Thursday, June 19, 2008

OMFG! Even when we're looking (hard), we can't see

I was lucky enough to be in New York's Times Square on Sunday. It is the most message-intense place I know in the physical world.
I was there to vist ToysRus for some daddy's-away-on-business guilt shopping.
I've been to the ToysRus on Times Square before - last year when I visited with my wife.
I'm sure I remembered exactly where it was. But I couldn't find it.
I just couldn't tune out enough of the visual noise of Times Square to find what I was looking (hard) for.
Turned out I was stood right slap bang outside it. (About where that A-board is in the picture below).
The wood is so, so, so hidden in the trees.

Which is why I like the picture of the OMFG billboard (left) I took. Dunno what it means in the US but it's pretty explicit in the UK.
A very loud signal, you might expect? Yet no one, no one! was looking.

Times Square is quiet compared to the totality of messages we have thrown at us daily. That's why we no longer see them. But, just like those pedestrians walking by, we are looking where we are going.

Which is where I'm headed with some widget strategy work I've been doing: The user is the destination now.

A rare handful of things are so important to us that we are prepared to look really, really hard for them - like ToysRUs in Times Square. What has made them important is an awesome experience. Think how awesome the Times Square ToysRUs has had to be to achieve this. This is a toy shop. A toy shop with a ferris wheel, giant Barbie House and animatronics dinosaurs throughout. Oh, and a brand...

If you can't match that we won't come looking. Because looking is becoming increasingly Times Square-hard. And if you make us look too hard, we'll give up and go elsewhere. Or ask a friend.

For the rest, if you want your message to be part of our walk through the Times Square of life, you are going to have to be something so useful to us that we're prepared to take it with us and place it where we always head back to, or somewhere our friends will take us by the hand and guide us to.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?