking back on the pitch:

“Fabric has become a go-to platform for our pitches now.”

Fabric AI x ChatGPT: Exploring shifting attitudes

Using Fabric AI + ChatGPT to Explore Shifting Attitudes Toward AI

Full article and case study report coming soon - but in the meantime feel free to check out the brief summary, AI walkthrough videos, and raw response data below!

Click the link here to view the “Shifting Attitudes Toward AI” case study, with Fabric AI 2.0 + ChatGPT analysis on the researcher platform. To see the AI output, just click the “View Fabric AI” button beneath any questions that spark your interest!

You can view the video below for an introduction to Fabric AI, the primary technology featured in this case study!

For this case study, we set out to take a close look at where general perceptions of AI are currently at, how they may have shifted during this recent generative AI tech revolution, and where people see AI going in the near future. Toward this goal, we actually employed ChatGPT to write and edit a number of the study questions, then used a combination of our proprietary Fabric AI alongside new integrations of OpenAI’s ChatGPT API to spearhead a quick-hit analysis on a relatively large qualitative video research study that normally would require a significant number of hours to code and analyze. The methodology we used is the Fabric DIY “Let Us Recruit” pathway, where we built up the study on Fabric, submitted a request for the recruit spec (two age segments of 18-29 and 40-59, then two occupational segments of Tech vs Non-Tech industries, plus an awareness and relatively strong opinion on ChatGPT / generative AI), and our on-platform recruiting team ran screeners to recruit from the Fabric / mindswarms respondent database. The N=60 respondent study closed in just 3 days, with strong response quality and insights.

The full findings of this case study will be coming soon as a complete article, but in the meantime you can view the video snippet below to see a walkthrough of using the AI to pull out some insight overviews from a couple more AI-central questions in this case study!


How Mobile Video Surveys Helped DINE Launch a New Product

When food innovation company DINE needed to make a snap decision about whether to introduce a new product to consumers, they turned to mindswarms. The feedback they got was invaluable, and quick. (The consumers’ facial expressions alone speak volumes.)

“Basically they would think that maybe I was racist because I’m speaking out about it [police brutality]. It’s scary that there’s a lot of people out there that can’t even go to the store at night without worrying about dying, and there’s people who can get pulled over, and pull a gun out, and maybe because of their skin color or their background they won’t even die…”

Much has been written about the benefits of using mobile video surveys to glean consumer insights. This method empowers respondents to speak freely, and captures human emotions through first-person accounts in an environment that is familiar to them. Also, it’s quicker than field research.

That’s why when DINE needed to make a fast decision about whether to launch a new product, they chose to use mobile video surveys. The process was so efficient. They sent packages of the new product to 30 households around the U.S., and consumers recorded their reactions using their web cams as they opened the package, cooked the food and tasted it for the first time.

DINE was struck by how much insightful information they got, not only from the respondents’ words, but by seeing their facial expressions and physical environment. The qualitative data was rich and shaped their next steps: Despite serious initial apprehension about how the product looked, the consumers all agreed that the product tasted great. DINE knew exactly what they need to do to overcome this and make the launch successful. The product was green-lit.


Millennials & Home Cleaning

In a recent study, mindswarms set out to understand unique generational considerations in how Millennial women relate to home cleaning, home cleaning brands, and home cleaning product purchasing. What we didn’t anticipate? That we’d open up a Pandora’s Box of emotionally deep insights. You can watch a video clip here.

“Basically they would think that maybe I was racist because I’m speaking out about it [police brutality]. It’s scary that there’s a lot of people out there that can’t even go to the store at night without worrying about dying, and there’s people who can get pulled over, and pull a gun out, and maybe because of their skin color or their background they won’t even die…”

Research Objective

To understand the emotions, pressures, and motivations related to household cleaning. By gaining a deeper understanding of the the modern young woman’s relationship to cleaning, we can better gauge what types of products and concepts would appeal most. One interesting technique we employed was to have women show us a photo of their Mom in the first response, to dial up the emotional intensity of their responses.

