Modern Molinism

Quick Read: Want a sure shot ticket down a rabbit hole? Your bet: Choice Design. So much for free will. 

Morioka Shoten Ginza is a book store in Tokyo where you wouldn’t have a problem with deciding which book to buy.

Why?

Because in any given week it sells copies of a single title. Each title is displayed for six days in a row—Tuesday to Sunday—and then swapped out for a new book.

Yoshiyuki Morioka – the founder of this “single room with a single book” concept believes that focusing on a single book would help foster a deeper relationship between a book and its reader and drive up the pleasure of reading to a whole new level.

Additionally, every evening an event is organised to discuss the book and connect its author with readers, while pieces of art that relate to the book are displayed around the store for the readers to soak in and enjoy.

Morioka-Shoten-bookstore

(Morioka Shoten bookstore: Pic Source)

Unsurprisingly this approach of ‘choice design’ combats decision fatigue and stifles crippling indecision that customers tend to face in a conventional book store set up – online or offline.

Result: An invisible hand that influences its customers’ free will, subtly leading them from a cursory browsing mindset to that of a deeper meaningful engagement leading to purchase.

One customer at a time. And one book title at a time

According to Morioka, the store has sold more than 2,000 works since it opened last year and attracted numerous visitors from all over the world. (source)

Meanwhile at the other end of choice spectrum 

A unique adventure beckons you with the promise of debilitating you with mind boggling levels of choice at every turn of the journey.

Sample this.

You’re sitting alone in your apartment minding your own business when, out of nowhere, someone bursts through your front door. So what do you do? 

ClickHole

(Source: Clickventures)

So begins your adventure that starts off on a simple note.

But even before you realise, you will soon find yourself deep down a rabbit hole staring into frustrating levels of complexity and a ridiculous set of choices being thrown at you at each turn.

And surprisingly you find it addictive!

Clickventures, as they’re called, are exercises in absurdist escalation.

Despite the apparent air of triviality around them, each clickventure is an evil design experiment that lies at the intersection of comedy, interactive fiction, game design and behavioural research.

No wonder, brands are not far behind in tapping into this space.

For e.g, Old Spice has created a wild and wacky choose-your-own-adventure social experience on Instagram with Wieden + Kennedy.

The more you click, the further you go and the more wackiness you can experience. Exactly like in the Clickventures. Try out few of them here and see who wins.

Your “free” will? 

A basic tenet of Molinism is that in addition to knowing everything that will happen, God also knows what His creatures would freely choose if placed in any circumstance.

It’s essentially a doctrine which attempts to reconcile the providence of God with human free will.

Molinism is perhaps still going strong in the 21st century. It’s just that these molinists go by a slightly different name today.

And they subscribe to a doctrine that attempts to reconcile the providence of an invisible hand (also known as the ‘choice designer’) with human free will.

Now, did I just call marketers, the modern day molinists?

(Featured Image: Quote from the cult movie The Matrix)

Convergent Evolution

Quick Read: ‘Convergent Evolution’ while being a concept from the life sciences could actually be seen playing out with a greater degree of recurrence in creativity and arts.

What you see here on the left is the picture of a butterfly. But what what you see on the right, is not.

Convergent Evolution

(Pic source: The Economist)

In fact it is that of a fossil of a lacewing (an insect) called Oregramma illecebrosa. Supposedly it flew in the forests of the Jurassic period between 165m and 125m years ago, dying out 69m years before the first-known butterfly fossil. (source)

These are examples of Convergent Evolution: the emergence of similar bodies in unrelated groups of species, to permit the pursuit of similar ways of life.

Another example of Convergent Evolution is the Jurassic Ichthyosaurs and the modern Dolphin.

CONVERGENT EVOLUTION (1)

(Pic Source: The Dinosaur Store)

But that’s not the interesting part.

Convergent Evolution while being a concept from the life sciences could actually be seen playing out with a greater degree of recurrence in creativity and arts; where it can loosely be defined as follows:

Convergent Evolution in the arts is the emergence of similar kinds of ideas and creative executions from unrelated sources or disciplines, to permit the pursuit of similar expressions.  

Let us take two projects Futuristic Archaeology and Inherit the Dust and a set of OOH executions by Amnesty International as examples.

Futuristic Arhaeology 

Mongolia has long been home to one of the world’s largest nomadic populations, with more than a third of its population pursuing their livelihood on the vast Mongolian-Manchurian steppe. But in recent years, the grassland has been drying up.

