CAMPAIGN INTERACTIVE: PRIVATE SURF WITH ANDY HOBSBAWM

By ANDY HOBSBAWM, chief creative officer o, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 25 June 1999 12:00AM

The internet was made for events promotion. Focused spaces with restricted lifespans and definable agendas targeted at audiences with a large appetite for relevant information, entertainment and interactivity.

The internet was made for events promotion. Focused spaces with

restricted lifespans and definable agendas targeted at audiences with a

large appetite for relevant information, entertainment and

interactivity.



The net caters for this so well with its layers of limitless archival

database content and up-to-the-minute breaking news, plus as many cool,

personalised interactive services and features as you could wish

for.



Unfortunately, none of this really seems to apply to the Cannes

Advertising Festival website. The bizarre Eurotrash-meets-Southpark

dayglo illustration is worth a glance, but the main problem is a lack of

any real-time feel or features. It’s odd that we live in a real-time

world yet so many sites maintain this spacey, fixed-time atmosphere.

Many of the city guides, for instance, won’t tell you when a particular

restaurant review was written, even though the place to be two years ago

could’ve turned into a tourist nightmare. There are three defining

characteristics of the internet for me: global, infinite and

real-time.



Speaking of which, given its audience, I think Tango could’ve got away

with a bit more real-time fizz and exclusivity in its online

promotion.



Special prizes and secret codes at certain hours of the day, for

example.



The game is the star of this site and it feels right for a product which

has the luxury of not having to take anything too seriously. And it’s

impressive as a downloadable Shockwave piece: Manic Miner meets Lemmings

(if you remember your games). Although whether the 16- to 24-year-old,

Half-Life and 3D-game-playing target audience will tune into the retro

vibe is questionable. Overall, the digital marketing campaign and target

user experience seem well thought out and executed.



I’m not sure if Patent Place is an interactive soap (a rather tired

concept from a couple of years ago) or simply something people can use

to create their own cartoons. Either way, it’s a damn fine showcase for

Flash Generator technology with witty illustration and a funky

interface.



But I’m not convinced there’s a sound commercial reason for this site to

exist. It’s a bit too keen to tell everybody and their mother how much

they would love to brand the user-generated scenes with product

placement and decor changes. But if this is supposed to be a place for

independent, wired techies, it doesn’t sound like much of an audience

match. All in all, a thoroughly entertaining but disposable web toy.



The best thing about the old Mini site was the superb Java ’design your

own Mini’ tool where you could dress up your dream car with shocking

pink, giraffe-patterned bodywork, a Union Jack roof and Ben Hur hub caps

(all accompanied by cheesy puns and real audio sound effects).



The new version is far more sedate by comparison and only gives you the

’real’ design options to choose from. Shame - it’s lost some of that

independent spirit and anarchic, net fun. In spite of the Austin Powers

design, it all feels a bit too slick, serious and Rover corporate at

heart.



Call me old fashioned, but I love Minis customised in appalling taste

with wheels the size of the Albert Bridge and whale-fin spoilers. I’d

like some photos of mad Mini capers, obsessed owner stories, shots of

old Minis rescued from barns and far-flung places only Land Rovers

usually get to. I want more famous owners, celebrity interviews and

racing. And where’s my functional little Shockwave Mini that I can

really explore, showing me all those lovely ergonomic feats of

engineering genius? And while we’re at it, where’s the web-Mini that can

only be bought online? I bet there are wired Mini devotees out there

somewhere who’d go for it.



Cars and CDs, I realise, have slightly different price points but the

Virgin Megastore is a good example of how the gap is closing between

design and purchase and between marketing and point of sale. E-commerce

is integrated into Virgin’s user experience via an online radio station:

click the ’buy’ button when you hear something you like and it’s added

to your shopping basket - instant gratification in an impulse economy

operating in real time.



PATENT PLACE



Client: Biofind



Brief: Provide a vehicle for more salubrious rumours



Created by: KMP Internet Solutions



Address: www.patentplace.com



MINI



Client: Rover



Brief: Build a community around the Mini brand and enable e-commerce



Created by: AKQA



Address: www.mini.co.uk



CANNES



Client: Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival



Brief: Redesign the Cannes Lions website incorporating an online entry

mechanism



Created by: Good Technology and Ogilvy & Mather



Address: www.canneslions.com



TANGO



Client: Britvic



Brief: Entertain fans of Tango



Created by: Michaelides & Bednash and Deepend



Address: www.tango.com



VIRGIN MEGASTORE



Client: Virgin Megastore



Brief: n/s



Created by: n/s



Address www.virginmega.com.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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