Target Audience

  • National US sample
  • 12 states
  • 14 cities
  • Ages 25 – 40
  • Female
  • Mix of ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds

We Learned:

While we anticipated interesting results given the nature of the study and the research design, what we didn’t see coming was that the study became a form of mother/daughter therapy as told through the lens of home cleaning. Millennial women’s cleaning rituals, habits and schedules opened up a Pandora’s box of deep memories, providing a rich and emotionally colorful set of insights.

Here’s a look at how we set the stage for success by tuning the study design and triggers for the unique attributes of mobile video surveys.

The unique nature of mobile video studies

We’ve found that in mobile video surveys, respondents are remarkably open, honest, and candid in their replies. This may be because mobile phones – given how much they are used – serve as virtual extensions of the human hand. The device becomes quite personal and intimate in that respect. Additionally, we often use mobile devices to communicate in confidence with people we trust. So in a sense, the technology, by association, takes on attributes of a confidante: people are comfortable sharing openly with it.

Furthermore, as a market research methodology, mobile video surveys are highly effective for anything to do with the home. Participants often record their responses while at home, where they typically feel comfortable being themselves and where they are surrounded by belongings and items they use every day.

The compounded effect of using a familiar, personal technology in a familiar, personal environment makes the results of mobile video research studies highly insightful.

Applying ethnography best practices to mobile video study design

New technologies and media have opened up new ways to apply ethnography best practices with increasing sophistication and excellent results. The market research industry, driven to stay ahead of consumer preferences and trends, has rightly seen mobile video surveys as a way to overcome some limitations of traditional research approaches.

Take focus groups, for example. The sheer power of close observation, a highly insightful research practice, is largely absent from focus group research. Focus group observers are often situated such that it’s impossible to see the nuances of participants’ facial expressions from 10+ feet away. Depending on the seating arrangement, an observer might see some participants only in profile, making reading expression virtually impossible.

In contrast, a mobile video study is up close and personal, with the mobile device either held at arm’s length or in close proximity; so it offers a level of facial and body language observation that’s quite intimate, yet uncomplicated by interaction with an interviewer or other people.

Show & Tell is another ethnography methodology especially well suited for mobile video studies. Participants responding to Show & Tell prompts tend to be much more animated and articulate answering questions because they are either in the environment they are being questioned about or quite literally holding the object they are talking about.

Why did we survey only women?

While statistics show that men are a significant and growing audience for home cleaning products, we were experimenting with research design and especially curious about infusing a research study with the mother/daughter dynamic.

Mom knows that I take pride in the cleanliness of my home, and its organization, but it’s just never good enough for her.

~ Leslie Stone


We’ve worked as ethnographers in marketing, advertising, product design, strategy and consumer insights, and are still fascinated every day by the insights that emerge from the studies we do; from the standpoints of both study design and human thought and behavior. In this case, it was genuinely amazing to see study design, technology and human experience come together in such a powerful way.

Lesson #1: Engage emotion to reach deeper insights

STUDY DESIGN: Mommy and me; setting the stage

We decided to ask participating Millennial women to benchmark themselves against their mothers. “How do you compare to your mother?” From a study design standpoint—or from any standpoint, really—that’s a loaded question with some magical power:

  • It sets a very emotional tone, starting with the first question.
  • It provides a harder edge to the research findings because people are not just talking about themselves, they are talking about how they are different from their mothers.
  • With this in mind, in the first clip of the study we asked participants to show us a picture of their mother (or parents), to help bring the mother/daughter or parent/daughter relationship vividly to mind in the moment. Loading a research study with a design that gets to deeper emotional territory will almost always result in more meaningful insights and set the stage for that emotion to carry through the rest of the study.

Understanding emotion is invaluable for a number of reasons:

  • Despite what people SAY they will do, emotion often overrides logic
  • There are so many options for consumers that understanding the emotional drivers for brand preference can be a powerful asset.
  • While most categories—like home cleaning—have the potential to be mundane, we believe every category has emotion in it that can motivate consumers to buy specific products or brands that resonate with them.
  • The most successful brands and companies typically create powerful emotional connections with consumers.

