In my daily RSS scans, I came across a great link yesterday from Matt at Signal vs. Noise, Combining a camera review with a travelogue, which links to Craig Mod’s GF1 Field Test. The essential idea is that opposed to a traditional, clinical product review, or even a sterile, contrived “field test,” Craig took the camera on an almost ‘boot-camp’ style field test, and in the process described how the features and functionality served him, illustrating his point with real examples (which are beautiful, attesting to his skill and that of the product).
Imagine if, instead of a product review, this were an advertisement or marketing endeavor initiated by the manufacturer–I don’t believe it is, in this instance, but I’m thinking ‘fabulous’. You would get to see how the camera performed, not just what the specs are, and which the sterile, clinical features are (though of course there is an important need at some point to detail the tech specs). Imagine, further, if you will, that during the ‘product experience ad’ (I seem to be coining phrases all around me, watch out!), you had some ability to interact with the product in this context, to explore its functionality around specific problems or issues presented in the environment. Like Craig’s pictures, it lets the product shine through the results it produces, rather than stating technical facts about the camera.
That would be an ad that people would want to participate in, and isn’t 2010 marketing supposed to be about ‘the conversation’?
I need to add this kind of rugged, in situ ‘field test’ to my concept of product simulation marketing. Notice that the product simulation marketing doesn’t have to be interactive–an ad in this form would almost be like a thought experiment, in which we the viewers are told “put yourself in Craig’s place”. It is an experience that demonstrates how the product has engaged Craig.
Boy, would I love to work on that campaign — anyone out there remotely connected to someone who wants to do this, please let me know!