Korean photographer Daesung Lee’s series Futuristic Archaeology explores what the desertification of their home means for Mongolian nomads through a series of fantastically staged images.

They feature landscapes-within-landscapes — barren, desert environments inlaid with decidedly greener ones.

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futuristic-archaeology-10-1024x683

(Images from Futuristic Archaeology. Full collection here)

These incredible scenes aren’t digitally orchestrated: Lee actually printed out billboard-sized photographs and strung them up on site, using former nomads as models. Inside the smaller images, people ride horses, herd goats, and go about their lives fenced in by red rope barriers. (source)

Inherit the Dust

Nick Brandt is as much an activist as he is a photographer. After spending 15 years working in Africa he was depressed by the changes he saw sweeping across the African landscape, like illegal logging predicted to eliminate some 30 million acres by 2030.

Thus was born his latest project Inherit the Dust a collection of  moody portraits of elephants, giraffes, and lions to call attention to Africa’s vanishing megafauna. Each picture in this project has been meticulously staged and exquisitely shot in black and white to bring to life these beautiful creatures wandering the landscapes they’ve long since been driven out of.

Brandt_04-1024x474Brandt_05-1024x474Brandt_008-1024x489

(Images from Inherit The Dust, Nick Brandt. Source)

While with Inherit The Dust, the quiet dignity of the animals that Nick Brandt photographs is shockingly juxtaposed against the indignity and disarray of our own…

…. Amnesty International flips this concept a bit

…by juxtaposing the shocking indignity of human rights violations against the backdrop of a quite dignified civic life that most of us easily take for granted.

Amnesty International_1

Amnesty International_2

(Advertising Agency: Walker, Zürich, Switzerland. More executions here, here and here)

As one reviewer of Nick Brandt’s Inherit the Dust puts it..

“These haunting photographs force us to think about what we are doing, and who is at stake.”

Now even at a nuanced level, if you come to think about it, isn’t this statement equally applicable for all the other projects featured here?

Perhaps that’s what makes them apt examples of convergent evolution.

(Featured Image: Wasteland with Elephant, by Nick Brandt from Inherit the Dust)

On Points Of View

Quick Read: Some businesses thrive by driving a singular POV regarding their offering amongst their target audience. And there are some that take pride in celebrating multiple POVs regarding theirs. 

Some elite restaurants in Japan are ichigen-san okotowari (first-time customers not allowed), meaning a regular customer has to introduce you before you can make a reservation.

The genius of this system is that it ensures that you buy yourself into a singular and a specific POV about its food, experience and its clientele if you want to be able to get a reservation at the restaurant.

Almost by definition.

And the story continues. One customer at a time.

It works because the ichigen-san okotowari system ensures that a single consistent POV gets bought into, replicated and passed on.

Meanwhile elsewhere..

A recent print campaign by Shutterstock made it to the shortlist of Clio Awards 2015 under the Print category.

As a purveyor of stock photos, Shutterstock.com wanted to celebrate the fact that an image can potentially fire up your imagiation in multiple ways.

So it brought this idea to life through the following executions.

ShutterStock_Shark

ShutterStock_Broken

ShutterStock_Baby

[Click on the images for a larger view]

Agency: Leo Burnett. Images via: Clio Awards. (HT Bhatnaturally)

A truly insighful execution that celebrates the multiple POVs that an image can inspire. As Mr. Bhat says..

The irony is that this is too close to reality. We’ve all seen how art directors search for inspiring images first and then try and retrofit an idea. Also, a visual idea which was rejected or didn’t make the cut for a pitch in one category can be adapted to a totally unrelated category. This campaign actually puts a positive spin on that.

Does your brand – and by extension its strategy and execution –  thrive on driving and sustaining a singular POV or does it celebrate multiple POVs? 

[Bonus Link: Speaking of POVs, you should check out Hardcore – the world’s first action POV film that got premiered in the latest Toronto International Film Festival to critical acclaim.  The entire movie is shot from a single POV and boy is it intense!]

(Featured Image: Shutterstock Print Execution. Source)

Duality And Everything In Between

Quick Read: We seem to have a thing for things that are dual in nature. Be it a town, a person or perhaps even a brand.

Baarle –  a town at the border of the Netherlands and Belgium, is perhaps the world’s strangest international border.

Why?

Because the town is an enclave that consists of pockets of the Netherlands nested inside Belgium, nestled inside the Netherlands.

The result?

The international border cuts through Baarle indiscriminately, crossing streets, dividing roads and slicing through buildings forming Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog – two municipalities that are in Netherlands and Belgium respectively.

