Ex Cambridge Analytica exec co-launches audience behaviour change firm

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

Capuchin, a new practice dedicated to measurably changing the behaviour of audiences, has launched in London. 

The company is led by two ad agency executives and the former lead psychologist at Cambridge Analytica.

The founding trio of Capuchin offer a unique combination of data and behavioural science expertise, as well as a new blend of background skills: Patrick Fagan as Chief Science Officer - bridging data and behavioural science; James Cragg as Chief Commercial Officer; and Dan Thwaites as Chief Strategy Officer. 

Dan Thwaites is a former senior strategist at agencies including Karmarama, Crayon, Iris and Tug. 

Patrick Fagan is a psychologist and behavioural scientist who has worked at Cambridge Analytica; he is a consultant and part-time lecturer in behavioural science at London universities including Goldsmiths. 

Having previously worked with brands including eBay, Trainline and Vodafone, Fagan is focused on taking academic research and experimentation and practically applying it for both business and politics.

James Cragg has worked as an agency and client-side marketer, formerly Managing Director of Tug, a digital performance marketing agency, and prior to this he worked at Ogilvy and Jaguar Land Rover.   

Thought science

The practice applies the science of how people think to give clients a view inside the minds of their audience, develop what they offer and optimise their interactions to measurably change behaviour.

The founders describe their pioneering blend as “scientific thinking for irrational minds”. Capuchin will offer data and behavioural science to uncover deep underlying motivations; strategy to connect organisations with their human audiences; and commercial application to ensure incremental, measurable, scalable returns.

Capuchin aims to work with any organisation that wants to change audience behaviour, especially those looking to challenge a market or be challenged by their market. 

This covers brands in all sectors, agencies, political organisations and NGOs, the company said. 

“Humans are a wonderful combination of rational, irrational, logical and emotional, but natural human-to-human intuition doesn’t automatically scale with marketing technology”, Fagan said. 

“We design empathy architecture, guiding organisations and their audiences in realising each other’s value for hard commercial results.”

Thwaites added: “Organisations are faced with managing communications to more people, more frequently, through more channels, and the risk of misunderstanding grows. 

“However smart the message delivery technology, it’s still a human who decides whether, or not, to buy. Capuchin provides a way to apply the science of the human mind in a way that’s as rigorous as a technology stack.”

Monkey origins

Capuchin is named after the monkey species which has been subject to behavioural experiments that illustrate hardwired biases present in primates and humans alike, and show the power of the “monkey brain” in audience decision-making.

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