INTERACTIVE: Advertisers hope ’saucy surprises’ will tempt viewers to Star’s Website - CASE STUDY/THE DAILY STAR/Gordon MacMillan climbs the ladder of, er, success as he finds a 3-D site just bursting with Starbirds ..

By GORDON MACMILLAN, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 19 September 1997 12:00AM

Ooh, aah, now it’s on yer computaah. In a genuinely ground-breaking, three-dimensional style, the Daily Star has launched on the Web with its megastar site.

Ooh, aah, now it’s on yer computaah. In a genuinely

ground-breaking, three-dimensional style, the Daily Star has launched on

the Web with its megastar site.



Quite what the scale of investment is, the Star’s owner, United News and

Media, isn’t saying. It is, however, pushing megastar hard - both online

and in the paper.



The site boasts simple navigation, allowing surfers to access a wealth

of sport, news, games and entertainment features taken from the paper.

But the breathing heart of the megastar site is the 3-D world, which

offers new possibilities for advertisers and surfers alike.



What does it look like? Type www.megastar.co.uk and click on to the VR

Bar and you will be transported to a 3-D cobbled street the cast of

Coronation Street would feel at home in.



Houses, a pub and a club can be found along the street, along with the

first of megastar’s 3-D advertisers - Eidos, the computer games

company.



Stroll down the street and you will come across a football. Kick it, but

be careful, as it doesn’t take much to send it over a garden wall.



Further on you will see a ladder, left there, no doubt, by a voyeur.



Go ahead, be that voyeur - just make sure you are prepared for ’a saucy

surprise’.



Continue down the street and you will find the boozah: the Star Pub.



Walk inside and notice the pictures on the wall which are live links to

picture news stories. Check out who is behind the bar - you may see a

3-D Spice Girl or a beaming Tony Blair.



The 3-D characters are all drawn from the day’s news. There is also a

’Starcade’ in one corner with a few special Star games. Bored? Try a

Starbird snap or see what’s on the jukebox.



The 3-D environment is designed to work in real time. Visit at night and

the street will appear dark and the megastar club will be open. It is,

of course, a topless club (this is, after all, the Daily Star’s online

persona) and onstage a 3D-Starbird model dances away. Inside private

rooms off the club more Starbirds are on show ... as it were.



Eidos has a room on the street called the manager’s office. Walk up the

stairs and you will find in yourself in a 3-D room. All objects in it

are interactive. For example, posters on the wall show the hit game,

Tomb Raider - a click will reveal game release dates. A PC on the desk

offers video demonstrations of new games.



Larry Sparks, the worldwide marketing director at Eidos Interactive UK,

explains: ’We were initially talking to the Daily Star about banner ads

and the idea developed from there. It is called the manager’s office as

we have a number of football games. It is great for us as it creates a

synergy between us and the environment. Anyone can advertise on banners

but a 3-D world is new.’



Dennis Greene, the editor of megastar, comments: ’Megastar is going to

have a wider appeal than to Star readers alone. It will draw in people

who like Loaded or FHM. But megastar is something much more. It is a

site that people will be able to keep returning to as it grows.’



Eidos is the first of what could be a community of advertisers on the

site, he hopes. Eventually, the ’street’ might boast a bookmakers, a

sports store, a supermarket and a bank, for example.



Geoffrey Wheating, group media development manager at the Star’s

publisher, Express Newspapers, says: ’It will evolve naturally. A bank

wants to get involved as do a number of Net brands. There are even

brands considering doing away with their own Websites to move in with

us, because they can see a site that has a great deal of appeal and rich

content.’



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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