Naturally many peculiarities arise.

For e.g., many homes are cut in half by the border, so as a matter of convention each household’s nationality is determined by the location of its front door. Which also decides where taxes are paid. So some houses apparently swap the location of their front doors between countries to benefit from the most favourable taxes!

Baarle House

(Pic: Source )

And if the border runs through the front door, the two parts then belong in different countries, and this is indicated by two street numbers on the building.

So duality has become the central character of Baarle where everything is two fold: two churches, two town halls, two post offices, two fire stations and even two police forces and so on.

And it is this charm of duality that makes Baarle quite popular with tourists around the year.

baarle-nassau-hertog

(Pic Source. HT Credit)

Caitlyn Jenner

Recently an unknown 65-year-old woman has become an internet senstion overnight. She was revleaed to the world through the cover page of Vanity Fair and a Twitter account that amassed 1 million followers in four hours – faster than the account launched by the US president, Barack Obama! Four days later she was up to 2.37 million followers, with another 1.5 million followers on Instagram! (source)

Why?

Perhaps it is the enigma of a duality the Vanity Fair’s cover story revealed.

Caitlyn Jenner

(Pic sources: Bruce Jenner | Caitlyn Jenner)

During the 70s, the Olympic hero William Bruce Jenner had the unofficial title of “world’s greatest athlete” and nearly 40 years later, in 2015, Bruce became the world’s most high-profile transgender woman named Caitlyn Jenner.

She has now become a hugely powerful cultural figure almost overnight and could soon become an important voice in the transgender rights movement. Apparently even Obama tweeted in response saying “It takes courage to share your story”.

Duality, it seems, has a certain enigma to it! Ask Buzz Bissinger – the Pulitzer winning journalist who crafted Caitlyn’s reveal for Vanity Fair over a period of 3+ months leading to this watershed of a cover story.

Duality & Brands

The human brain is said to possess this intrinsic nature of actively labeling everything it encounters into neatly defined buckets. That’s probably why anything that has a strong duality ends up becoming such a tease to our minds and perceptions.

No wonder then, there are brands that thrive on duality. (The classic Coffy Bite and more recent Cadbury Oreo are some well known Indian exmples)

In fact, this allure of duality seems so high for Twix – a Mars’ chocolate bar brand –  that the brand thrives on teasing out a duality that never actually exists.

twix Dual2

(Source: Twix.com)

See a reel of its “Left Twix vs Right Twix – Pick a side” ads here.

Can you think of any other brands that leverage ‘duality’?

(Featured Image: Twix)

The Other Side Up

Quick Read: Invert the traditional workflows, dispel orthodox notions and see lateral thinking come to life for newer ways of going about things.  

Every once in a while there come initiatives and executions that turn the tables on traditional concepts that we have always taken for granted. Such instances compel us to re-evaluate our existing notions of what we consider to be the norm and thereby make great fodder for some lateral thinking.

Three such recent examples.

1. Photography

Trevor Christensen is a photographer who shot to international acclaim with his recent series called Nude Portraits.

What is interesting about this project? In this series the photographer is naked, the subjects are not.

According to himThe photographer/subject paradigm is one of inequality. Nude Portraits is about leveling the playing field in an unorthodox way. Instead of focusing on bringing the subject to a place of ease–where I am, this project brings me to a place of vulnerability.

Nude Portraits

(Source: Nude Portraits by Trevor Christensen)

The results are an interesting commentary on the photographer/subject paradigm and hold a thought provoking mirror to the subject and photographer’s feelings around vulnerability, shame, guilt and self composure.

Talking of portraits, meanwhile elsewhere…

Samsung had an interesting set of executions that reframed selfies as Self Portraits.

2. Painting 

Rainworks is a project  by Peregrine Church.

What is interesting about the project? It is art that appears when it rains! Check this video out:

This cool project challenges our notions around negative space and opens up newer possibilities of creative expression.

Talking of negative space, meanwhile elsewhere…

Volvo introduces Life Paint to promote safety for those both inside and outside its cars.

According to this must read post, Life Paint is a unique reflective safety spray aimed at increasing the visibility and safety of cyclists, and other vulnerable road users.

What makes it special? It is invisible by daylight, but glows brightly in the glare of car headlights, making the invisible, visible at night.

Life Paint

(Source: Life Paint by Grey London for Volvo)

The Life Paint concept was developed by creative agency Grey London, in collaboration with Swedish startup Albedo100 and is one of a series of projects to highlight the key product innovations of the all-new Volvo XC90.

