What's behind a great product?

This is a topic that I find myself dwelling upon quite frequently as of late.

I was riding the subway the other day and was stricken by an advertisement for a pair of shoes where the model stared directly at me while another model stared at the model. Beyond the graphics and the product itself, I found that the engaging aspect of the advertisement grabbed my attention more than anything. I guess I’m so used to seeing advertisements for clothing where the model is someone who is aesthetically so out of reach or where their gaze is not fixed on the viewer. While clothing sites seem to sometimes break this mold, I found it rare to me to see an advertisement on the subway that does this.

While thinking about these things, I thought about how intertwined product design is with the world of advertising. Designers and programmers spend so much time perfecting a product that may be indistinguishable from a product that is massively successful only to be judged by consumers for a split second before they are bought or passed over. Advertising bridges this gap by attempting to package what is the best about a product and showing it in the most positive light to the viewer.

What was it that grabbed my attention enough so that I would download an app, buy a digital product or reach out to order something on Amazon? All the products that I bought were unique in that they offered some sort of experience to me. I felt that I would be part of something if I bought a certain product or they engaged me on a personal level that was quirky yet actually reached out to me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that they spoke to me on a direct level.

I then thought that if advertisers and product designers could work together to create a unique experience regardless of the length of it- we might a lot more engaging products out there besides a whole lot of what we regard as just “advertising”.

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