Message as a meaningful experience

7.16.09 :: As a creative, I never miss a chance to use an ad to make fun of a socially undesirable character. In fact, if we worked on more male oriented products, I’d probably have one of the below ideas a day.


I recently came across the article,“Let’s Redesign Advertising” from a Senior User Experience Designer at Modernista!. His argument was simple: advertising has to provide more than a message to people, it has to provide meaning to their lives. He cites brands like Whole Foods, who do very little traditional advertising and instead design their entire product around a healthy, organic user experience from the products you buy, to the bags you shop with, to the sustainable recipes submitted by customers at the front of the store. This gives the customer added meaning to their lives, allowing them to think they are helping while interacting with a brand. On the other hand, people like Gatorade simply splash your face with one of 500 athletes who endorse the product (a message).

So, is the above ‘collar straighteners ad’ just another message? Another way for us to co-opt a part of culture to tell consumers who we are? Does it in any way enhance the experience of the of our lives?

Well, I would argue in the world of beer, it does. It creates identity, just like community and religion create solidarity. That brings meaning and value to our lives and helps us experience our life more than just the halo of a celebrity or another sponsor organization. Now, does it do it in the way Whole Food does? No, not close. But by tapping into culture, a message can mean something instead of just saying something. And, hey, at least it’s a start.

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