User Experience Lesson from Mad Men to Burrito Makers

I’ve started rewatching Mad Men. In “Babylon” (season 1, episode 6) this simple but brilliant bit of scriptwriting comes from Freddy Rumsen (emphasis mine):

She really stood out, brainstorming wise… the point is, [Peggy] saw the benefit, not the feature. She said she didn’t want to be one of 100 colors in a box. That’s interesting, isn’t it?

Background: The creative team at Sterling Cooper is trying to figure out how to improve a lipstick company’s advertising and they decide to host an impromptu focus group with the office women. Peggy is the only woman of the group who seems less than thrilled about the experience. In questioning her at the end, Freddy discovers her untapped talent for creative work.
Lest you think this is too obvious to mention in our modern times, keep in mind that effective landing pages have not been mastered, huge retailers such as Target are just starting to work out in-store pickup service, and people who make burritos don’t always understand the basic user interface issues.

All that is to say: never disregard user benefits, whether you’re selling a product, a service, or a basic pleasure. Freddy would drink to that.

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