3. Reviews

Online reviews have become both a boon and a bane for many a marketer. As this HBR post says,

The idea that a new (reviews) website or app can undercut years of careful messaging may be deeply frustrating to marketers—but it is a reality they must face.

But what if we turn the tables around on the traditional concept of reviews. Australia based Art Series Hotel Group has recently initaited what it calls Reverse Reviews‘. 

What is interesting about the concept? While you review their hotels, you would also be reviewed by the hotel. Get five stars and get a free night to stay again (applicable between April 17 until May 31 2015).

Reverse Reviews AU

(Source: Art Series Hotels )

Talking of reviews, meanwhile elsewhere…

Today’s new world of ‘on-demand everything’ is being touted as The Shut In Economy.

Read this brilliant piece on why this is so and you would probably agree that institutionalising a ‘Reverse Review’ system could just be what the doctor would have ordered to make our world a better place.

Result: People behind the doors (who use the apps, platforms and services to place their orders online) and the people outside the doors (those that deliver) could live in a world that is more inclusive and respectful of each other.

Isn’t it?

(Featured Image: ‘This Side Up’ table design by DEDE DextrousDesign)

Annotations About Annotations

Quick Read:Who would have thought what had begun as a traditional 17th century readers’ habit of jotting down some thoughts and gossip on the margins of a sheet of paper could turn out to become a concept for world domination?

Annotations are in vogue today!

In the 17th and 18th centuries, it was traditional for newspapers to include space for readers to jot down thoughts, gossip, and observations before passing along their copy to others. Some papers kept their margins wide for such notes; others, like the very first American newspaper, Publick Occurrences, included an entire blank page.

Annotations are an extension of that tradition.

Annotations in the past

(Annotations in Boston Gazette and Country Journal (1770): Source)

…Saying this, Quartz – a popular blog, annouced the opening up of its margins to users’ comments – also known as annotations.

Medium – the acclaimed blog publishing platform – introduced this concept of ‘notes’ that let readers comment (annotate) on specific paragraphs of the story instead of at the bottom of the piece.

Today Soundcloud allows users to annotate audio; Gawker Media allows users to annotate images and New York Times experimented with annotations around news as a more participative means of user engagement.

Annotations – as a creative narrative device

Even novels have begun to adopt annotations as a narrative device. S. – a novel previously featured on BrandedNoise –  has at least four different interconnected narratives unfolding at the same time. One such narrative is the dialogue between a guy and a girl who read and discuss a book through their notes passed on to each other written as annotations.

ship-of-theseus-3

(This is how an actual page of S. looks like. Image source)

If there is one book that you should buy – even for the sheer experience of just leafing through its pages and marveling at its creativity and design. This is it!

‘Annotations’ as a billion dollar idea?

Genius.com – a Andreessen Horowitz backed startup – is believed to be testing a new feature: the ability to annotate any page on the web, adding a new stratum of knowledge to the largest store of information in human history.

Currently in beta, the new functionality lets users add genius.com/ to the beginning of any URL to access a version of the page on Genius. The page is fully annotatable, so users can highlight and annotate any text on the page and view others’ annotations. (source)

Genius Annotate

(Annotations from Genius.com: Image Source)

Enough and more is already being written about Genius.com and its stated goal of “annotate the world”, with some even predicting that Annotate would soon transcend into the class of those fundamental verbs of contemporary culture, such as Google and Like!

Bonus read: Recently a mysterious billboard had appeared on the streets of Manhattan. (see the featured image above) Whereas most billboards are logo delivery vehicles, this one is unclaimed. The billboard is the work of Emily Segal for Genius.com. A great post on this avante-garde marketing campaign here

Food Is Food Is Food. Or Is It?

Quick Read: Good design can drive a price premium –  and this adage could hold good even in a category like perishables. 

Have you heard of flour by Prada, infant formula by Chanel, coffee by Cartier,  fruits by Nike and pasta by Ferrari?

coffee1

(Source: Peddy Mergui: Wheat is Wheat is Wheat)

Well they do ineed exist. Albeit as exhibits by Peddy Mergui under his series titled Wheat is Wheat is Wheat. These funny and provocative exhibits challenge our notions of branding and perception by casting them against a category like perishables/food.

Eggs by Versace anyone?

Let’s drop brand names for a moment and see how else can a product possibly command a price premium. We know tons of examples across different categories where design has helped a product command a premium.

