Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bier #2: Blue Moon Brewing

Every ten sites or so I come across one that feels like a lot of love went into it. Sure there are a lot of ones that look expensive, but those don't necessarily have the charm that sites like the Blue Moon Brewing site have.

There's atmosphere and texture you can only get with Flash, and it's nice to see sites that try to squeeze as much as they can out of it. We saw the same concept with the Rowling site, but it's hard to knock someone when they do it well. The site's content is in a tabbed notebook, with the appropriate page flipping sounds and movement.

There's is a lot of attention to detail, even in the writing. Little tidbits like "We made the intern clean it out" add more flavor.

There's a Beer brewing app that's just like the Cadbury chocolate mixer app, sans the odd little parrot.

And there's an gallery of fan art that's full of display worthy pieces. The chess set made out of bottles and labels wins for me.

There's nothing new here, but the style trumps. However, it does make me think of how you would take the basic concept (ie. table top, book/scrapbook) and give it a twist. What would it be like to have a book you're looking at come to life? If the contents of the book exploded out at you, like some crazy pop-up book. Hm, that doesn't seem original to me either. Zombies? Ok this post is officially over with.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bier #1: Heinekin Draught Keg

May is the new October!

I think I'm going to start posting every other day from here on out, if anyone has a problem with that feel free to post a comment and I'll cherish the fact that there are, indeed, readers of my little blog out there.

It's still a micro-site world out there, and Heineken is no different. There isn't much to the main site, but a click away is the Draught Keg microsite.

Walking out of the commercial, the robot lady struts her stuff on the site while you decide if you want to hit the dance floor or learn more about the keg. I was slightly worried that Hit the Dance Floor would be yet another Guitar Hero-ish game, but it was just another Upload Your Photo or friends photo app.

The upload puts your picture(s) into the faces of these odd dancing robots. I have to admit I uploaded co-workers photos and watched them dance.

The other portion of the site is the information on the keg itself. This ends up being just a regular hot-spot oriented info dump.

All in all the site is fair, and must've had a decent budget to create the CGI dance sequence. I would rather have seen where and how the robot lady lives. A peek into the party lifestyle of the silicon jetset, where the keg is getting used, and the some of the people/bots are dancing and some are making-out on the couch. Allow me to upload my friends photos to throw them into the party as the participants. Show me how well the keg fits into a normal setting, how many cups you can get out of it in practice, etc. Better yet, just send me a free six-pack :)


Friday, May 22, 2009

Fast Food #5: Chicken Dances and Frosty Posses

Wrapping up Fast Food week are a couple newer campaigns from KFC and Wendy's.

KFC wants you to unthink what you thought about their chicken (ie. they're selling grilled chicken now). It took them how long to start serving grilled chicken?

They have a few things going on here, first is a Chicken Dance video upload. Film yourself dancing to their song and put it up on their YouTube page. Looks like 35 members so far. I'm interested in seeing how it does so I'll keep checking in.

And of course they have a game. AND it's another rip-off Guitar Hero mechanic. No one's getting tired of that yet.

They also have an Iphone App. You put the iphone up to your face, covering your mouth, and talk into a microphone. The mouth, complete with a gem-studded grill, moves to whatever words you speak. I wonder if there's a game in that idea somewhere. A two-player. One person speaks while the other watches the screen and directs them?

That wraps up the interesting bits on KFC. I'm not sure what to think of the Wendy's Frosty Posse. I dont' know if i feel dirty for having even watched this. I realize it's tongue-in-cheek, but....well you take a look.

It's the Frosty Posse. The poll on the right asks "Who do you want to get 'Frosty' with?"...and "Mom" is the first answer. That's just...weird.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fast Food #4: BK

The general BK site is just one small step above it's McD's counterpart.

It has better design work and small transition videos between sections, but not much nourishment. However, we know that Crispin Porter & Bogusky do not disappoint, so it wasn't surprising to find the Kingon Defense Academy training site.

