12/18/09

ah, simplicity

good marketing lessons are everywhere. if you're in marketing and you have family members who like it when you pay attention to them, that can be a bad thing.

to wit, i was recently in a science museum in detroit (which is french for "don't come here") and saw a foucault (which is french for "foucault") pendulum. for those of you who don't have a Google Machine™ nearby, that's one of those huge pendulums that swing back and forth based on the rotation of the earth. my friend bill used to conduct similar experiments on a barstool, but i digress.

what was different about this particular pendulum is, instead of simply having people watch a big ball swing back and forth, the museum set up a bunch of marbles which would be knocked down by the ball as the earth's rotation changed throughout the day. as i type the description of this, it sounds remarkably dull. but what it creates is tension, and measurability. it creates an event where there was none previously. as a result, instead of just walking by, people would stop and gather and anticipate and discuss which marble would be hit next.

it was a good, unexpected reminder about how easy it can be to add elements that create attention.

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