Metaphor needed!

26 May 2005 - 2:28pm
510 reads
Jason Falcone

All -

I am currently working on a heuristic and content evaluation of a large
company's mini-website that markets a small set of specialized products
to non-customers that have, consciously or subconsciously, rejected this
same company's more mainstream offerings. We are evaluating a few
in-class competitor sites, but I'd like to take a look at some
out-of-class operations to see if there are any really effective
communication/marketing techniques or metaphors in place.

This isn't an explicitly interaction design question, but I'd like to
tap your brains for some ideas for this out-of-class set of


Can you name some companies that offer mainstream products/services to
the masses, but also offer a subset of their products to a
fringe/alternative group that has rejected the company's primary
offerings? Double points of these smaller, specialized offerings replace
something that the audience already has.

Here's are two hypothetical examples of responses:

AOL sells a comprehensive internet package to a large mass of people.
Some people reject the AOL mainstream and have their own service
providers, browsers, etc. However, AOL has a really effective
anti-spyware tool, and AOL figures that they can sell it to those who
have otherwise shunned the company. Of course, there are plenty of free
anti-spyware tools out there, so AOL also has to justify the cost
associated with their product, on top of convincing the non-customer
that a component of their total package has value.


GM knows that many people are skeptical of American automobile quality,
and that those same people buy Japanese cars. GM has a smaller operation
that makes really nice stereos, and it thinks there is a viable revenue
stream in selling these stereos to the owners of Japanese cars. GM has
to reach out to this population and convince them that the stereos are
top-notch (despite any prejudice the audience might have), but also that
the GM stereo is a worthy upgrade from the stock Japanese one.

If your ideas only answer half of the question, that's okay! Any
feedback you have will help!

I hope I explained my goals well enough - thank you for any thought you
put into this, and I am looking forward to your answers :-)

Jason Falcone
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