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Products Are People Too

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Video: Cigarette packet from Three more enjoyable ways to open packaging

Here’s another experience hook, this time with cigarettes. This is a special edition packet of Benson & Hedges called Silver Slide. [I have a blog post on packaging which includes this and other examples.]

The pack understands that a large component of smoking cigarettes is gifting them to other people. There’s a lot of reciprocity wrapped up in that act: It can be used to develop an aura of generosity, or cashed-in immediately to get a hard-won conversation.

Silver Slide develops a story around that potent experience hook. Offering the cigarette, overlooked usually but now prominent because of novelty, becomes part of the experience. Really, you don’t need any remaining cigarettes.

My favourite touch: When you slide open the pack, there’s a space to write messages on the inner draw. That’s exactly what social smoking, especially with strangers, is about.

Now, I don’t smoke, and actually I really dislike it. I can’t wait until it’s banned in England. But, gosh, if I consumed products just because they tried hard, I’d be a smoker. This is designed precisely for a particular experience hook… and it’ll associate itself, as a product, with that happy moment.

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June 25, 2007

This presentation puts forward an approach to product design which emphasises experience and stories, and is called Products Are People Too. It was originally delivered in June 2007 as the closing keynote to reboot 9.0.