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.


Leah is a Massachusetts native who grew up in the MetroWest area. She met her husband in 2006 and they bonded over all things Boston. After moving to North Carolina for 4 years, they realized they had to move back to New England. (love that dirty water!) In 2011 they welcomed a son into their family. Then 2014, 1 week before having their daughter, their son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The last but not least little guy came in 2017. With three kids and special needs in their life, they rely on an amazing support system of friends and family. Leah is a stay at home mom, who is also growing a small business, and enjoying the independence and freedom it has given her. Loves: Great food (mostly made by her talented husband), playing with the kids, the beach, date nights, The Pats, The Sox, The B’s, new socks and bras, and American history, and movies. Can’t stand: Cotton balls, weeds, broken crayons, pollen, and vacuuming up Cheerios every half hour.