"The experience is the product." I read this sentence (or something like it) in a book at Barnes and Noble one time (I can't remember the name of the book) and it has stuck with me ever since. I certainly agree with the sentiment; the "product" isn't just the gadget; it's the packaging, the price, the place where it's purchased, and of course the user's interaction with it.
So when I came across this post at Medgadget listing the winners of the 2008 Ig Nobel prizes, the one for Nutrition caught my eye:
NUTRITION PRIZE. Massimiliano Zampini of the University of Trento, Italy and Charles Spence of Oxford University, UK, for electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make the person chewing the chip believe it to be crisper and fresher than it really is.
Don't just design the flavor, also design the "crunch!"
Likewise, this post on NOTCOT gets at the same idea:
The internet is a buzz with rumors on the latest “viral” video of Dan Aykroyd showing us his new Crystal Head Vodka in a gorgeous glass skull...Apparently it is made by Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Ltd, out of Newfoundland water triple crystal filtered through herkimer diamonds (aka double-terminated quartz crystals)! Really the story is just great though, and the video and bottle make the experience priceless...
Of course, using specially-designed bottles to differentiate a commodity product are commonplace (why do you think the Coke bottle looks so unique?), but adding a whole myth (replete with a video) takes things up a notch.
Whether it's research into how humans judge the quality of a product or marketing designed to sell a product, it's important to consider the holistic experience of the user.
Images from here and here.