CONSUMER INSIGHTS: They are their mother’s daughters

Oh mama! Whether study participants remained adherents of their mother’s cleaning practices and philosophies, or whether they were outright rejectors of their mother’s way of doing things, they all had powerful emotional connections to home cleaning.

For many of respondents, their relationship to home cleaning started with early childhood memories of cleaning routines, scents, brands and products, all intertwined with their relationship with Mom.

As you might expect, many of the women adopted a very different set of brands from their mother’s loyalties. Typically, the brands Millennial women related to more had a different mission, vision, or purpose. They weren’t as much brands that had been around for generations, but they were brands with original narratives and associations that aligned more meaningfully with Millennials’ desire for a greater purpose or mission.

I think my mother would probably say, as far as my home cleaning products and home cleaning style goes, I’m doing the best I can with two little ones under the age of four. And I would say she understands the type of products that I buy and why I buy them. Organic products are just not what Mom chooses.

~ Julie

Lesson #2: Help participants paint a complete picture in full color

STUDY DESIGN: Transition from Culture/Category to Brand questions

We typically sequence questions in a way that helps participants show us if/how their relationship with the broader research topic aligns with the brand landscape. To achieve this, we start with broader topics about the culture and category, then narrow the focus to more specific product areas in order to approach the topic from a cultural level where the richest—and often highest ROI—insights are found.

In this study, we sequenced questions to follow this arc:

  • Their relationship with home cleaning, relative to their mother’s
  • Their relationship with home cleaning brands, relative to their mother’s
  • Their relationship with home cleaning products, relative to their mother’s
  • Their relationship with home cleaning purchasing, relative to their mother’s

CONSUMER INSIGHTS: A kinder, gentler brand landscape

Since Millennials tended on the whole to move away from brands their mothers groomed their daughters on, this can have significant impact on new brands launching, as well as on existing brands either repositioning themselves or extending into new areas.

From a product perspective, Millennial women tended to relate best to what we would refer to as “gentler” cleaning products. They cited products that had a less harsh chemical footprint and were perceived as more environmentally friendly. They also lit up at the idea of convenience. Wet wipes, for instance, were one of the most commonly cited products they lived by because of the ease with which they could be used. (Incidentally, respondents did not seem to associate that extra convenience with an increased environmental cost of the throw-away plastic tubs).

My number one home cleaning product would be my Windex Touch-Ups. I love this product. What makes this different from what my parents used? It’s convenient, the ease of use and the design: it’s kind of high-tech, I think, compared to an all-in vinegar mix that’s maybe something my parents would’ve concocted

~ Pamela

Lesson #4: Seek to understand the entire journey

STUDY DESIGN: Show & Tell methodology for product context

What’s a day in the life of a product? For product context, we had these women show us where they stored their cleaning supplies in the home, talk about the range of products found there, and discuss how they typically used the assortment of products.

By designing studies to investigate what happens to products pre, during and post use, mobile video surveys can help identify new opportunities for product marketers and designers to innovate around that product, including “product as service,” an escalating trend across categories. This is especially valuable in the re-order world, where increasingly popular subscription models help increase customer loyalty and lifetime customer value.

CONSUMER INSIGHTS: The untold story = new brand & product opportunities

By having participants show us their cleaning supplies, we were able to understand more deeply not only their favorite product(s), but also the brand clusters and assortments they purchased in other categories. It also gave us insight into their unmet needs when we could see, for example, how disorganized some of the supply areas were; many participants were reluctant to even show those areas because they felt embarrassed by the mess.

Would these participants want a product or system that made it easier for them to create and maintain a supply area they wouldn’t hesitate to show us or Mom? Absolutely.

I think my mom and my parents would say that I do keep my house in good clean state, but she would definitely be appalled by the number of different products that I have. She would say, it’s way too much and I should just stick to the old fashioned water and baking soda.

