The Wine Spectator
‘The most comprehensive wine Website in the world,’ gushes the subhead.
In this case, for ‘world’ read ‘North America’. Unless you’re heavily
into the wine lists of San Francisco eateries, you won’t take to this
site, despite attractive graphics, 50,000 wine reviews and a damn fine
Worse, the one thing you’d expect to find plenty of on an American
Website about wine is absent - enthusiasm. It’s drier than a teetotal
mummy. As they say in the trade: ‘Stale and past its time with chestnut
nuances. Long in the finish. Not recommended.’
A friend of mine who has forgotten more about wine than most of us will
ever know told me the Americans fly in European wine experts to improve
their home-grown product. Perhaps they should do the same with some of
our Web experts.
Client Marvin Shanken, founder of M. Shanken Communications
Brief Create a wine database without equal in the world
As an adman and T5 owner, I cheered Volvo’s attempt to revitalise the
entire brand via the tyre-shredding 850 Turbo. So I visited Volvo’s new
UK home page with high expectations.
‘Prepare to be informed, entertained, challenged and surprised,’ the
intro gushed. Words that turned out to be as credible as a Bosnian MOT
The model line-up section was perfunctory, giving only the most basic
details. Arena, which should have held ‘your best letters, comments and
anecdotes’, contained only the words: ‘Here’s where we’ll be posting
your best letters etc.’
I was challenged, though, by having to stay awake long enough to wade
through the site. The only surprise I got was that the magazine section
(lifted from the Volvo owners’ magazine, which, in my opinion, is the
finest loyalty magazine published today) had lost all the flair of the
In short, this site is just like Volvo pre-T5 - solid, safe, sensible
and a trifle dull. You don’t need a Labrador, corduroy trousers and a
bowl of muesli to enjoy it. But it helps.
Client Craig Fabian, director of marketing, Volvo UK
Brief Entertain and challenge while giving core product information
Created and designed by Clark Hooper Consulting
‘Cor, luvaduck. Well, not immediately. Read this bollocks first.’ So
begins Loaded’s first attempt at a Website.
It’s a cracking start and the pace doesn’t slacken for a minute as we
lurch from the Seedy Arcade to Crumpet Clash and on to Pervs and Rogues
via the Swearing Archive (upload your own contribution here). It has
ultra-sharp graphics, great use of giff 89 animation and tons of totty.
Adam Porter, Loaded’s editor, writes: ‘This, you lucky jisbags, is our
shambling start in the world of multimedia.’ Shambling start my big toe.
This is wonderful stuff - if you like that sort of thing.
Client Jonathon Newby, new-media director at IPC
Brief Extend Loaded into an electronic format without replicating the
entire magazine. Retain humour but avoid looking like every other
Created by Adam Porter, Mike Karin
Designers Ewei Chen, Mike Loochen at IPC New Media
I always thought of Yahoo! as a search engine, but apparently that’s not
technically true, for reasons I’m not qualified to explain (my anorak’s
at the cleaners).
Whatever you call it, there’s a UK one now and it’s mighty impressive.
Not having the correct URL to hand for the Volvo UK site, I tried
searching for it on one of the big American engines. No luck. But with
Yahoo! UK - bingo! The right address came up straight away.
I’ve used it several times since then for UK-specific information and it
has come up trumps every time. If the rest of the Yahoo! site is as
impressive as the looky-searchy thing, it’s got a winner on its hands.
Clients Jerry Yang and David Filo, co-founders, Yahoo! Europe
Brief Launch and build the Yahoo! brand in the UK and Europe, conveying
the brand values --human, fun, reliable and comprehensive with added
Created by Yahoo!
Designed by Dave Shen
Fly Fishing (CD-Rom)
First there was the commercial, then the book and the TV programme. Now
the old chap ambles back into view clutching a silver disk - Fly Fishing
by J. R. Hartley, the game.
It’s a great idea - what better medium to capture all the aural and
visual nuances of fly fishing than CD-Rom? And what better character to
represent it? But despite arriving on the scene just as the Hartley
bandwagon disappeared over the horizon, it looks and feels as if it has
been rushed out.
Like J. R. himself, the game’s heart is in the right place. But it’s let
down by poor design, a clunky interface and a hopelessly vague
After several hours wrestling with my virtual rod, I came to the
conclusion that the game has all the frustration of a bad day’s fishing
with none of the pleasure.
But maybe I’m just miffed because I didn’t catch anything.
Client Barbara Newman, new-media services, Yellow Pages
Brief Take the Yellow Pages ad star, J. R. Hartley, and allow his fans
to experience fly fishing in their own homes Created and designed by
Pete Mill is a senior partner at the Leith Agency