Monthly Archives: December 2009

Advertising and Networking in Design


Assignment 4

Comparing two sources –a book and a journal- to support the idea that there is a connection between advertising, social networking and design, and how to use these to your advantage as a (interior) designer.

‘The Tipping Point’ talks about the stickiness of certain epidemics and products; this idea can be applied to design and its image. It’s hard to become successful if a company – such as an interior design practice – isn’t known to a certain extend, or if a product has not set off a word of mouth epidemic; this un-stickiness becomes a problem. By touching on advertising and social networking we as designers can overcome this problem and learn to be a sticky designer.

Evidence from ‘Emotional Design’ demonstrates the psychology and science behind the emotional reasons why certain designs actually work. Especially pin pointing the idea that ‘attractive things work better’ (Norman 2004 p.17); backing up his theory with evidence and research and focusing on three main aspects of design – visceral, behavioural and reflective design.

The use of this research into emotional design for advertisement is also commented on in the book. Advertisement is a clear example of design playing on emotions; initial aesthetics contribute greatly in it, as your first reaction, but it’s the reflective design that sells the product. “Go outside. Get some air. Watch a sunset. Boy, does that get old fast.’ XBOX advertisement (p.40), this tag line for Microsoft’s gaming campaign targets emotional reflection of those who are drawn to games ‘with high visceral arousal’ (Norman 2004 p.40) instead of those who prefer such activities as a watching sunset. What’s suggested here is that it’s not necessary to sell a product that pleases everyone in order for it to be successful. Many products take this idea in their stride, ‘Some magazines even flaunt their specialness, pointing out that they aren’t for everyone, just for the people who match a particular set of interests.’ (Norman 2004 p.41) This statement backs up his opinion however Norman doesn’t give solid evidence supporting whether or not this was Microsoft’s initial intentions of their ad campaign, this would have perhaps supported his own opinion giving it a stronger affect.

However what is established is that a key point in advertising is to find your niche instead of trying to win everyone over. Certain stickiness doesn’t work for everyone.

Further into ‘Emotional Design’ it explains the significance of people’s personal views to how successful a product can be; by trying ‘to promote products through association.’ (p.54) Norman explains how the advertising industry takes this into account working with our opinions, specifically the ones of our self image, (p.53). Products and their advertisements can be developed to provoke a positive self-image by creating an idea that people want to relate to, that they ‘fantasize about’ (p.54). Seeing a positive display of emotion alongside a potential purchase tempts them through correlation to want to have that image of self. Branding plays a big part in building self-image; logos on clothing instantly tell the public what type of person you are. Advertising takes these brands and creates an image of self that people aspire too.

Continuing on branding, advertising can play on logos creating advertising in itself. Norman refers to the Google search engine (p.104) as a ‘playful, fun site’ because it’s simple ability to amuse its user with the additional O’s for every page in the results. Not only does this little advertisement work on the visceral and reflective levels but the product actually works. Norman produces good evidence and a primary source quote from Google to support this subject, “…logo… providing some fun while also being informative” (Google). As research for this particular subject he investigated ‘Emotional Branding’ to examine’ aesthetics, image and advertising.’ (Norman 2004 p.104)

Keeping with the idea of ‘a positive sense of self’ (p.55) examples of how a simple sense of achievement can induce consumers to a product. The Betty Crocker Company attempted to create an easy, delicious and quick to make cake mix, ‘just add water, mix and bake’. (p.55). It figured to be too easy,
“The cake mix was a little too simple. The consumer felt no sense of accomplishment” (Goebert and Rosenthal, 2001), so by figuring out what aspect wasn’t sticking, what feature didn’t meet the consumer’s positive sense of self they managed to create a successful product. Just to feel the emotion of pride and achievement a simple instruction of adding an egg was included so that the customer felt they were completing the task. Norman present this subject with evidence to back it up; referring to quotes from market researchers Bonnie Goebert and Herma Rosenthal, it validates his statement basing it on other people’s observations as well as his own.

In the subject of different levels of design Norman introduces that advertising performs at visceral or reflective stages. Attractive looking products or advertising campaigns focus of visceral; the aesthetics being the main focus however the reflective level works on one-off experiences, special treatment, ‘exclusiveness’ (p.88) it increases the products appeal; wanting what is hard to get.

This section is very interesting however it seems to need some hard evidence backing up his opinion. Although, the research behind the three levels of design is supported by fellow professors Andrew Ortony and William Revelle (Norman 2004 p.21) giving stronger evidence to his opinion.

Journal article from ‘Applied Arts’ (Sylvain 2008, Reaching Generation Next) supports the subject of advertising within the social networking community, targeting consumers online to make connections between brands and the public. “It has gone from ‘build it and they will come’ to ‘fish where the fish are’”, (Tony Chapman, CEO, Capital C, p.40) indicates that times are changing and ad agencies must adapt to survive. They must find their audience rather than wait till they find them.

This evidence-based article relies on quotes and examples of how these theories are put into practice. Social networking sites such as ‘Facebook, MySpace, Twitter’ (p.40) are described as a ‘second life’ for the youth today indicating that most of their time is spent on these sites. Sylvain provides support for this statement by referring to figures; ‘63 percent of Internet-enabled Canadians aged 18 to 34 visited an online social network’. (Ipsos Reid, 2007) This hard evidence strengthens the article’s reliability on Sylvain’s subject.

