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Broadcasting the Things that You Own – Designing Personal Product Advertisements.

05/02/2011

I didn’t actually look at the Instructable that this image is from as I’m not really looking to make a clutch or even carry one for that matter. What interests me is the idea behind it. A transparent carry case that allows everyone to see exactly what you are carrying. Sounds kind of crazy right? I have heard that there’s a lot of personal stuff in a purse, why would you show the contents?

The real question is why did this concept take so long to come to fruition? In today’s society there are many  people who define themselves by the items they have. It’s branding run crazy.

I just want to be clear that I am not judging anyone here, these are merely observations and regurgitations of papers I have read. Whether this sort of lifestyle is right or wrong is beyond my scope but speaking to the utility of this sort of product is interesting when framed in this regard and certainly should be digested.

That said, shouldn’t the next step be to help broadcast who you are by showing which breath mints you carry and what phone you use? With this transparency you can do just that. You can broadcast the lifestyle you have crafted without the need for excuses to put them out to demonstrate your brand allegiance, and by extension, who you wish to be.

My thought that the transparent purse is just another step in allowing for people to craft and broadcast the sort of person they see themselves to be. People define themselves increasingly with brands and products. Perhaps the opacity of how we carry our precious items will further recede. The need to show ‘ourselves’ through these brand extensions will overshadow the necessities of privacy or security. In a way, this overshadowing could be reasoned as already being played out on social networking sites, where we put up our private items and we broadcast these along with a list of all the brands and companies we feel aligned with. Yes, I like Starbucks and afterwards, use(like) Altoids. I also like my Blackberry. It helps craft how we’d like people to perceive us to be.

It would be interesting to see how this would play out for the males of the world. Would this transparency drive the so-called ‘man-purse’ into general popularity? How would men display their Axe spray and their Droid phones? Would belt holders come back? Transparent pockets?

Perhaps the whole enterprise is the new way of mating. Instead of puffing out our chests and displaying our feathers, we show off our iPods and coffee. Others would have an instant conversation starter: “Oh, you have an iPhone 4? So do I, it’s black!” as they could see all the time that you have such an item and a mutual connection, perhaps. If you’re going to advertise, wouldn’t you want to market yourself all the time? Why let opacity slow you down?

Obviously, with the ‘ups’ there are always ‘downs’ – the unfortunate aspects of Too Much Information. Imagine the club guys displaying their condom brands because they’re ‘ready to party’ or perhaps more unfortunate times when someone forgets that the case is transparent, making things worse than walking around with your zipper down. I really don’t think we need to hear actual examples as I imagine a litany of terrible thoughts just popped into everyone’s heads!

Does it go further? Do these devices then become items that are designed to show off what you are about? Do you make sure to bring exactly the right things to show off? A handy mantle for which to put your prised items? Some things to think about.

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