By MIKE BEESTON, a director at CHBi, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 12 December 1997 12:00AM
LEGAL & GENERAL.
’Customers trust us to deliver,’ claims the home page. Do they now?
Well, for the rest of us, the Website is an opportunity for Legal &
General to show it lives up to its promises. It just scrapes in.
At first, the grotesque icons put me off. They don’t get any better
after the home page and you may want to convince yourself they were
designed to achieve cult status. Thankfully, the text links appear first
and you can navigate quickly around the site without having an oversized
piggy bank vying for attention on the screen. The content might be
’dullsville’, but it’s extensive and useful.
Overall, it’s a bit dated for what is a ’third generation’ site. Sure,
it allows customers to manage their flexible reserve mortgage accounts
and test different mortgage options. But it has that leftover feeling -
it’s as if the design and navigation were executed a year before the
content and functionality.
Client: Legal & General
Brief: Incorporate more interactivity into the site and learn from what
customers have told us
Created by: Black Sun
Programming by: In-house team
Campaign ran a story about Greenpeace’s increasing use of the Web in
response to the Advertising Standards Authority’s intervention in its
campaigns in the press (21 November). I’m not sure this site qualifies
as an advertisement.
The closest parallel is one of those ’act now before it’s too late’
displays that you see anywhere from rock festivals to country fairs
(does the ASA monitor these?). As such, it’s a working Website designed
to inform us of the dangers of pollution.
Although the ecological theme is a bit of a jumble, the design isn’t
really the point. You can’t go wrong with the simple navigation. But I
thought more room could have been given to the text and more links
in-corporated into related sites on the Web and other Greenpeace
activities. A valiant effort, although a little more thought could have
made the site work harder.
Brief: Support a campaign against dumping at sea
Created by: Knowhaus
Address: www.greenpeace. org/oceandumping
Sad though it is, I spend hours exploring the furthest reaches of music
sites in search of obscure CDs at bargain prices. Much less hard work
than going to stores - and more likely to end successfully. I can’t be
alone since the market is big enough to support a dozen or so music
sites, including this belated entry from HMV.
Until some time next year - an eternity in Webworld - you can’t buy
direct from the site. It’s just as well as it gives HMV time to sort out
the clunky navigation, unnecessary graphics and sparse content.
By itself, this might pass as a ’primer’ for a transaction site.
The look and feel of the design is great and it’s good to see some
promotional content. However, HMV should take a look at the competition
to see how to deliver a working Website. Otherwise, I fear a standing
Brief: Offer a comprehensive information service to all customers via
Created by: Sunbather
Although I had minimal expectations from the ’world’s first direct
marketing site’, I was surprised by a decent splash screen leading to a
questionnaire, the answers to which trigger the selection of relevant
sections of the site. For example, I tell the site that my interest is
’motors’, and I am provided with case histories of Grey Direct’s work in
the motor industry. While this falls short of a breakthrough, it is at
least an involving idea predicated on the benefits of the medium.
But, having been set up for a valuable five-minute insight, I was
underwhelmed by the delivery. I had been led to expect more and, even
though the copy was good and I was able to zip around the site, I was
left feeling I missed out on something. Maybe I did.
Client: Grey Direct
Brief: Create a site that demonstrates the power of direct marketing
rather than waffles on about the theory
Created by: Gr@y New Media
This Website introduces a purchasing scheme for new cars. A
CGI-generated form enables you to see what you can afford, there are
some nice promotional touches, and you can e-mail Freeway to take up
I’m all for working Websites and I tend to think that what a site does
is much more important than how it’s presented. This site highlights the
need to be careful with both. It opens right in my face by asking how
much I can afford per month. Sod off.
The home page materialises with a bunch of tacky icons and I’m given a
selection of phoney sounding testimonials. I don’t usually bother much
with testimonials but this time I felt the need for reassurance. I duly
found a link to three vaguely relevant quotes, one dating back more than
There are some really good ideas and functions here, but the Freeway
site got my back up and the design values are cold, dull and mechanical.
This is certainly not the way to persuade me to part with my hard-earned
Brief: Create the first car showroom in cyberspace
Created by: Walsh Simmons Interactive
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk