Vauxhall has created a World Cup site in support of its event
sponsorship and a thorough job it has done too. Alas, the design is
cluttered and confusing. There are mysterious buttons, frames and
whizzing graphics everywhere. Add in the oversized banner frame
plastered to the bottom of the screen and the core content was reduced
to a three-inch high portion in the middle of the screen.
However, my effort at navigating the site was rewarded with some golden
nuggets. The site is split into four sections: fever, fans, tension and
games. The fans section contains an excellent travel section produced in
partnership with Rough Guides. The fever section looked dull but closer
inspection revealed a no-holds barred forum area.
It’s all linked together by the ’TeamWC98’, which is a slightly cheesy
online club. Overall, though, I came to appreciate this, the Denmark of
sites, not especially attractive but capable of triumphing.
Client: General Motors Europe
Brief: Create a credible football site that drives people into
Design & Systems: Online Magic
URL: www.wc98. com
If I was lucky enough to advise Snickers then I’d tell them to find a
content partner with real credibility to create a site for them. Sky
seems like the ideal choice: Budweiser obviously thinks so because it’s
partnered with Sky online.
Unfortunately, the Bud sponsorship is about the best thing the site has
to offer. The branding is simple but not intrusive, which is just as
well since Sky delivering content is far more credible than Budweiser
ever could be. Alas, Sky miserably fails to do it justice.
The news element is comprehensive but the other sections are inadequate
and inaccurate. The profiles of the England squad still included those
who had been sent home. There’s an ’in-vision scoreflash’ but the latest
score was Belgium 0 England 0, four days after the event. Sections on
the rules (who cares?), grounds and chat were coming soon.
This is definitely England: you know they could do it but they insist on
leaving their stars back at home!
Client: Sky Sports
Brief: Extend Budweiser’s through-the-line marketing of the World Cup
module in an entertaining way
Created and designed by: BMP Interaction and Sky Online
The BBC’s World Cup Website is exactly what you’d expect: crammed with
the latest news and news-related features. They also wheel out their big
guns: Des, Al, Trev and Jimmy were all there.
I suspect that the BBC supremos would not countenance a Website that
didn’t deliver the sober news reporting it is famous for. Sadly, this
means the wildest thing on offer is a spot-the-ball competition that
offers a life-size cut-out of Jimmy Hill as a prize.
For its sheer thoroughness, this site is the tops. However, the depth of
data involved is clearly causing the BBC’s server some strain. Breaking
news would be well and truly broken by the time a story loads.
As World Cup sites go this is absolutely, definitively Germany: utterly
professional, militarily precise and without a shred of personality.
Client: BBC Online
Brief: Provide all the latest news, results and analysis from the BBC
World Cup team while remaining consistent with the channel’s World Cup
Created by: BBC News Online
I still don’t see why the BBC needs two World Cup sites but, as siblings
go, this is the wild one. Not content with a little personality, this
site got up and stole its more illustrious brother’s too. So, for every
ounce of news the other site has, the Beeb site has gags and
The content is built around celebs, though Gary Lineker, Mark Lawrenson,
Jo Guest and Rene from ’Allo, ’Allo are an eclectic bunch. Uniquely
they’ve made an effort to talk to the people that count - there was a
fascinating chat session with the Scotland manager, Craig Brown.
Although the site contains all of the basic information you’d want,
you’re never under the misapprehension that this is what it’s about. The
review of the venues, for example, is done in ’Allo, ’Allo skit form and
the star footballers are ’leggy’ and ’sexy’ a la Jo Guest.
This site is definitely Jamaica: no concern to be the winner, just
determined to party to the last.
Client: beeb@the BBC
Brief: Create a World Cup site mixing football with background
information about teams, players and venues as well as up-to-the-minute
scores and analysis
Designed: In house Systems ICL
One principle I’m particularly precious about is that branded goods
shouldn’t have a Website unless they have an information-rich
proposition for the consumer. Snickers doesn’t - great confectionery
though it undoubtedly is. Instead, its site is built on the old ’if we
entertain them they will come’ theme.
The home page serves as a hub for small sites for each of the other
European nations as well as providing some ’central’ content: a news
feed from AFP which is comprehensive and the inappropriately named
’stadium of global football fun’. This contains a VIP lounge with
nothing important in it, some very badly written reviews of France ’98
stadia and a shop (why, oh why, would anyone spend pounds 7 on a
The saving grace was in the UK hub where I found a quickfire trivia quiz
for World Cup tickets which was truly compulsive.
This is the Columbia of World Cup sites: some neat touches but
Brief: Not supplied
Created by: Pulfe (.com site) Foresight (UK site)