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Cultivate Fascination

Posted 05/30/2014 by Stacey Cornelius

I can’t watch The Lord of the Rings on DVD without seeing green screens. I made the mistake of watching “the making of” videos that came with the discs. Totally ruined the magic.

Technology makes that hard sometimes, as newer techniques date the old. But work made by hand is nearly immune from that affliction.

Take this John Fluevog Shoes video. It’s a “how it’s done” look at a small, family-owned shoe factory, but it’s neither strictly educational or in-your-face advertising. In other words, it’s marketing the way marketing should be done. It tells a compelling story without wrecking the romance. It carefully cultivates fascination.

I don’t know what all these machines are called. I don’t know exactly what they all do. I get to fill in the blanks. I get to wonder about the people who do the work. I get to wonder.

This is the kind of video that feeds my love of a good story, and my reluctance to have too much of a look behind the curtain. It’s just enough to forge a connection with my respect for great design and excellence in craft. It helps me appreciate Fluevog’s price point and makes the price a positive, not a negative.

In fact, I think far less about the price and more about the desirability and the value of the object.

Some die-hard fans want to see every nanosecond of footage or every bit of information available about the thing you make. But there’s another school of thought: always leave them wanting more.

Knowing how far to go is a tricky thing.

I think it’s sexier to leave something out; more intriguing to not reveal everything. With apologies to Peter Jackson et al., you cultivate fascination when the how-it-was-made evidence disappears when the final work is revealed.

When it’s done really well, that newfound knowledge merges seamlessly with the finished piece to make the viewer’s experience richer.