~ Grace

Lesson #5: Use mobile for an intimate, very human point of view

STUDY DESIGN: Get into their personal space, literally and emotionally

Seeing into people’s natural environments using mobile video surveys is a unique way to truly understand their world from their point of view—not just product or product context, but what else matters to them and the kinds of challenges they face every day.

Additionally, not only does the research methodology address the core research objective, it’s also valuable and easy to share throughout an organization, both upstream (into Product Design & Development, or even R&D) or downstream (into retail presentation and online buying).

So the Swiffer Dust and Shine with Febreze Lavender and Vanilla is my favorite cleaning product. […] It definitely differs from my parents, because they never had these things back in the day growing up, when cleaning, I think things were much more old-school.

~ Shaun

CONSUMER INSIGHTS: Under the sink can be as emotional as in their closet

Having consumers show you spaces in their homes that very few people ever see—like under kitchen counters and in laundry rooms—opens them up to share unexpected stories and details.It also opens the eyes of the researcher to the reality of these spaces.

Hearing in someone’s voice the pride about how she organized an area or seeing the anxiety on another’s face as she introduces a space in her home that’s chronically disorganized reveals all sorts of explicit and implicit insights.


Would participants have been so candid in a focus group or even in a filmed one-on-one, ethnographic-style interview? Unlikely. Certainly not without considerably more time invested in building rapport and trust.

In this study, each person’s familiarity with—and trust of—her mobile device led to surprisingly candid sharing. There was no unconscious bias, and no group think.

Specifically, using mobile video surveys in this study helped us:

  • Understand the prevailing attitudes, practices, brand affinities, and purchase habits of Millennial women as it related to home cleaning and home cleaning products;
  • Infuse the study with emotion beyond simply asking women about their habits and preferences;Identify clear attitudinal, behavioral, and emotional differences between Millennial women and their mothers;
  • Surface the broader shifts amongst Millennials and the home cleaning category towards simpler, less harsh, and more convenient products;
  • Identify all sorts of opportunities for new brands to disrupt the category and/or for existing brands to re-tool, re-position, or extend their brands;
  • Explore zones of innovation in which both new and established brands can identify opportunities for new services and experiences on top of the existing product portfolio, such as organizing ecosystems for storage, re-supply purchasing, and line extensions into tangential categories


Special thanks to the people who shared their personal stories and insights with us as part of this mindswarms study.


Amplify Your Pitch with Mobile Video Surveys

Four days away from a pitch to a major national bank, BBDO wanted to gauge consumer impressions and attitudes about banking, with an emphasis on the client’s brand. They knew that having authentic and timely consumer video insights to share with the client would amplify their pitch’s power. The result: they won.

The Situation

The call comes in from the pitch consultant with multiple agencies on the long list. Everyone is excited but, at the same time, you realize you’re up against some serious contenders and statistically you have a 1 in X chance of making the final round. You need to get the biz dev wheels turning fast. You’d love some qualitative research to have a POV to start informing the creative brief, but OOP expenses are strictly managed by the CFO and every group is asking for funding. Focus groups are seen to be too traditional or you can’t afford a national sample; plus, time doesn’t permit because you have one week to get the next round of pitch material together.

Perfect occasion for Fabric; perfect occasion for high quality mobile video surveys.

The Solution

A 15-person Fabric survey. Bingo. 7 questions per person gives you over 90 minutes of video responses (respondents each have 1 minute to respond to each question). You have a national or global sample of people answering very specific questions about the client’s brand or product that you can bake into a presentation or even edit into a quick video. Heck, create a pitch manifesto for your approach based on the insights gathered, and leapfrog those other agencies. Responses “ship as they fill” so you and everyone on the pitch team reviewing responses as they come in. You can start to inform your internal teams about the consumer POV and use it to influence the way they think about creative, media, and every other aspect of the pitch.

I walked into the agency at 9:00am on Monday morning with a deck full of films, photos and verbatims. Heroic.

