CAMPAIGN REPORT ON NEW MEDIA: Browsing for Pleasure - Our advertising industry browsers visited sites designed to enhance their personal interests. Compiled by Jade Garrett

GRAHAM BEDNASH - managing partner, Michaelides & Bednash bicyclingmagazine.com

GRAHAM BEDNASH - managing partner, Michaelides & Bednash

bicyclingmagazine.com



The internet gives you obsessive compulsive disorder. Mine started when

I tried a racing bike on holiday last month and loved it so much I

decided to go and buy one in London. I found there were too many choices

to make, from the frame material to the pedal design. Bike shops aren’t

much help.



The salespeople work on the basis that you’re either very technical or

easy prey.



’So on the web I found bicyclingmagazine.com. It does what the internet

does when it works best: it lets you access stuff in a way you can’t in

any other medium. And it’s clever. The smartest feature is called ’The

Bike Finder’, where you can compare 2,800 different bike specs. You can

also answer a load of questions about what kind of riding you’ll do. It

then selects the ten best makes in your price range and marks them out

of 100. Four weeks ago I knew nothing about bikes. Now I’m a bike

bore.



That’s new media for you.’



CRAIG FABIAN - former marketing communications director at Volvo



www.british-audio.org.uk



A mailshot from my audio retailer offers end-of-line discounts on my

coveted hi-fi system. It’s my last chance to buy Audiolab, I’m told,

because they have merged with TAGMcLaren.



’So I turn to the web. A search for TAGMcLaren reveals absolutely

nothing.



Then I come across an ad in the specialist press informing me of the new

range of ’high performance hi-fidelity for the new millennium’. Now I

have a gun to my head - buy now from remaining Audiolab stock or start

again with the new F1 series.



’In anger and frustration, I turn back to the web, to find my faithful

friend, Audiolab. The site is a disaster. A single page, two pictures I

recognise from the brochure, a summary of product information I already

know, no prices and again, absolutely nothing on TAGMcLaren.



’Ho hum. What a missed opportunity for the brand to talk to me one to

one, to offer a space for a dialogue, to reassure me and seduce me into

a premium upgrade.



’The upshot? Well, I bought Audiolab, I’m delighted with it and I will

never buy TAGMcLaren.’



RINGAN LEDWIDGE - director, The End



www.carryonline.com



I started off looking for the Magnum photo agency website. I’ve always

been inspired by the likes of Capa, Bresson and Salgado, so I wanted to

see if there was any of their existing work that I had yet to see. I

spent the next ten minutes trying to log on and was met with the

constant frustration of not being able to. With the boredom levels

rising, I decided to change tack, abort and see if a Sid James website

would be any more interesting or informative. Unfortunately, Sid didn’t

have his own website so I accessed the Carry On site instead, going

straight to Sid’s biography.



’I found a splattering of interesting facts. He was born in South

Africa, then went on to be a diamond cutter and polisher, ladies

hairdresser and then an amateur boxer, all the while learning to sing

and dance. The trivia section was exactly that, a mine of useless facts.

A list of continuity errors from the Carry On films was about the best

it could offer. There was nothing that would have encouraged anyone to

browse for longer.



’This experience was typical of most websites I’ve visited in the

past.



I find most of them blandly written and flatly designed. When it works

it can be a great medium, but I often find it rather frustrating and

time consuming. Personally, I’d rather go to a public library - at least

it gets you out and about, interacting with real people.’



IAN TAYLOR - managing partner, Lowe Direct



www.sporting-life.com



As the owner of a hoof of a race horse, my trainer suggested politely

that I look up the horse’s race entries on the internet (presumably to

leave him alone to train the horse). ’Check out the Sporting Life

website,’ he suggested.



’A quick scan of the home page pulsating with exciting banners and tabs

showing the full range of sports covered quickly makes the sports nut

feel at home. News stories of the day are covered (with pics) but what

makes the site worth regular - even obsessive - access, is the live

reporting.



’You are constantly fed live news and results relevant to the section

you are in. Cricket buffs can experience ball-by-ball coverage of the

Tests while keeping track of their football team.



’As you might expect, though, the real jewel in the crown is the racing

section. By logging in to this section (bookmark after logging in) you

get access to the most incredible database.



’As well as the race cards for all the day’s meetings, you get all the

five-day and overnight declarations for future meetings. Click on a

horse, a trainer or a jockey and you get instant access to all their

recent form.



’Who said racing was a mug’s game?’



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