Tell me something I don’t know

“mystery demands that you stop and consider—or, at the very least, slow down and discover.” JJ Abrahams

I recently read an article about leveraging curiosity through design, which asks the question, How can interactions be made more effective—and fun—by introducing a bit of (controlled) uncertainty?

Interestingly it makes a case study of Hot wheels and its curious marketing technique,

“In recent years, Hot Wheels has begun including a “mystery car” in their store shipments. Unlike all the other cars encased in clear plastic, this car is shielded by an opaque black plastic—you have no idea what kind of car is in there. With two or three dozen hot wheels to choose from, guess which one the kids go after? Given the choice of all these “known” cars, the one that—in my experience—gets attention (and allowances) is the Mystery Car—the one that is “unknown.”

  1. Some tiny bit of information makes us aware of something that is unknown.Black packaging hides toy
  2. Context provides some relevance. These are kids, shopping for a toy. 
  3. Enough clues are given to help us make a judgement about the personal value of that unknown information. Kids who like Hot Wheels can infer that this car will be similar in quality and possibilities as the surrounding options

“Information can be presented in a manner that is straightforward or curious. If we opt for the latter, we are guaranteed not only attention, but likely higher engagement as well”


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