INTERACTIVE: interactive gallery reviewed by PETE MILL

The Wine Spectator

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

wine library.

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

Copywriter n/s

Designer n/s


Volvo UK

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

magazine site

Created by Adam Porter, Mike Karin

Designers Ewei Chen, Mike Loochen at IPC New Media


Yahoo! UK

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

value services

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

instruction manual.

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


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