Elegance and simplicity is tough to beat.

This video, which has been circulating for quite a while, should be required viewing for introductory marketing classes. While it picks on Microsoft (admittedly an easy target) the real point of the video is to illustrate that less is more. Anyone caught in the ‘design by committee’ death spiral will be able to relate to the added ‘enhancements’ that get thrown into this packaging exercise.

The challenge with simplicty is that it is really risky and most companies are risk averse. Complexity in packaging is just another way of hedging your bets – making sure that no group goes undifferentiated and that no bit of information goes unmentioned. Having the confidence and insight to be able to communicate to your target audience in a very clear and very simple manner is not the norm.

{As the story goes, this is an internally produced video by Microsoft to illustrate the unnecessary management layers that gum up the marketing process. Good for them if this is true.}

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