Now, could design play a prominent role in commanding a premium within a category such as perishables? These two examples prove this point.

1. Whole Foods: 

When it comes to applying design for selling something as commoditised as veggies, there’s only one name. Whole Foods.

Avinash Kaushik recently posted this picture and the following lines regarding what he found at a Whole Foods store.

Avinash Kaushik Whole Foods

(Source: Avinask Kaushik)

“Do we shop at Whole Foods simply because the produce is so exquisitely displayed? And we pay a premium?

I think there is something to that. Look at it! Everything so perfectly symmetrical and lovely. There was a sprinkling of mist on all the veggies, drawing out the color and freshness.

For an engineer, me, all this organization definitely had an impact. It looks good, it shows people care deeply about the food, they went into extra trouble, it must be all good (and it was!).

What a great way to get someone to pay a premium.”

His lines encapsulate everything in this context.

2. Nuna Ice – Cream:

Billed by PSFK as a molecular-gastronomy popsicle that is set to take next summer by storm, Nuna is a design innovation in ice-cream born at the intersection of disciplines such as architecture, design and science.

Nuna(Source: Nuna)

According to it’s spokesperson, the Nuna Popsicle is design innovation in a crystal/pyramid shape, and stands for the ultimate refreshment that reflects the sensation of ice crystals bursting on the tongue while causing a unique and intense tingling in the mouth.

While it is expected to have a soft launch in art openings, fashion shows and music festivals during 2015, Nuna – which got its name trademarked recently – is expected to contract with a major manufacturer soon. (source)

Now that’s form following taste!

(Featured Image: Tiffany & Co Yogurt byPeddy Mergui)

The Simmel’s Barrier

Quick Read: A Milan store with debranded perfumes helps consumers find the perfect scent without being distracted by the label. But is branding a barrier in consumer experience?

Wine tasting is arguably a junk science.

WineTasting

There have been several studies conducted over the years to debunk the accuracy of wine tasters in assessing the attributes of wines. A common theme of most of these experiments is an assessment of our capability in being able to accurately identify and analyse multiple sensory stimuli at the same time.

One such landmark study in debunking the expertise of wine tasters is called ‘The Color Of Odors‘. It investigated the interaction between our vision of colors and odor determination and found out that by a simple act of artificially coloring a white wine with a an odorless dye,  you can fool not 1, not 2 but an entire panel of 54 wine tasters into getting it classified as a red wine!

The insight? By just throwing in some basic visual stimuli you can effectively screw up your olfactory assessment skills.

Now add in the other 3 senses and it is not hard to begin pitying ourselves for the sensory overload that we subject ourselves to on a daily basis.

Sensory Overload

The wikipedia page on Sensory Overload speaks about Georg Simmel – a renowned sociologist who writes about an urban scenario of constantly appearing stimuli that trigger our brains’ senses. Interestingly he calls for a barrier that must be erected to protect the individual from this constant stimulation in order to keep one sane.

The new Desirée Parfums store in Milan has identified a particular marketing element as its ‘Simmel’s Barrier’ to protect its customers from sensory overload. What does it do?

It organises its fragrances by aromatic quality, rather than brand. According to this source, when walking into this store, customers aren’t subconsciously guided towards the most expensive perfumes like they might be in another store. Instead, the outlet has decanted all of the fragrances it sells into nondescript tester bottles, which are organized by their olfactory quality.

Assistants guide customers through the options available, helping them to find their perfect scent while also teaching them about the different qualities that make up a perfume. Only when they get to the counter so they get to find out which fragrance they’re buying.

desireeparfum store

(Image source)

With perfume stores using branding as their ‘Simmel’s Barrier’, wine stores might not be far off from adopting the same.

Have you heard of any other examples?

(Featured Image: Jacquelinewilkinson)

Inspiration From Across The Category Fence

Quick Read: Sometimes, the best idea for a brand campaign might be just around the corner, albeit with another category. Even when the core of the campaign idea is ‘Originality’. And perhaps rightfully so.

Inspiration from across the category fences is no new news. But that’s no excuse why we should take such instances for granted. Some recent examples of brands taking inspiration from other categories and appropriating them in a way that is relevant to their campaign idea/ brand personality. Virtual High Five (Coke – KLM) In May 2013, Coke had this huge hit campaign that ‘connected’ people from different countries (India – Pakistan) through what it called as ‘Small World Machines’.

Cut to this year (Sep 2014),  KLM gave a reason for Amsterdam and New Yorkers to ‘get connected’ through this Virtual High Five campaign.

