Would a big league glove give you confidence?
One of my all-time favorite advertisements was for baseball gloves.
I started searching for the ad on the Internet in 1999 when I wanted to use it to make a point in Don’t Make Me Think, but I couldn’t find a copy until just a few months ago.
The problem turned out to be defective memory. It actually wasn’t in comic books at all, but in Boys’ Life, the Boy Scout magazine. (I was never a scout, but my brother was, and I loved reading Boys’ Life.)
The ad has stuck in my mind all these years because of the last question: Would a big league glove give you confidence? Somehow, this always struck me as advertising at its very best. I don’t think a month ever goes by without me thinking of that phrase in one context or another. (Seriously.)
But now that I look at it as an adult who’s been subjected to a lifetime of advertising, I can see that the whole thing was brilliant.
If you read it, you’ll see that they hook you right away by feeding you two softball (no pun intended) questions that you can answer without a moment’s thought: Do you play ball at least three times a week? and Are you a member of an organized team? It reminds me of one of BJ Fogg’s brilliant points about what it really takes to change a behavior: start with small, dead-easy steps (to paraphrase badly).
Then they appeal to the dreamer in you (what I suppose we’d call aspirational now): Would you like a major league career? Again, who has to think about it? Who wouldn’t like a career in major league baseball–even then, when it paid a tiny fraction of what it does now?
Then the questioners establish their own credibility by acknowledging that this isn’t just going to happen magically: Are you willing to devote long hours of practice to baseball? These are clearly smart, knowledgeable, worldly-wise people. And in return for a career in the majors, even long hours sound like a small price to pay. After all, how long can ”long hours” be? I already practice a lot.
Then they turn to practical considerations: Is your old glove worn out or too small? “How do they know these things about me,” you wonder? Of course you need a new glove. How could you possibly hope to get to the majors with that hand-me-down you’re using now? What a ridiculous idea. Buying a new glove clearly isn’t just some frivolous expenditure; it’s an investment in your now-almost-certain future in professional baseball.
And finally, the killer: Would a big league glove give you confidence? In your heart of hearts, it’s suddenly crystal-clear to you: like the Tin Man, all you really need, all that’s actually been standing between you and the seventh game of a World Series, is some confidence.
This is followed by the incredibly understated, casual, there’s-nothing-to-it call to action. Not “Tell your father that you really, really need a new glove,” but Ask your Dad to help you select a Wilson pro model glove [when he takes you on your next heartwarming father-son trip to] your sporting goods store. Of course Dad will help you pick one out. What father wouldn’t?
Notice, not a word anywhere about competitive brands, price, features, or even why a Wilson pro glove is so good.
Sheer genius, in my book.
So, in the same spirit (only without the genius part), here’s my “Should you attend one of Steve Krug’s usability testing workshops?” quiz:
|Do you currently run usability tests three or more times a year?|
|Would you (and your boss) be happy if you could learn how to do testing faster and cheaper and still get the results you need?|
|Do your tests often uncover serious problems that don’t get fixed anyway?|
|Are you willing to devote one day to learning how to do testing, or improving your existing skills?|
|If you don’t do any testing, would you like to?|
|Are you hoping to someday have the words “user experience” or “usability” in your job title?|
|Would you win more usability-related arguments around the office if you could say things like, “Well, that’s the way Steve Krug told me we should do it”?|
|Can you manage to get to Washington DC on Sept. 7,
Seattle on Sept. 27, or London on Oct. 6?
|Would spending a day with Steve Krug learning
how to do testing give you confidence?
|If you checked “YES” to three or more questions, then you’re ready for a Steve Krug workshop. Print out the workshop page and leave it on your boss’s desk with a cheerful note that says something like “I could do this in Seattle on the 27th. Only $495.”|
P.S. Early registration for Seattle and London ends tomorrow (Sept. 9th).