I’ve traveled through many airports recently, so I’ve had lots of time to consider airport advertising. Most airport ads are obscure and inscrutable, and software ads in particular are often filled with buzzwords and jargon. Without the generic distinctions of logos, slogans, and color palettes, the majority would be interchangeable.

When I was walking in Boston’s Logan Airport, this is just one of the many lackluster ads I saw:

How will this ad create new business? For those who don’t know what “ERP” is, the ad is impenetrable. For those who do know, the ad doesn’t give them any new information and isn't particularly memorable. Perhaps the sole function is to promote the brand? If that’s all, I would say that this ad is a squandered opportunity.

Contrast that ad with this one that was a few steps away:

FactSet creates software for financial professionals, and it has chosen to put its product front and center in its campaign. As an interaction designer, I’m biased, of course, but I find this ad much more accessible. Anyone walking past can see the product, and can understand (at the very least) that FactSet delivers a dizzying amount of information. The UI displays enough detail that people in the know will recognize its differentiating qualities. As I was standing near it, quite a few people stopped to take a second look. No one did for the Big ERP ad above.

At Cooper, we know how much work goes into creating a sophisticated information platform like the one FactSet has displayed, so we’d like to extend some appreciation to FactSet for taking pride in their UI, and for putting it front and center. If you’ve got something that you think is vivid, powerful, or differentiating, show it off. If you don’t, hire some great designers so you can.