I’ve been called a lot of things during my time on this earth… writer, artist, world’s greatest lover and, most recently, “dick.” But there’s one thing no one’s ever mistaken me for: a mathematician. Arithmetic has never been my strongest subject and, generally speaking, my brain just sort of melts down whenever I look at a page with a bunch of numbers on it. Still, there was always one thing in math class that even I managed to wrap my feeble, little mind around.
Venn diagrams were conceived in 1880 by John Venn and have since been used to illustrate logical relations between groups of sets (Thanks, Wikipedia!). I’m not going to sit here and patronize you by explaining how they work but, just in case you’re like me and haven’t actually used one of these things since elementary school, they’re basically a bunch of overlapping circles. Each circle corresponds to an individual set and the overlapping region is representative of the relation between the two. For example:
Then came the people at Speck – a designer and manufacturer of protective cases for your iPhone, et al – who seem to be confusing Venn diagrams with the more deliciously named pie chart. The ads, which have been showing up all over New York City, display impossible aggregations between groups of people like those living in NoHo and those in SoHo, with the curiously placed Speck logo as the unifying factor in the middle of the chart.
I’m uncertain how Speck thought these posters would sell phone covers, and don’t even get me started on Speck’s philosophy, “design/protection(value^2)=fun.” I’m sorry. What?
But perhaps my favorite part of this story comes straight from the Twit-o-sphere. After several consumers took to the network in an effort to inform Speck of the incorrect nature of their campaign, the company responded by saying, “We’re just trying to have a little fun.” We get it, Speck. We get why you’re trying to do. But instead, what you’ve done is made yourselves seem stupid. Granted, most people probably won’t even notice the mistake but, in a market as heavily saturated as the one for iPhone cases, this probably isn’t the right way to make your product stand out.