Advertising as experience design

The announcement about Andy Spade’s talk at Stanford, though I couldn’t make it, reminded me of an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while:

Is advertising actually an advanced form of experience design?

After all, while the viewer doesn’t actually engage in the advertised experience, a good ad can realistically depict it. In 30 seconds, or a single image, or a short text snippet, it aims to:

  • Target and attract the desired user
  • Communicate the key information about the product
  • Show the value of a product or service in solving a problem or providing a positive experience (think: beer commercials)
  • Provide actionable followup (for direct response advertising)
  • Leave behind a pleasant memory (for brand advertising)

This seems especially similar to early-stage design work, where you’re mostly trying to compare the value of various design approaches. What if we started with the commercial for our product and worked backward?

A few relevant links:

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