If you've missed the commercials, Kingons have been stealing BK/Star Trek cups, and using merciless tactics like nipple twists. If you're worried about having your cup stolen, you can watch the 10+ videos on tactics to use against the Kingons here.

Like, if you're worried about getting a wedgie. These videos will show you how to defend yourself.

Of which, hitting the Kingon in the balls is a tactic used most often.

Nothing interactive here, except as you progress and gain rank (by watching videos) you can 1-click Tweet your success.

A few years back, CP+B put up a site for Chicken sandwich that unlocked video clips based on the amount of traffic the page got. There was a measurement bar that would show the amount needed to open the subsequent videos. I thought that was a great idea at the time, but never heard as to how well it did. I have no real reason for bringing this up :)


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fast Food #3: Sonic

Sonic advertised in my neighborhood for what seemed like years before actually building a location nearby. At that point I was gibbering saliva monkey banging my head on the tv every time one of their commercials came on. There is some sort of evil genius at work here.

The Sonic site further proves this theory.

The homepage is a full-screen gallery of visitor uploaded photos of themselves enjoying Sonic. You can tag the photos, search them, or upload a library of your own. Did I say bad....every page on the site uses one of these photos as the background.

On monday I mentioned the Taco Bell 4th meal skits, and how Taco Bell didn't bring those to life on the web. Sonic created a whole section around the two guys from their spots. These two give you Sonic 101 lessons, and are just as entertaining in these skits as in the commercials.

The menu section is a full-screen display as well that you explore with your mouse. If you've been to Sonic you know the menu's are rather big, so this a fair representation of what you'd expect when you visit.

From start to finish this site ties in the Sonic advertising, the feeling of being there, and all info you'd need.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Fast Food #2: McDonalds

It looks like the McDonalds strategy for the web is being frugal.

I sincerely hope a freelancer somewhere made a fat check off this. There is nothing to the main site, but there are a few paths leading from it into more colorful territory.

They are currently campaigning for their McCafé line of coffee beverages. This micro-site would probably have felt more at home in my Coffee series a month back, but since McD's is offering slim pickins at the moment, it, like the pig's herding, will do.

The site is a collection of sketches explaining the difference between normal words, like Lame and it's more flamboyant cousin Lamé. You see the shadows of the people setting up the stage between the quick sketches, which gives the site a living feeling. There isn't anything very remarkable here, but that living feeling could be used to create an interesting bit of interactivity. Even something as simple as creating a flashlight effect with the mouse to show the people while they're working, perhaps having them freeze in the light, or showing something completely different than what you expect. Probably not the type of technique that fits the Beatnik flavor of this site, but could be interesting for something else.

The only other path off the main site is to a kid's microsite at .. nice score on the URL. It's got everything you'd expect on there, games, activities and learning games. Basically, games games and a few more games.

They all float down here, Billy.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fast Food #1: Taco Bell

Back when most of our money went to bills and rent a friend of mine would save all his sauce packets from Taco Bell. When he had enough he'd put them altogether in a pan, heat it up and then put it over noodles. He called this concoction "spaghetto". I never tried it, as these packets for me always ended up covered in dirt in the dark recesses of my car; cleaned out at the car wash, usually slick with the contents of some other packet that had burst in there as well. In other words, the packets=gross to me.

I'm sure most of the world sees the packets as little packages of intense flavor, and that's why they're used as a menu system on the Taco Bell site.

Most of the site is a large display of the product:

I'm disappointed there isn't more personality to the 4th Meal section. It's basically just a photo-gallery. The radio spots get me to smile, and my first thought was that they would translate that to the web somehow. The campaign is a bit old, maybe I'm just late.

The "Feed The Beat" section houses music videos and songs from various up-and-coming bands.

I can't help but feel that I'm looking at a dying breed. The age of "every site is a channel" is approaching a turning point, we'll either start seeing more interconnected pages with the major channels or a complete drop-off of these singular channels. I am most certainly repeating myself here.

