This week’s Private Surf by Alastair Duncan makes depressing
reading. Can some of the current best advertisers in the UK -
Volkswagen, Cellnet, Orange - really be so off the mark with their
online output? Well, the best thing you could do is check out their work
for yourself. But for what it’s worth, here’s my view.
Sadly, I can’t argue with Duncan’s negative take on the Volkswagen
Beetle site. As the man who brought you the innovative Mini site a
couple of years ago, he’s ideally qualified to review the new UK site
for the only other car still in existence which comes close to having a
similar heritage to the Mini.
The Beetle site conveys nothing of the quirkiness of the brand, nor the
passion of its legion of fans. It needed to be bold, cheeky and a bit on
the daft side. Instead, it’s corporate, clean and could be for any car
launch. An opportunity missed.
Even worse, however, is the Murphy’s site. I had high hopes for this
one. Here, I thought, is an advertiser who understands the importance of
the web to its target (young male) audience - which has created an
eye-catching TV campaign that will certainly appeal to them and which
has extended the offline work seamlessly online.
I’m sure that was the intention and it is a laudable one. But putting up
images from the TV ads, creating a few mindless games and giving the
user the opportunity to download the afore-mentioned TV ad does not
Duncan also highlights the lack of integration in the Orange
While the TV commercials have moved on from the rather staid, if classy,
work of former times, the online offering retains the old style. Surely,
if you’re going to change your image so radically on TV, you ought to
carry that through online.
Perhaps the fault lies in the fact that Orange uses two different
agencies for its offline and online work.
Cellnet and Capital, unlike Orange, have both got their strategies
In Capital’s case, the creation of a portal is spot-on but some of the
content is quite weak, betraying a triumph of ambition over
Typical of this is the Capital Gold Sport ’joke’ (something along the
lines of ’Old Trafford is a great place. The only problem is that the
seats face the pitch’).
Cellnet, meanwhile, stands accused by Duncan of putting a press ad
I think that’s a little harsh. The ’click here, don’t click here’ line
may be obvious but that doesn’t make it bad. Sometimes it pays to be
obvious, although the art direction on the internet ad could do with a
little more love and attention.
So, all in all, I’m not too depressed. At least three out of these five
know what they ought to be doing, even if they’re not doing it perfectly
Have your say on channel six of CampaignLive at www.campaignlive.com.