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MRS Award

Winners 2017

Populus Data Solutions are thrilled to announce that we are

now three time winners of the MRS Operations Award for Best Data Solution after successfully winning the award again in 2017.

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O2 challenged Populus with a brief to quantitatively test the appeal of 4 retail layout concepts for a new O2 product. They needed to determine which concept clearly and immediately conveyed what the O2 product was and the benefits, in the limited space available in-store. The challenge of the brief was to bring the retail environment to life. This couldn’t be achieved through simply showing respondents flat images of the store, which wouldn’t re-create the environment. Similarly, mocking up the physical retail environment would be too costly and time consuming and difficult to test at scale.



Populus Data Solutions designed an intuitive mobile survey solution, which integrated a virtual reality 360-video into the survey itself. Respondents were equipped with headsets and then invited to take part in the survey using their smartphone. A sample of 400 was split into 5 monadic cells. Working with visual technology partner Gorilla in the Room, each cell was exposed to a different virtual environment of the O2 store, where the store assets were digitally altered using CGI.




Bringing the concepts to life by using VR allowed respondents to feel more deeply engaged and involved with the study. This meaningful immersive approach provided a more accurate portrayal than if the concepts were tested in isolation, as the concepts were competing with other messages in a busy store environment. The truer to life insight gave clear direction to O2 on the best performing concepts and store setup.


It also created a highly engaging survey experience for respondents, showing a 68% increase in those that found the survey enjoyable in comparison to a standard survey. As a result of this, we were awarded the MRS Operations award for Best Data Solution 2017.


What the Judges Said

“Populus Data Solutions were the worthy winners with an extremely innovative use of smartphone technology and Google headsets to test store concepts for O2. The client was clearly impressed with the elegance of this cutting edge solution in providing an immersive real-world reality solution on a quantitative scale without disruption to their physical stores.”