Selling Magic, Not Technology

| September 20, 2010

“Magical” seems to be the best way to describe technology products in 2010. Behold Apple’s iPad:

And now Google, upon launching Instant Search, claims that their search tool “should feel like magic” (0:16).

Should technology feel like magic?

According to the Oxford American Dictionary, magic is “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.”

If that’s the intention of technology companies, then that’s pretty sad. It’s the equivalent of giving up on a certain kind of technological literacy. In these ads, we’re seeing the marketing departments of two of the most influential technology corporations in the world deciding that people are more comfortable in the middle ages. Indeed, it’s a little too reminiscent of recent marketing campaigns in other sectors:

Couldn’t technology literacy be an exciting marketing strategy? Imagine:

“The iPad. It’s a step forward in software/hardware integration.” Or: “Google Instant Search: Searching ought to give you more results.” For example:

I guess literacy just doesn’t make for a good ad campaign. But when it comes to buying technology, are a majority of folks really hoping to buy magic? I’d love to see a company challenge this pathetic state of affairs with ads showing that excitement can come with understanding.