Greenfield: They’re Just Weird. (And why are they plagiarizing recipes from the BBC?)

A typical survey invite email from Greenfield Online:

greenfield is weird

I don’t get it. The recipe, the quotation from Aristotle, the mountain climber — what does any of this this have to do with orange juice? (I haven’t clicked to see what the survey is about yet, but I’m sure it’ll end up being about orange juice. Again. BTW, I just bought a 4-pack of Tropicana at Costco, because it’s what they have, not because I thought it was the most likely to be “outgoing” if it happened to “come to life as a person with distinct personality traits and characteristics.” And just scroll down a bit if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

So anyway, that’s weird enough, and it was going to be a post on its own, but I figured I’d take a quick look through my in box and see what else Greenfield was using so I could mock them a little more. The very next invite I had included a recipe for monkfish pasta, and here’s where this starts to get pretty funny:

monkfish green

Greenfield is based in the US state of Connecticut. We don’t much use the metric system in America, and yet here’s a recipe that not only includes metric portions at all, but lists them first … and also refers to a type of fish (huss?) I’d never before heard of, as well as to  “double cream,” which despite sounding delicious, does not exist here. At all.

That all seemed odd enough that I copied and pasted the first line of ingredients into Google, and guess what the first hit was?



I’m no lawyer, but it’s probably legal for Greenfield to include this recipe, especially as it seems to be coming from the “Sea Fish Authority,” which seems to be an official UK agency. It’s just deeply weird, no? Why would you do this? What is it adding to the respondent experience? Was there research done on what consumers want in a survey invite, and did the results actually end up ranking “Strange recipes from other countries” slightly higher than “trivial facts about adorable animals?”

(from another invite:)

greenfield fox

(I can’t tell what the original source for this one is, though it’s surprisingly not Wikipedia, although that sentence about the British Isles does appear in the Red Fox entry there.)

Oh, Greenfield. Don’t ever change.



Filed under ethics, Greenfield, Market Research, web research

4 responses to “Greenfield: They’re Just Weird. (And why are they plagiarizing recipes from the BBC?)

  1. I think they are going to change. They were recently purchased by Toluna.

  2. ubu.roi

    Hey, at least they’re trying!

  3. I would bet dollars to donuts that they are adding that content to their invitations as a misguided attempt to outwit spam filters. Someone must have told them that spam filters were rejecting survey invites so they thought the would solve the problem by disguising the invite portion of the message as an images the the spam filters can’t read while including only innocent looking text (that your grandmother might send you) in the text.

    It might just work…until enough people press the spam button to force all Greenfield messages into the trash.

  4. ubu.roi

    Nah, man, I think you’re being a bit paranoid. This is just their attempt not to bypass spam filters, but rather to create a community/social network out of their panel, to add value and content to their site/invites, etc etc etc.

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