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What the ‘desirable’ multi-sensory experience is:

Spring Break. Maybe Cancun… Thailand… Dubai… Either way, your ultimate aim: Party Central. You want to start a daytime pool party, or maybe an impromptu beach side dance at dusk. Like everything else “spring break”, you don’t want to go halfway. You want to be bold. You have this gut need to disrupt the calm and start things off with a bang.

Your carrying your CANNONBALL speaker in your right hand. It’s an unassuming brushed grey, as boring as the calm vibes around the water. But you know better than to read a book by it’s cover. You arm your CANNONBALL speaker with your favorite tune via Bluetooth. As you crank your speaker arm back, ready to launch it into the closest body of water, you cut through the quiet, sharply announcing “CANNONBALL,” and throwing the device into the water like a grenade ready to go off. Everyone, heads turned, see the splash. As the speaker briefly bobs under the waves, and an air of silence sits heavily around the water, you wonder if it worked. A half second later, the speaker pops up from under the surf like a buoy, temperature sensitive paint turning it bright orange in the cool dip, and your favorite party record automatically pumps right on cue.

The party just started.

How the senses go together:

The cannonball image is of a youthful partier jumping into a pool. The point of doing a cannonball is to demonstrate energy, fun and youthful rebellion. Cannonballs are regularly banned at local pools for the same reasons it demonstrates these things: It is loud, disruptive and obnoxious, from the vocal announcement of the action, to the larger-than-life splash achieved by the jump, itself.

The Cannonball Speaker system mainly leverages visual and aural elements of the experience to demonstrate it’s unique purpose as a party-oriented device for party-going people. Starting a party by throwing the Cannonball requires the user to utilize their motor functions to throw it, elicit an audio cue through the announcement, register the visual cue of the “splash” moment and receive the visual and audio cue of the speaker surfacing while simultaneously starting the party music. Further, if the user were to jump in WITH the Cannonball, they would become part of the product, embellishing the visual and audio experience of the “splash” while simultaneously enhancing their experience through the experiences of the wind ripping past their body during the jump, the cold water activating their entire body as they are submerged briefly along with the speaker and even the taste and smell of the pool or ocean. This might all culminate in a victorious moment where the user surfaces, holding the speaker above their head like a trophy. It’s not a difficult leap to imagine that such an experience could manufacture a large amount of party-appropriate energy in a very short time.  

Meanwhile, the viewer of this experience is also engaged in multiple ways. Their attention is captured by the vocal announcement. They see the cannonball occur. Maybe they saw it flying in the air, maybe their head turned just as it hit the water. Either way, for a half second, their chest tightens as they wait, hope even, for WHATEVER IT WAS to surface. As the music cracks through upon surfacing, it takes advantage of that psychological moment of extreme tension and unsureness, replacing the feeling with one of triumph and youthful release.

How you’ve improved the original Sky Mall product

Old Design:

Waterproof, Multiple Colors available, Portable, Bluetooth up to 33 feet

New Design (Main Features)

Waterproof and Floats
Speaker can float and play in the water like a buoy. It is now weighted to keep the speaker cone above water
Grey when Dry -> Temperature sensitive paint causes it to turn bright red

Normal / Cannonball mode (toggle):

Normal mode functions with aux or bluetooth Cannonball mode allows music to start when temperature and pressure sensors sense water around the speaker (the “cannonball” action)

Single, Lead and Orchestra mode (toggle):

Single mode is for when one speaker is enough. Set one speaker to Lead mode and multiple others to Orchestra and the grid of speakers will automatically play together for bigger party situations.

New Design (Secondary Features):

Night Mode:

Speaker will glow through RGB lighting under the surface. in Orchestra mode, speakers will color coordinate automatically. Creates the effect of floating lamps in the water emanating sound. Additionally, makes speaker easier to find

New SAFETY Features:

Alarm Mode:  Emergency? Toggle alarm mode on and throw the speaker into the water. As long as it senses water around it, it will blare a loud alarm sound, calling the attention of emergency assistance nearby. If connected to other speakers via Lead or Orchestra mode, the speaker toggled to alarm mode will automatically signal the other speakers to stop broadcasting, allowing for a spatial recognition of where the emergency is coming from.

Why someone should buy it:

The old Skymall product was functional. It’s portable, waterproof and durable.
The updated product expands upon functionality. It now floats in the water, allowing for new ways to organize the audio experience at an event where water is a major function.
The updated product’s multi-sensory cannonball experience increases it’s symbolic and cultural desirability as a party-throwing tool and a facilitator of exciting energy and reckless abandon on Spring Break (or in similar contexts). Using it is immensely satisfying for those who want to “let go,” “go crazy,” etc.
The updated product’s safety features make it extremely friendly and useful for safety officials (lifeguards) and party organizers in the event of an emergency

How it builds on the reading


The Commuter jeans, in their functional design for biking across the city (reinforced crotch, subtle reflector lights, etc), stress on the “perfect fit” and relatable name, not only enhance the functionality of the pants but also enhances the target user’s (commuter’s) sense of ownership in the product. Meanwhile, it simultaneously reinforces that target user’s personal identification to the “commuter” persona.

Similarly, the “Cannonball” creates an opportunity (an excuse, even) for the user to enter into the partier role. Where the classic cannonball action might be met with ridicule, the pairing of a product with the action legitimizes the action and embellishes potential of positive emotional outputs from making the jump (/ throw). Ultimately, the product, the action and the symbolic persona reinforce one another, just like the commuter jeans, it’s practical uses and it’s own respective persona do for one another.


The Chanel New Yorker article paints a sum total picture of Coco Chanel. It’s clear from the reading that Chanel the brand and Chanel the woman are deeply interconnected; Her functional, poor childhood roots inform her genre pauvre. Her attitudes, values and beliefs, never forced on anyone, seem almost sought out, to the point that Picasso calls her the most “sensible” woman in all of Europe.  Similarly, her clothing, reveling in its proletariat roots, seems to attract attention all the more. Chanel seems unabashedly imperfect, yet maybe that adds to her perfect allure. Meanwhile, her fabrics, her design process, they all break trends and are either loved or reviled for it by competitors. It’s this stoic sense of self on Coco Chanel’s part, as well as a total immersion by the brand in her values and beliefs, that seems to attract consistent attention, as unusual and rebellious against trends as the brand seems to be.

The “Cannonball” certainly does not achieve all of these things. It does, however, do away with the gaudy colors of the original and, more importantly, seek to make the act of the cannonball unapologetic and u
nabashed. Just as Coco Chanel manages to legitimize herself and her almost weird lifestyle choices through her brand (and vice versa), so too does the “Cannonball” seek to legitimize the obnoxious behavior of the young partier on break while also creating a sense of purposeful design in the product.

Psychology of Advertising:

This article described the interconnected, yet also separable senses and how they function to define and redefine psychological cues. It recommends creating sense-based metaphors for the viewers of ads. A new taste is impossible to perceive, unless you are offered an effective comparison to the taste of chicken, beef or some other easily recognized taste. The “Cannonball” leverages the multi-sensory metaphor of the cannonball jump to explain the point of the product and also link the product to a set of characters who might enjoy such an experience. The use of the metaphor leaves little doubt as to who “should” buy it and how such a product might fit with their personal needs.

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