With initial proof of rising popularity in networking sites established she continues on and gives evidence of how advertising agencies and networking sites began to work together. Facebook initiated the start of the process, ‘Facebook announced it was opening the door to advertisers,’ (p.42) this allowed advertisers to set up their own pages in order to interact with their chosen demographic. However evidence is presented on how this direction of advertising could be difficult – it is a social site and advertising isn’t initially welcome.
“That community has a fortress around it. And so, it’s getting harder and harder to find a way to get through. The people are there to socialise, not to be sold to. If we’re too aggressive, they’ll find somewhere else to go.” (Chapman, p.42) The evidence does not condemn this use of advertising it just indicates the difficulties ad companies face.

The article goes on to support how ad companies use the networking sites to reach youth on their level. Fun, interactivity, socialising. The example given; Fuel Industries created a website for Nokia that was based on ‘advergaming’ (Burns, M. CEO, Fuel Industries, p.46), it reached the interactive level of youth. In order to promote their current GPS phones the ‘advergame’ allowed the net worker to control a character’s destination while the character was driving. “We immersed players into the brand,” (Burns, p.46) Sylvain includes this statement in order to reinforce the company’s intentions of their success.

Although Sylvain’s opinion on the subject proves to be supportive she does include evidence on areas where this technique has been less successfully. Wal-Mart worked on Facebook to launch a ‘back-to-school music position’ which apparently came across too strong, “like they were trying too hard” (Roach, Jeff, VP, Youthography, p.44). This allows the article to be less biased by offering an alternative view.

The two sources offer valid reasoning and evidence supporting their views and opinions. However the journal seems to show a much more evidence-based approach than ‘Emotional Design’ although it still presents that method. Their content touches on similar points especially on the ‘stickiness’ of products and advertising; what reaches people the most, on either emotion – as Norman presents – or how to approach the best technique to do so– in the case of the journal it would be social networking.

Over all each source supports one another as many of Norman’s ideas are based on public opinion as does the Applied Arts article and together continue the idea that advertising must adapt to the emotions and interests of their potential consumers in order to create a successful design. This concept applies to design practices, product designers, interior designers, all designer for that matter. These sources support the importance of taking advantage of the psychology of emotion when designing and it’s potential in the new world of networking.

Further research into this subject would lead me to once more read ‘The Tipping Point’ to reach a more advance understanding of its reference to ‘the stickiness factor’. Norman’s other books also relate to the subject and reading ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ would allow me to study the subject further.
Not only does he mention books by himself as a reference to his research but also the book ‘Emotional Branding’ (Gobe, 2001). This book would allow me to research deeper into the understanding of advertisement’s brands and their emotional affect on us.
When Norman refers to the XBOX advertising campaign, I mentioned that more evidence is needed to support his opinion; in order to obtain this a request for an interview with one of Microsoft’s advertisement agents who took part in this campaign would be helpful. It would give a primary resource to either support or question Norman’s statements.
Reference to researchers Bonnie Goebert and Herma Rosenthal are mentioned, investigating their research and theories would allow broader knowledge of the subject. Also Norman’s colleagues, Ortony and Revelle, assisted him in his research so by investigating, ‘The cognitive structure of emotions’ and ‘The role of affect and proto-affect in effective functioning’ evidence to support Norman will be obtained.

In order to obtain more evidence supporting Sylavain’s subject the article ‘Fuelled for success’ would be a convincing argument in favour of the company mentioned by Sylavain in her resources (Fuel Industries,p. 46). An interview with Tony Chapman, (CEO of Captial C) would benefit the subject, his opinions are commented on in this article and further knowledge of his views on advertising in networks would be a useful source to obtain.
Experimentation with networking would be a successful source whether it supports or questions the subject. Examples of the current networking status such as Vodafone’s ad campaign, ‘Josh’s Band’; investigating it’s use of MySpace to communicate to their demographic. Further research into the subject would highly support Sylavain.

Daniels, C. 2008. Fuelled for success. Applied Arts. 23,2 (Apr) 54-9.

Gladwell, M. 2005. The Tipping Point. New York London: Time Warner Audio Books: Hachette Audio

Gobe, M. 2001. Emotional Branding. The new paradigm for connecting brands to people. New York: Allworth Press

Gobert, B., & Rosenthal, H.M. 2001. Beyond listening: Learning the secret language of focus groups. New York: J.Wiley.

Norman, D. 2004. Emotional Design. New York: Basic Books

Norman, D. 2002. The design of everyday things. New York: Basic Books

Ortony, A., Clore, G. L., & Collins, A. 1988. The cognitive structure of emotions. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Ortony, A., Norman, D., & Revelle, W. 2004. The role of affect and proto-affect in effective functioning. In J.-M. Fellous & M.A Arbib (Eds.), Who needs emotions? The brain meets the machine. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sylavain, L. 2008. Reading Generation Next. Applied Arts. 23,2 (Apr) 40-53.


Tricks of the Trade


In my last lecture I found out the secret of why we always forget the milk! The power of design strikes again! You’ll notice next time you go into the supermarket; set yourself a little task and go straight to the milk without picking anything else up. You’ll find it takes a lot longer than you think! Just another trick of the trade, making the the customer take a walk through the ‘wonderful’ deals on in the rest of the store and by the time you get to the milk you’re distracted and manage to walk out without the one thing you went in for!

I was a victim of this just today, went in for toothpaste and ended up spending £17! Amazing how well supermarkets are designed, so well that you don’t really think they’re designed at all!

All the convenient and everyday things are situated at the back of the store; designed so that you are always at risk from new advertisements! The book ‘Why We Buy’ by Paco Underhill looks into the science of shopping. He talks about how people buy more if they have a basket; how women shop, how men shop; why women are more like to buy things if they can touch it and how if a seat is placed beside the women’s changing rooms the male shopping experience just becomes better. It explains the psychology behind it all and how design and psychology work together; it’s researched based so the beauty of it all is that we all really do have these shopping traits! Very interesting so check it out.