Insights are all around you, if you know where to look

Getting into the habit of decoding the insights behind hit new products and ad campaigns helps you hone your own skills. To get you started, here are three innovations and the insights that – we think – lie behind them.


Insight hunters need to be alert at all times for clues that could reveal something new about consumer behaviour.

Luckily, there’s evidence of insights all around us: in the products and ads we see every day. And you can use these to keep your insight-spotting skills sharp.

Next time a fresh product or ad makes you think, “What a great idea,” see if you can reverse engineer the insight that led to it. Who is this innovation targeted at? And what has the brand understood about their target audience that led to this solution?

Take, for example, funny-shaped vegetables.

Asda recently started selling boxes of wonky veg as part of its ‘Beautiful on the Inside’ range, as an alternative to the shiny, pristine, all-the-same-size veg that consumers have come to expect from supermarkets.

So what’s the insight behind this move? Clearly, it’s about authenticity, health and the environment. As awareness rises about how our food gets from the farm to the fork, and interest in organic and natural products grows, consumers want to feel they’re eating real, honest food that’s doing them good, and doing the planet good. In the past, this has either meant expensive organic fare aimed at well-to-do foodies, or veg that’s so “natural” it’s got things living in it.

But Asda has come up with a way to fulfil this need for its customers while providing the guarantee of reliability that a major supermarket brand can offer – as well as the convenience of being able to pick it up with all the rest of your groceries.

Another interesting example of insight in action is this ad for Kalms herbal stress-relief tablets, which aired last year.

The advert features a cavewoman going about her prehistoric day – running away from angry mammoths, crossing ravines balanced on a tree branch – and trying to cope with it all calmly.

“Stress has been a part of our lives since time began,” the voiceover says. “It’s how you handle it that counts.”

The idea is that stress has always been there, and is something we have to accept and deal with. But sometimes it just all gets too much, which is where Kalms comes in.

Apaisyl nit treatment is another product with strong insights behind it. Rather than boasting about its natural ingredients or how quickly it takes effect – as many products in this category do – Apaisyl has differentiated itself with a unique benefit: it colours the nits blue so you can see them.

This innovation is clearly based on astute consumer observation: that nits are a nightmare for parents and kids. The treatment is messy, fiddly, uncomfortable, smelly, and kids hate it. To make matters worse, the little beasties are nigh-on impossible to see, but if you leave just one of them standing, you may have to go through the whole nasty process all over again. Apaisyl has understood this and come up with a solution for how nits fit into real people’s lives.

The more insights like this that you can identify and understand in the marketing communications and new product offers you see around you, the more ready you’ll be to spot and develop insights that can take your own brand to the next level.

If you have an insight that you’d like help to develop, don’t hesitate to contact us.