Owning The Idea: The Designer Fire Extinguisher
Rob talks about the elegant 'designer' fire extinguisher that sells for $25 in HomeDepot (the red ones retail at about $9) and points out that in the awards it has won and the reviews that it's received, no-one ever mentions how well it works - just how good it looks.
The subject of a recent Rob Walker column in the New York Times magazine reminds us of a key trend Allan Chochinov told us about in his presentation at PSFK Conference New York 07. Allan argued that we were beginning to consume the idea of a product as much as consuming the product itself (you watch the video and work that out). Rob talks about the elegant ‘designer’ fire extinguisher that sells for $25 in HomeDepot (the red ones retail at about $9) and points out that in the awards it has won and the reviews that it’s received, no-one ever mentions how well it works – just how good it looks.
Given the amount of attention the HomeHero has received for its looks, it’s no surprise that Arnell says that it is selling. But so far there has been little word of real-world fire situations involving the device. (Interestingly, judges for the IDEA award, which is sponsored in part by Business Week, don’t actually handle or try out award-seeking products; they simply look at images and material supplied by the entrants.) Independent data on the fire extinguisher ugliness crisis are similarly hard to come by; an extinguisher expert with the National Fire Protection Association told me she hadn’t heard the issue raised before (although she added that she liked the idea of an attractive extinguisher herself). But by various estimates, nearly half of American homes have no extinguisher at all, and it seems plausible that HomeHero buyers will include members of such households.