Don’t Make Me Think

I read a wonderful book called Don’t Make Me Think. Its author, Steve Krug, is a web design guru who reveals how people read web pages by tracking their eye movements. His conclusion: Don’t make people think about navigating. Keep it simple. Nope, even simpler.

Obvious, right?

But Krug’s advice has greater implications. Don’t make me think is fundamental to how we communicate. Everything gets dumbed down in order to stick. Just Do It. Build the wall. Fake news. Don’t require any thought. Any more than three words hurts our brain.

Here’s my take: I was eating breakfast while mindlessly reading the back of the Cheerios box.    Then I saw it…the worst promotion of 2019.


First, grab your Avengers cereal box and cut out the cardboard picture, thus destroying the box. Then, drive back to the store and buy 4 more boxes to collect the set. Now, you’re into this for $20 bucks. Save your receipt, take a photo of it, circumcise yourself, go online to redeem rewards, fill out the form, upload a copy, get a promo code…and save $13 on a movie ticket. Assuming your local theater will accept it.

Don’t make me think? This would make Steve Krug’s head explode.

Cheerios paid a fortune to align with the top movie of all time. Dozens of execs signed off on this disaster. Didn’t anyone ask, “Who would actually do this?”

What if Cheerios recognized kids for being real-life superheroes? Parents film them telling how they overcame challenges. Upload the video clips to a special Avengers website, showcasing the best superhero posts. Reward them with special movie swag and recognition on future cereal boxes. The website would let kids superimpose their faces on their favorite Avengers character, print their personalized poster and share it with friends.

Think of the possibilities.


Next: What’s In A Name?

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347 

4 thoughts on “Don’t Make Me Think”

  1. Don’t make me think is the first rule of getting phone calls on a talk show. Ask for their opinion, not fact. Ask something that they cannot get wrong. Don’t ask them to imagine a scenario or create anything new.

  2. It’s a guess, but I’m thinking it’s right on. People live in 3-minute increments of time. If I don’t “get it” in 3 “paint-me-a- picture” direct, creative, targeted words, don’t make me work for it, I’m not interested. Think billboards. Especially electronic boards. It better be good! And we better apply that philosophy to everything these days. Including radio.

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