Do Focus Groups Work? (Season 6, Ep 3)

The pollsters failed to predict Brexit, Trump and Theresa May's lost majority. But, in political circles, faith remains in one particular research technique: the focus group...

Edelman's James Morris was an advisor at the Number 10 strategy unit under Tony Blair, and has advised international businesses including Virgin Media and Starbucks on reputation management. 

In this insightful interview with Olly, he reveals how U-shaped rooms, open questions and gender dynamics all affect 'what we think we think' about political issues like climate change, leadership and immigration.

Elsewhere, Ollie Peart considers the return of the turtle-neck and the boom in onion jewellery in this week's Zeitgeist.

Plus, as his quest to become a true trends insider continues, he reveals how he fared in an ethical audit of his consumer habits, thanks to Ethical Consumer's Tim Hunt. (And if that's inspired you to get your own ethical audit done, check out

Meanwhile, down The Foxhole, Alix Fox investigates the bizarre claim that toothpaste can function as an alternative to a traditional pregnancy test, and offers advice to a listener concerned that he's the only gay in the village...

The Foxhole is, as ever, proudly sponsored by our friends at Shop their excellent range of condoms and toys online, and remember to use our code 'MANN' to get a super-sexy 15% off.

For this week's Squarespace Lifehack, Trullo's head honcho Tim Siadatan offers up his three top tips to make restaurant-quality pasta at home. If you'd like to see more of Tim's advice, check out his book, also called Trullo, which is out now. 

The Lifehack is brought to you thanks to our good friends at Squarespace. To create your own blog, personal portfolio or business website with their easy-to-use templates, visit and, when you're ready to launch, use our offer code 'MANN' to save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Finally, this week's Song of the Week isn't from this week at all, really - it's Mike's Pop Song, an off-cut from Olly's all-time favourite album, R.E.M's Automatic For The People, reissued for its 25th anniversary.

If you'd like to suggest a challenge for Ollie Peart, a question of sex for Alix Fox, or you'd like to leave us a comment and nominate yourself as a Mannbassador, just click FEEDBACK on our website, Or click BEER MONEY to buy us a beer and support the show.

This episode was made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of online eyewear store Check out their stunning and good-value range of stylish frames, and get 10% off when you use our offer code 'MANN' at

See You Next Tuesday!

Presenter: Olly Mann. Contributors: Ollie Peart, Alix Fox, James Morris, Tim Siadatan, R.E.M. Producer: Matt Hill. Theme Music: 'Skies Over Cairo' by Django Django. Graphic Design: Jenny Mann Design. Copyright: Olly Mann / Rethink Audio 2017.


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