Passionate About Boston
and the Moms Who Live Here

Nielsen Lab :: That Time I Got Paid to Watch a Commercial

Thank you, Nielsen Neuro Labs, for sponsoring this post and for the great opportunity for moms!

I recently did a consumer neuroscience study at Nielsen Lab in Boston. It was easy, quick, fun, and interesting — and it gave me a break from my tiny humans. I got paid $100 for watching a commercial. At Nielsen, the process was so simple. Here is how it all went down.

I filled out a simple form with some straightforward questions on the Nielsen website. It took me about 15 minutes to fill out and submit the form. I was contacted the next day by phone to schedule when I could come in to do the consumer market research study. We found a date and time that worked, and the woman on the phone gave me some basic “what to expect” information and answered any questions I had.  

On the day of the study I happily dumped the kids off with my in-laws and jumped on the MBTA. I took the green line to North Station and followed the very precise and accurate walking directions provided on the Nielsen website to walk the two blocks to the lab.

I arrived about 10 minutes prior to my appointment, and the front desk was ready for me. I filled out one sheet of paperwork and was given a simple eye test. The facility was very clean, and everyone was friendly and helpful. A researcher came for me and took me to a room where she placed an EEG cap on my head then used a small amount of leave-in conditioner and connected sensors to the cap.

We then went to the room where I would actually be doing the research study session. The study itself was so easy. I had a keypad in my hand, and I was walked through a few easy exercises to make sure all the sensors were in place. I watched a commercial a few times and did a few more easy tests. Anyone who can read could do this type of study — it was that simple. The study took about 20 minutes total.

The researcher then removed my EEG cap, and I was brought to a station to clean up. They had supplied a mirror, towels, and a disposable comb to remove any leftover conditioner. I was asked to do a short survey on a laptop as well. Then back to the front desk, where I was given a $100 Visa gift card and was done. I was in the building a total of 45 minutes. I then ate a delightful lunch alone with no kids before picking them up and heading home.

You can do a study with Nielsen every three to six months. I will definitely be doing it again — $100 for 45 minutes of my time, to watch a commercial. It was fun and interesting. It gave this stay-at-home mom some much needed alone time — and a $100 gift card, which I am using to get a guilt-free massage.


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