The Qualitative Research Centre.  'Putting a human face on the business of marketing.'

The Partners

Vicky Johns  |


Born and bred in the southwest of England and surviving my teenage years in a town whose only claim to fame is John Cleese, Jeffrey Archer and ‘mods and rockers’ biker wars in the sixties. After a degree in psychology from Warwick, I bluffed my way into a leading edge qualitative outfit in London. Years later, after buy-outs and mergers, QRC was ready to open an American office. I was the first to raise my hand and six months later was on a plane to L.A. The beginning of a crazy adventure that led to the founding of QRC as an independent US corporation.


A few professional highlights...


Paving the ground for account planning at Goodby, Silverstein & Partner in the early 90’s


Answering the best brief ever from Nike (a company that literally had no women in the room at the time): “we don’t know how to talk to us”.


Training more than 100 up and coming account planners and researchers to do what I do, better than I do.


Working on women related communication efforts for both Reebok and adidas worldwide.


Adding a consumer voice and insight into the development of global visual identity designs for Coca Cola brands.


Brand essence ‘Big Dig’ projects, with Scott Bedbury, for Starbucks and Coca Cola.


Adding a consumer voice to the development of the Levi’s store.


Thirty years on, still loving what we do and having fun solving the myriad of puzzles that come our way.

Arnie Jacobson  |


Growing up in the sunshine of Southern California Arnie would never go to the prom, make his Varsity soccer team, or get a high-school diploma. He moved with his family to the north of England, completed his A levels at Sandbach Grammar School and earned a joint honours degree in Economics and Politics at the University of Keele...a mere hours drive from Victoria Johns, studying at Warwick University, and three hours from the London School of Economics, Lisa Gray’s alma mater.  Although neither at the time knew of his existence, from 1985 onwards both Vicky and Lisa would be partners in life, and in QRC. Before joining QRC, Arnie started off as an account planner in the very exciting ‘80’s London advertising scene.


A few professional highlights...


Working on many brand, advertising, category, product and design-led initiatives with Nike during their massive $2-8 billion growth spurt.


Then, a few years later, working with adidas to develop ‘Impossible is Nothing’ in Asia, Europe and the US.


Going Forth with Levis and working with w + k to take it global.


Taking a couple of months off to design and conduct a research project, ‘community voice’ as part of the ‘Rebuild LA’ team after the 1992 riots. Our research was filmed in the field and made into a series of over 20 public service ads, directed by Robert Bermeo.


Getting a mention (along with Vicky) in Jon Steel’s book ‘Truth, Lies and Advertising’.


Running ‘Face Value’ training workshops about including the consumer in the advertising-making process for Ogilvy account planners in Mumbai and Shanghai.


Getting to know a humble fast food company, Chick-fil-A, working on many different customer-focused initiatives from the Cows next antics, to Kids and community.

Lisa Gray  |


To make a very long story short enough not to make your head spin, I grew up living and traveling between European countries – a far cry from Chicago, my place of origin. After much schooling in many, many schools, I received a BA with Honors in Politics at the University of Sussex and an M.Sc in International Relations at the London School of Economics. Not taking the obvious or even logical route, I diverted to advertising first in New York and then onto Los Angeles in the early days of Account Planning at Chiat/Day. After a fortuitous encounter with Vicky and Arnie as their first US client, we joined forces and the rest is history.


A few professional highlights…


Receiving an Account Planning baptism by fire from Jane Newman, Clive Witcher and Jay Chiat himself.


Working in partnership with Vicky (and Nike) to understand women in sports. One of my earliest 'best briefs ever:' go to Asia and find out how to connect with women there, (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia).


Contributing to the character development and 2012 Superbowl launch advertising of Ms. Brown, the new brown M&M.


Helping to build the Infiniti brand after its 'case study' ignominious launch: working on the introduction of its stand-out G35 series and FX.


Working with the State of California on the original (Prop 99) Anti-Smoking initiative. Talking to those most at risk, especially kids and teens across the cultural spectrum.


Participating in numerous global studies for clients including: adidas, Levi's, Reebok, Herbalife and Coca Cola.


Adding a consumer voice to the development of NIKETOWN stores.


Rivaling 'best briefs ever': working with Princess Cruises on a series of on-board research initiatives among passengers.


Maintaining on-going and mutually rewarding relationships with numerous clients including many of those mentioned above, and many others included on our client list.


© QRC, 2014   |  The Qualitative Research Centre Inc.  |  1526 Spruce St.  |  2nd Floor  |  Boulder CO 80302  |  Tel 303.473.0848  /