The trouble with the dotcoms is that they’re bunging so much money
and energy into brand-building ads and cute logos that, half of the
time, you’re not sure what it is that is actually being advertised. Many
of them are established brands, for example, shopsmart.com and
amazon.co.uk, but many aren’t. How can they achieve standout if the
consumer is in the dark about what they offer?
Not only is it confusing for the consumer, it has also started to dilute
the new, non-virtual brands, such as KLM’s budget airline, Buzz, and the
green energy company, Unit(e). Poor things: legitimate new products, yet
how many non-line (as opposed to online) people have ignored them,
thinking they are virtual?
Time to check them out, then. Four dotcom ads have flickered past my
eyeballs recently - all in media which I chose to consume and,
therefore, which are (very loosely) aimed at me - but none of whose
offers, as a consumer, I have the first clue about. I uncork the wine
and sit down with my housemate, Susanna.
First, Ebop. ’If you don’t get it, you’re too old.’ That’s the only
’information’ on the ad and, instantly, we are insulted rather than
curious. It appears to be some kind of magazine. We read a couple of
articles, vote in a poll and play Frogger for a while, but have to stop
because the music is making Susanna gnash her teeth. This is a very good
site really, but how many people have been deterred by the threatening
ads? We’re too old for them but just right for the site. Go figure.
Dobedo.com is next. Oh, it’s a chat room, apparently designed for young
teens, even though when it asks for your details, the default option to
click is ’I am a man’. Hmmm.
Arrggh! Too many instructions. We are racily informed that we may flirt
with whoever we wish. To be frank, however, we would both much rather
flirt with the waiters in Little Italy over a flaming Sambuca or
OK, it’s cute and we spend 45 minutes creating a personality. But no-one
wants to talk to us. Humph. We’re obviously too old for this lark.
Jungle.com is third and, apparently, it’s the ’best place to buy
It appears to sell music and computer stuff. On closer examination,
’today’s offer’s’ (sic) include videos at high street prices. Wow.
Finally, we try charlottestreet.com. We think it’s a search engine, but
the ads are all about cellulite. Is it trying to tell us something or
merely offering girl-flavoured information?
Actually, it’s a beautiful site, full of news and features. We like it a
lot. And it’s pretty consistent with the advertising, which incidentally
is the least rubbish of the lot. Hurrah! The clear winner.