How Marketers Hide Things to Attract Attention

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Mike Volpe
Mike Volpe



I walked by an Abercrombie and Fitch store in the mall recently and something struck me.  The doors were open, but all the windows had heavy wood blinds over them, making it impossible to see inside.  Loud music played from within.  You could not see a single item they sold.  If I didn't know the brand, they could have sold fishing equipment or been a law office.  Window shopping was impossible.

abercrombie store marketing technique

Abercrombie had a completely different store window than nearly every other store in the mall.  Even Victoria's Secret, which might actually want to hide some of their merchandise because of social norms had huge glass windows with mannequins showing off the latest "fashion."

Why?  Sometimes hiding things generates attention because of the perception of exclusivity.

Just like the hot clubs in LA that don't have a sign to tell you where they are, or the new web 2.0 applications that only let in beta users 100 at a time, Abercrombie is creating the appearance of exclusivity by hiding their merchandise.  As humans, sometimes we want what we can't have, or at least what is hard to get.

Have you thought about making your product harder to get?  Or maybe making a special part of your product only available to certain people?

This concept can be scary, because as marketers we try to be known everywhere, by everyone, at all times.  But maybe an experiment in exclusivity will pay off.  Try it, and let me know.

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