~ Gordon McLean, SVP Group Planning Director, BBDO NY

How They Did It

Working with Fabric mobile video surveys, BBDO quickly locked down the recruitment specs. They wanted a 20 person survey with an equal spread across gender, race, and geographic location, while also specifying other key needs; brand awareness, and regular use of the brand’s banking services. Fabric immediately created a screener to ensure that candidates met all basic demographic, geographic, and psychographic requirements. Recruitment began hours later. Together, BBDO and Fabric developed the survey questionnaire for participants. Conducted asynchronously over mobile devices (or webcam) via Fabric, the survey began the same day BBDO reached out to Fabric. By Monday morning, the participants had completed the survey, netting BBDO one hundred forty minutes of consumer insight to pick and choose from to both inform and complement their pitch.


BBDO was delivered a cloud based study link that allowed for download or online viewing of all video responses. Using that study link in the pitch, BBDO showed a board with twelve choice participants, including their photos and summaries of their responses. To accentuate specific points, BBDO played poignant video responses for the client. Mobile video surveys helped anchor BBDO’s creative strategy in genuine consumer insight (vs agency staff speculation), making the client much more receptive to their ideas. In the end, BBDO won the pitch.


How to Seal the Deal with Mobile Video Surveys

What happens when you need consumer insights within a matter of days? Check out how Fabric helped a leading holding-company-owned N.Y. advertising agency new business group craft mobile video surveys that delivered compelling results. They won the new business. And they’re now big fans of mobile video ethnography.

The Problem

A leading holding-company-owned N.Y. advertising agency new business group received a call most agencies dream about: a major national FMCG food brand was interested in having a conversation in a few days time. This potential brand currently had an ad agency. Reading the tea leaves, the agency knew the brand would be in play, and wanted to seal the deal before word on the street created a situation where a furious pitch process would be ignited, bringing dozens of other agency contenders into the mix.

The Solution

A 15-person Fabric survey. Bingo. 7 questions per person gives you over 90 minutes of video responses. Although the conversation was positioned as a preliminary chemistry check, the agency brought its “A” game, aiming to close the deal in the first meeting. The agency reached out to Fabric to craft a consumer research strategy that would deliver compelling insights in a matter of days. Using mobile video surveys with a national sample of respondents, several methodologies were employed.

(1) Missions: qualified consumers were sent to a grocery store where they recorded their impressions of the frozen foods section, as well as specific brands within it.

(2) Prompt & React: respondents were prompted (with a link to videos and PDFs) to the character-based advertising campaigns the client had created over the years, and asked to respond to the perceived relevance.

(3) Show & Tell: consumers were asked to show the contents of their freezer to get a glimpse inside a typical respondent’s frozen food choices, thereby revealing the actual truth of what their freezers contained (vs. what people might report in a focus group, or quant study). Plus it allowed the client and agency to see the cluster of brands their core consumers actually bought.

Those insights were packaged into a curated, edited short video, along with some informed points of view meant to generate healthy strategic conversation. You have a national or global sample of people answering very specific questions about the client’s brand or product that you can bake into a presentation or even edit into a quick video. Heck, create a pitch manifesto for your approach based on the insights gathered, and leapfrog those other agencies. Responses “ship as they fill” so you and everyone on the pitch team review responses as they come in. You can start to inform your internal teams about the consumer POV and use it to influence the way they think about creative, media, and every other aspect of the pitch.


By bringing to life key insights about consumers’ relationship with the client’s brand and its advertising in a matter of days, the agency was able to engage the client in an informed preliminary strategic conversation about how to potentially manage and leverage some of the brand’s historical communications assets and equities. While the client was expecting an informal first meet-and-greet discussion, they were impressed by the agency’s ability and initiative to gather insight rapidly, across a broad geography.

The agency won the business in the first meeting and has continued to use Fabric for other successful pitches. The agency has also introduced Fabric to its existing client base as a strategic research tool to craft creative briefs and campaigns, to not only help drive agency relationships deeper inside its clients’ organizations, but to create new relationships more broadly within their clients’ companies.