Friday, June 3, 2016
2:00 - 2:20 PM
Ted Talks - Jolliet

Project 72: The Millennial Experience

The demographics of the Las Vegas visitor are rapidly changing. The new Vegas has wide appeal to the Millennial market, who do not exhibit the same in-situ behaviour as other segments. With 8 resident shows in Vegas, there's lots of interest at Cirque Du Soleil in finding out what's appealing to this new generation, in order to better capture their imagination. What drives them? What do they avoid? What keeps them going? And what are they actually trying to get out of the experience?

There are several challenges that exist when attempting to study millennials on a limited time vacation. How do we keep it unobtrusive while capturing the dynamics that lead to their behaviour? Through wickedly smart methodology and 72 hours of immersive ethnography, we tackle this beast head on.

Interest Statement:
Everyone's talking about Millennials. This demo has proven extremely hard to research and understand because of their unconventional nature and tech savvy. By building a methodology and approach that works to their interests, we were able to overcome many of the barriers which have plagued other research methods.

This presentation focuses on using teamwork and technology to achieve tightly focused results. By immersing ourselves in the environment of millennials during the 72 hours while they are actually involved in a vacation, we avoided many of the biases that plague after-the-fact interviews. We want to show the audience how utilizing videography, wireless microphones and smartphones allowed us to get deeper into the lives of participants in real time, which allowed us to gain deep understanding with limited exposures.

We tackled this topic in seven different simultaneous ways, all during one specific weekend in Las Vegas. We explored this audience both longitudinally and on an immediate basis. We conducted in person moderated interviews with hotel concierges and box office staff to uncover what they experience. We had a team offer free taxicab rides to Millennials in exchange for conversation. We immersed ourselves in a 1500 person megaclub using our access to conduct live interviews on the floor. We activated at a large pool party using Go Pros and Wireless microphones to conduct interviews both in the water and on the stage. We arranged exclusive access to specific properties and offered unique thematic incentives to entice millennials to respond to intercept interviews.

The core of the project involved recruiting 8 groups of millennials from around the country who were already planning on visiting Las Vegas during this weekend. We included couples, friends, groups of guys, groups of girls, and the LGBT market. These were recruited in several creative ways. Some responded to classic recruitment messages posted in feeder markets. Others responded to 'reality program' advertisements that we seeded in certain markets. It was all about getting the most natural recruit, and avoiding the recruitment issues that can plague this sort of project.

This work has been globally recognized as a significant advancement in the field of immersive research. We've long preached that the 'world is your focus group' and this is a concrete example of how with proper preparation and well thought out methodology, even the most complicated research settings can provide a cavalcade of outstanding information.

This presentation will be multimedia in nature, and will present elements of original video that was shot for this project. We always strive to be interactive and informative in our presentations. The audience will remain entertained and educated. We trust that our enthusiasm for the process and the product will be contagious.

Learning Outcomes:
As a result of this session, participants will gain unparalleled insight into the Millennial mindset. The unique methodological approach that was utilized permitted us to get closer to these people and interact with them in a natural and authentic manner that showcased their views on the world around them. This tackles motivations, media consumption and end consumer behaviour. Learnings from this project are not confined to merely travel scenarios, they have broad implications towards many industries.

As a result of this session, participants will be exposed to a variety of innovative recruitment techniques that allow researchers to approach potential participants in a novel manner that has intrinsic appeal to these people.

As a result of this session, participants will walk away with an assortment of actionable instantly effective techniques that will provide maximum impact in their ethnographic pursuits. How to use technology and teamwork to achieve operational excellence.

As a result of this session, participants will benefit from seeing how Cirque du Soleil, one of the most successful brands in Canada, utilizes cutting edge market research to guide innovation in a creatively driven industry.

Daniel Berkal
SVP Research & Insights, The Palmerston Group

Daniel Berkal is SVP and a partner at The Palmerston Group. He's personally conducted hundreds of energetic interviews of various sizes, ethnographies, mystery shops and ideation sessions among consumers and professionals in North America, Central America, Europe and Asia. The recipient of the 2011 QRCA Qually for excellence in Qualitative Research, Daniel has worked on the most innovative brands in business and is best known for completely immersing himself in consumer environments. With projects featured in Fast Company and Forbes, he's been called "Hands down, the most unique, thought-provoking and game-changing qualitative researcher in the business. Period." Daniel holds degrees from McGill University and The University of Texas at Austin.


Axel Bedikyan
Director - Strategy and Market Intelligence, Cirque du Soleil

Axel Bedikyan is Director - Strategy and Market Intelligence at Cirque du Soleil. Axel leads the Marketing Intelligence practice at Cirque du Soleil and has the mandate to support business decision making by delivering accurate timely and actionable insights. Axel's team is responsible for providing a clear picture of the live entertainment industry, Cirque du Soleil's current clients and prospects, as well as market dynamics in an effort to underpin strategic marketing and business strategies. Axel is an ex strategy management consultant.


Elana Gorbatyuk
VP of Strategy and Partner, SID LEE

Elana Gorbatyuk is VP of Strategy and Partner at Sid Lee, where she works with teams across offices to create meaningful and transformative consumer experiences that people love to talk about. Her work is focused on unlocking insights and trends that create unique moments of truth and experiences for brands. These experiences are anchored in every discipline spanning architecture, industrial design, product development, retail, digital, branded content, branding, and, of course, advertising too. Elana is a hybrid of cultures, a polyglot, passionate traveller, art historian and cultural anthropologist. Uniquely blending cultural anthropology with business and innovation planning, over the past 15+ years Elana has helped develop, re-position, and grow brands in nearly every category, cutting through mass/tige, prestige, and luxury markets, including automotive, technology/telecom, banking, sport, pharmaceutical, beverages, CPG, QSR, wellness, fashion, retail, and beauty.