When you look at a box of cereal and you see the larger-than-life photo of the fruity-frosted-chocolate-honey-crunchy-tasty-o’s, you’ll always find a disclaimer in small print.
“Enlarged to show texture.”
Of course, the photo is enlarged. I wasn’t expecting to eat a four-inch disk of sugary goodness. Then why bother with the blown-up photos?
It romanticizes the cereal. It uses inaccuracy to convey an accurate experience.
After all, how many times has your tongue felt a huge obstruction in between your teeth, only to find out it’s tiny on the tip of your finger.
So yeah, intellectually you know you’re eating teeny cereal shapes. But your tongue tastes what’s pictured on the box.
The cereal makers know to romanticize an aspect of their product in order to accurately convey the experience.
Here’s another example. Very rudimentary. Look at this RV. (The three small dots at the bottom don’t do anything. It’s not a carousel, it’s just a screen shot.)
Is that fancy or what!
Intellectually, you know that RV doesn’t come with the plants, the perfect LED show lighting, or the three concentric half circle steps. Which means, technically, it’s an inaccurate representation of what it’ll look like when you own this RV.
But visually, it accurately represents what it feels like to own this RV. It subtly romanticizes the level of prestige owning this motorhome gives you. It enlarges the texture.
Is this limited to visual mediums? Not at all. You can do the same thing with words. The J. Peterman Company comes to mind. Here’s an example of theirs:
“When a man puts on this authentic French farmer’s shirt he may very well find that his hands look bigger. He will become sturdier and more forthright; either that, or more canny, only time will tell. At the dinner table, people will automatically start to offer him seconds and thirds. French Farmer’s Shirt (No. 1953), different and good-looking.”
You don’t actually expect wearing this shirt will make your hands look bigger. It’s technically inaccurate. But it’s also romanticizedly accurate. It’s enlarging the texture.
Is it wrong to fluff your products and services like this? Is it dishonest?
Absolutely not. No one actually expects a four-inch disk of cereal, perfect LED show lighting, or that their hands will grow.
So go ahead. Romanticize an aspect of your product. You’ll be accurately conveying the experience and feeling of owning it. You’ll be enlarging the texture.
And in so doing you’ll make it easy for your customers to buy.
– Zac Smith, VC