Saturday 23 August 2014

The Medium is the Message? (or, using a garbage-truck to re-invent a toothbrush)

                                                 Pic:  via Lars Poulsen, Birgitte Kold Ingwersen, & Eduard Hoogendijk

Marshall McLuhan caused us all comprehension-headaches in the 60’s (the bit I do remember…!) when he introduced his idea: The Medium is the Message, in his ground-breaking work, Understanding Media 

Nothing beats going back to the original (great explanation here), but essentially McLuhan was saying that we tend to focus on the obvious. When we create an idea, its main properties are obvious, but following its application, our in-use experience should cause us to look backwards and realise that we perhaps missed a trick at the time…or we did not anticipate the effect our invention would have on users, in terms of elevating their expectations..

For instance, the creators of the above truck advert were simply combining the physical characteristics of the Oral-B brush and the garbage-truck in a brilliant stroke of insight and execution.

However, if I read McLuhan correctly, this end result could cause us to look backwards at the original design of the Braun toothbrush, a breakthrough at the time, and realise that we had simply ‘motorised a toothbrush’…i.e. like making the hair of a broom rotate for increased efficiency in terms of moving dirt.

But the truck-idea causes us to see what is missing in the original design, the idea of somehow sucking up the dirt in addition to cleansing…

In other words, is there some way of sucking up displaced residue, instead of spitting the result into the hand-basin…?

Time for the Braun Oral-B guys to get in touch with Mr Dyson, or the patent-office, fast?


Rose Woods said...

That's one of the most clever advertising I've seen! Well done!

rubbishwaste said...

haha, that's so clever!!! I'll show it at work!