Whenever Launch Light is introduced to a new product, there’s a handy shortcut we use to quickly gauge the type of project we’re dealing.

I call this technique “The Show & Explain Matrix.”

Hard to ShowEasy to Show
Hard to ExplainQ1
Hard to Explain,
Hard to Show
Q2
Easy to Show,
Easy to Explain
Easy to ExplainQ3
Hard to Show,Easy to Explain

Easy to Show,
Easy to Explain


When I say “explain,” I’m referring to how hard it’d be to explain the product to a layperson.

Let’s use my mom as an example. It’d be easy for me to explain to her what a Pop Socket is, even if she’s never seen one before. Meanwhile, it would be significantly harder to explain to her  what a Muse brain-sensing headband does.

“Show” is referring to how hard it’d be to demonstrate what the product does in a video. I can explain what a Pop Socket does in under 5 seconds. On the contrary, if you’re not already familiar with neurofeedback, I’d need at least 2 minutes and some special effects to demonstrate Muse.

Every product we work with is some combination of these two variables. Which combination can tell us a lot about the type of challenges and hard costs we can expect.

In Part 1 of this series, let’s take a look at the most challenging type of the four, “Hard to Explain, Hard to Show.” 


Hard to Explain

In 2020, our team flew to Stockholm, Sweden to do a video for Mendi, a home brain training device. Like Muse and other neurofeedback products, they’re a classic example of “hard to explain.” 


Mendi is hard to explain because the audience (and our team, for that matter) need to understand what neurofeedback training is and be sold on its effectiveness before they even think about buying the product itself. How do you do that in a short video that can keep people’s attention? And once they’ve understood the underlying science, how can we get them to trust our client’s campaign enough to back it?

Figuring out the answer to these questions takes a lot of time. Which is why these types of projects usually require more time and budget during the strategy and scriptwriting phase.

PRO TIP: if you’re a startup with a product like this and you want to save some money, start simplifying your messaging before you hire a video team! 

Hard to Show

As a brain training device, Mendi was also inherently hard to show. How do you demonstrate what’s going on inside someones head?

The answer to these types of questions is often visual effects and 3D animation. For Mendi, we enlisted the help of VFX House InvisibleFX to create the “X-Ray” view of what goes on in the brain while someone is using the device. 


This process took a lot of time and resources, but the results were highly effective. People who watched this section of the video understood the product quickly. The result was a massive success for Mendi: $2 million dollars raised on Kickstarter and another 3 million on Indiegogo. 

Key Takeaways

  • Products that are hard to explain need more time and resources to figure out how to market effectively to mass audiences. 
  • Products that are hard to show may need VFX, 3D animation, or clever visual metaphors to convey their value.

In Part 2 I’ll go over the next trickiest quadrant: Easy to Explain, Hard to Show.