As this article says, KLM’s deployment of this idea is clever because it underlines the message that while technology has the power to interactively connect people like never before, it’s airlines that have the ability to physically connect people faster, easier and more effectively than we have ever experienced in the past. KLM-Live-High-Five-1-640x340

(Source: Creative Guerrilla Marketing)

Unique, Original & Extraordinary (Absolut – Coke) In Sep 2012, I wrote about Absolut’s brilliant execution of their limited edition design series called Absolut Unique. A story of carefully orchestrated randomness powered by 35 different colors, 51 different pattern types all governed by algorithms meticulously devised to induce a method to this madness of design. absolut-unique-vodka-bottles-02

(Source:Absolut)

Result: A first of its kind design spectacle at a massive scale resulting in over 4 million bottles where no two bottles are alike. See the video here.

And then in 2013, Absolut followed this up with Absolut Originality. Video here.

Cut to this year (Oct 2014), a new campaign for Diet Coke in Israel revolves around the concept “Stay Extraordinary,”  as part of which it produced over 2 million different bottles using a printing system that printed every bottle with a different look. Video here.

Any other examples of well executed campaign ideas inspired from different categories?

(Featured Image: Absolut Originality)

Exploring the Boundaries Of The Traditional Concept

Quick Read: The idea of Traditional Concept and its reliance on metrics like Purchase Intent for validating product ideas is being challenged. More so in the realm of Retro Innovations.  

The Traditional Concept and its classic three part construct – Insight | Benefit | Reason To Believe – to represent a product idea for consumer research has been coming under scrutiny. In fact, there are even obituaries being written about it citing reasons like:

  • It is too rigid, rational and over – engineered as a construct to represent a product idea
  • Puts far more emphasis on our deliberative ‘System 2’ thinking
  • Fails to take into account how consumers tend to make decisions (unconsciously, quickly, swayed far more by emotional impact and immediate impressions)
  • Relies heavily on metrics like purchase intent for validation

Academic arguments apart, one thing that a Traditional Concept cannot possibly help with is screening product ideas that fall into the realm of Retro Innovations – new products that are designed around connecting us with the past and invoking our nostalgia.

Two recent product examples where a traditional concept could have had a tough time cracking the consumer code:

The ‘Miller Light’ Retro Design And Its Placebo Effect

Miller Lite is known as the first mainstream light beer in the US. But over the years, the U.S. sales of the beer had been declining, trailing Bud Light, Coors Light, and Budweiser. Revenue dropped 7 percent in just 2013 (source). So in January 2014, as part of a product placement tie in with the film Anchorman 2, Miller released a limited edition version  of its original 1975 white can.

bottle(The Retro Designed Miller Lite Can)

Surprisingly for Miller Lite, this retro designed packaging proved to be a success (it sold 32 million cans more than that during YTD 2013) that by September 2014 it decided to switch back to this packaging full-time, including on bottles and tap handles.

And reportedly, taken by surprise, when Miller marketers conducted some post launch evaluation, they learnt that the Millennials had liked it because it seemed iconic and old while their parents had liked it because it reminded them of what they used to drink. Strangely, customers even started telling the company its “new” beer tasted better even though they were still drinking the same old beer(!)

Obviously, a Traditional Concept and conventional testing for metrics like Purchase Intent, could not have driven the brand along this unexpected ‘retro’ direction.

Leica M Edition 60 – The Digital Camera Without An LCD Screen

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the legendary Leica rangefinder system, the company recently announced the Leica M Edition 60. The unique thing about this camera is that it does something bold – it ditches the back LCD screen and all onboard menus. One cannot even review their photos. It leaves photographers with physical controls of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. And it forces them to look through just one thing – the viewfinder.

Is this a good idea? Will consumers like it? Does it even make design sense? The debate is on.

But one thing is certain:  this reductionism as a celebration of photographic art – as Leica calls it – could not have been conceived of through the lens of the Traditional Concept and testing for Purchase Intent.

Is the Leica M Edition 60 too high end to be a realistic example here?

Well, then let’s get a bit ‘low end’ – Music CDs and online music.

Let’s think of product ideas in terms of Traditional Concepts and test for their Purchase Intent to sell online music to the Japanese vs the good old CDs. 

And good luck to us doing that!

JAPAN-MUSIC-01-master675(AKB48, a popular Japanese group, has sold CDs containing tickets to its performances, encouraging fans to buy multiple copies. Source)

(Featured Image: The New Leica M Edition 60)