Concept and Product Evaluation


A new start-up was considering developing a product which, it claimed, relieves the symptoms of a hangover.  Howdo was approached to design a research study to obtain qualitative feedback on two key areas: reactions to the concept and the efficacy of the product.

This is a market that introduces various practical and ethical issues.  Clearly, a person needs to be intoxicated to some extent in order to test the product but we could not encourage people to take alcohol excessively for the purposes of research.

We understood that a substantial clinical trial was to be conducted so quantification was not essential for this project.


We recommended a qualitative approach comprising two group discussions of young people, followed by a product trial with a cross-section of the group participants. In addition, we provided time for the group participants to meet with the clients so they could further discuss the product with the producers of the potential product.  This introduced a different dynamic and respondents spoke very freely with the client team.


The groups were traditional 2-hour discussions that included a brief tasting session.

We then placed a bottle of the product with all those participants who were happy to take part in the second part of the project – a trial followed by an in-depth telephone interview to obtain feedback.  We emphasised that people did not need to be heavily inebriated to take part.

Among the group participants we suspected we would not achieve sufficient numbers to provide feedback about the product even on a qualitative level.  Therefore, we placed the product with some members of the Howdo panel (a small but growing in-house resource that we have used for small-scale tasting projects).


We were able to provide the client with a menu of possible product and communication improvements.  We have been informed that the results of the project have been shared with potential retailers and we are excited to learn that the product is to be launched mid-2014.