As part of International Market Research Day #IMRD2021 we've made case studies from our International Research award 2020 available to all.

Important note: The MRS Awards judging is a rigorous process that demands a level of information that cannot be included in these published case studies. Much of the evidence used during the judging process remains client confidential and some case studies have been redacted considerably.

Find out more about MRS Awards 2021 and how to enter.

International Research



CovidWatch – An international social commentary on what unites and divides us during the pandemic

Ipsos’ syndicated research project ‘CovidWatch’ showed innovation from an insight and business perspective. With seven different clients buying into the study, it meant clients were able to find a cost effective way to understand how consumer behaviour was shifting towards the ‘new normal’. Through leveraging Ipsos’ international network, the project brought a cross-cultural narrative to what was happening during the pandemic.

The same research was used in numerous ways: it allowed McDonald’s to stay in touch with customers during the crisis, helping inform them of their reopening strategy; it fed into the cross-category consumer engagement plan at GSK; and IFF created commercial opportunities through showing their clients they were in touch with consumer sentiment.

Whilst the initial goal was to avoid furlough and redundancy, the project developed into a social commentary on what was happening in China, US, Russia, UK, France and Italy. With underlying tensions and shifts in consumer sentiment, behaviours and values, we saw how the pandemic reshaped the ‘new normal’ into a ‘hyper normal’. This research continues to create a public debate on how we want to live in a post-Covid world.

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Clif Bar and Company

Marketing to a new country: Challenging the American stereotype that Canada is the 51st state

US brands are notorious for treating Canada like the 51st state. CLIF wanted to get below the surface stereotypes, get curious about their Canadian cousin, deeply understand what ‘Canadian’ means and ultimately develop products and communications more culturally attuned to Canadian consumers.

CLIF, like us, relished the chance to get curious, experiment with new tools, bring different perspectives… and help the budget punch above its weight.

To uncover new consumer thinking we brought together:

  1. New AI powered research tools: for a deeper understanding of emotional responses and real world behaviour;
  2. Fresh and different perspectives: American expats and the Québécois brought an ‘insider’ perspective;
  3. Cultural insight: to identify underlying dynamics shaping Canadian identity.

“What we learned was nothing short of astounding…The results were a major unlock for me and my team, ultimately enabling a deep sense of consumer empathy… Net, we were able to refine our approach to innovation across the portfolio. Additionally, we were able to lean into new campaign development for multiple brands and products, leveraging insights from our research to guide positioning, as well as tone. Ultimately, our marketing plans underwent a step-function change as a result.”
Aniefre Essien, General Manager/Head of Marketing, CLIF Canada

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BBC World Service

Attitudes towards women’s sports, sportswomen and women in India

Research, at its best, not just improves business outcomes, but it makes a solid contribution to the society in which that business operates. The research for Indian Sportswoman of the Year (ISWOTY) managed to do exactly that.

The research project was complex and complicated, covering a country of more than a billion people, across 20 languages, divided up into 62 socio-cultural regions (SCRs). The fieldwork was conducted at a time of deep political unrest in the country, which made it doubly challenging that many of the questions asked were about topics that were often not discussed openly in Indian society. Importantly, rather than just investigate sports as an isolated field of activity, the research project investigated women’s sports in the context of India’s social, cultural and political environment.

The research had three key impacts: a) it changed the conversation around women’s sports in India, by demonstrating the difference between perceived and actual attitudes of Indians; b) it enabled the BBCs Indian operations to ‘own’ a territory that chimed with the self-image of India as a country making huge progress and c) it furthered the BBCs stated commitment to diversity by influencing quality journalism about women and women’s sports.

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Flood + Partners
World Animal Protection

Love is blind: Changing attitudes towards the global dolphin entertainment industry

Around the world thousands of dolphins are living in captivity, with more captured from the wild every year. The exploitation of these intelligent creatures for human ‘entertainment’ has become normalised. World Animal Protection needed to understand how they could open people’s eyes to the suffering that dolphins endure whilst in captivity. They commissioned Flood & Partners to understand more about visitors to dolphin venues – who they are, what motivates them, and how they really feel about animal welfare.

The first challenge was finding the right people to talk to. We needed to reach people who had holidayed near and visited dolphin venues, and these were scattered across the globe. Once a multi-stage process successfully identified our audience, we then had the arguably greater challenge of accurately capturing people’s true thoughts and feelings about dolphins in entertainment. People can hide their true feelings and post-rationalise when exploring sensitive behaviours like this. We used our ground-breaking survey platform to help us cut through and get to the truth.

World Animal Protection embedded the learnings into their campaign, with huge success, resulting in 12 travel companies (including, Virgin Holidays and TripAdvisor) ending the promotion and sale of tickets to dolphin venues.

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