Explaining your product puts you ahead of the pack
By Steve Portigal at 12:11 pm, Tuesday April 14 2009

A few weeks ago I saw this full-page newspaper ad for Verizon’s Hub:

I’ve blown up the smaller text at the bottom:

The phrase “the home phone reinvented” reminds us that explaining a new product in terms of what it is replacing, enhancing, or integrating with is often a very effective way to help ground something new. But the ad works mostly by establishing a physical context (the kitchen) and a use case (distributed family communication and meal planning). The actual functional specs are presented almost as an afterthought in the footer and greatly in service of the “reinvented” aspect.

I was excited by this ad because it does a reasonable job at something crucial that so few companies are actually doing: explaining clearly what their product is and who it is for.

I don’t know if this product is a good idea or a bad idea; it’d be fascinating to see how new users begin to use it and what sense they make it of it. But it seems that this product team Verizon is at least half a step ahead of many technology groups out there who collect a bundle of technology together but fail to create a compelling story about why this matters.

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3 Responses to “Explaining your product puts you ahead of the pack”

    agree the ad’s focus on benefits and storytelling is compelling, but would recommend making the user end up as the hero instead of the product being the hero — small but important difference

    Comment by Denise Lee Yohn 04.15.09 @ 2:22 pm

    I saw the TV commercial for this product last night. My initial thought was that if the actual user experience is good, this will be to the home phone as the iPhone was to the cell–it will redefine the typology. As with the print ad, Verizon’s done a great job in the TV spot of capturing a simple, easy-to-relate-to use case, which makes the product seem like an obvious and essential tool.

    Comment by Dan Soltzberg 04.15.09 @ 1:31 pm

    […] parking garages, The Griddle Cafe, a range of business names (and again), the Santa Barbara Zoo, Verizon’s Hub, YouTube, municipal garbage, Old Navy, Columbus Foods after a devastating fire, KISS (and again), […]

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