Oh and there's a game...

My kingdom for a "Hide the Taco" game. heh. In this game you maneuvar a taco (seen at bottom) up through the row maze to finally deliver it to the singer (in hat at top). The rows at the top are moving ala Frogger.

Finding games on commercial websites has become something of a fascination for me. If you have been following my blog you'll know that at first I was critical of the use of sub-quality flash games. These games are usually thrown in for no other reason than a hope of increasing stick time. While this all remains true, I can't help but be drawn to pointing them out, and even...describing them now. It's like watching a few consecutive episodes of WWE, and finding yourself waiting for the next. Dear god I'm becoming a connoisseur.

There's another game on the site for Taco Bells Fruitista line:

You chuck fruits at different targets as they pop-up in the scene. The great part about this game, is that you can upload pictures of anyone or anything and use those as the targets. This customizing, which is absent in console games or most pc games (not counting MODS), is a great example of the unique features the web can bring to your interactive.

The last noteworthy part of the site is a Web-Cam Surf Spot section. You can flip between, what appears to be real-time, web-cams of surf spots around the country.

Nothing too exciting goin on at the moment.

/.hydra aiieee!.\

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Brain Vacation

Be back next Monday (May 18th)!

Enjoy a Zombie Pin-up :)

/.love it.\

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fashion Armor #5: Lacoste

To finish out the Fashion Armor set I took a look at the newly launched Lacoste Red site. The site just recently won Site of the Month at theFwa, so I figured it be a shame to skip it.

"Make the shopping experience vibrant and fun" had to be the strategy brief for this site. Or i'm a young guppy.

Am I wrong so far?

Here you choose what style of person-jumping-in-air-pose you are.

Many many years ago there as a really great Flash site called It was that site and Gabocorp (if anyone remembers that one as well) that drove me to what I do now. Homewrecker was a clothing site as well and had these great interstitial scenes between sections of content with music clips that glued the experience together. I've included the image above because Lacoste Red has the same type of interstitials. Taking the time to design each part of the site, even the quick parts between content, can help strengthen your execution.

After you click a style, the site really begins to shine in my opinion. The elegant simplicity might not show through enough in the image above, but they make the "jump" between browsing and shopping feel natural. A colored box for "I want it Now" reveals store locations in your area (drawn from your IP) and icons for sharing via email, blog, etc. Select accessories are given a small space, but you can't miss them. The layout has that "click-around" quality that only comes from careful design.

And... Play with Me is a game. I would never have guessed!

I played the game and began thinking about how it could be better, how it could tie in better with the shopping experience, blah blah blah. I then saw the "put it on your blog" feature. Could .. not ... resist...

/.for shame.\

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fashion Armor #4: Giorgio Armani

The Giorgio Armani site is a great example of connecting the brand to the visitor.

The site opens with a video of a catwalk show of their current season of clothes. Right here they set the tone of why you're here. Armani makes no apologies, they are a fashion company, that's why you are here. They don't try to pawn themselves off abstractly (like Reserved) or as the Tudors (like the homepage of Dolce&Gabbana).

Nothing interactive here, just the introduction to the site. However, if you click on Jeans you're taken to a fully interactive experience.

This section is basically a way to look through the jeans catalogs for men and women, and accessories. Here, the site connects to you personally. The setting isn't fabulous, it's just a series of alleys in "any-town" europe. You basically explore a video of friends moving through these alleys.

From an executional standpoint it's impressive. You can zoom-in to the majority of the video, and look 90 degrees right or left as the video is running.

The video stops at certain points where you can click on certain people to see the catalogs.

While obviously you're not a clothing model, this portion of the site takes you away from the over-emphasis on the fabulous fashion world, and instead, focuses on a fabulous execution.

/.any town in europe for me.\

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fashion Armor #3: Dolce & Gabbana (with a Reserved cherry)

If the Adidas site is a content kingdom, then the Dolce & Gabbana site is a loose federation of states that desperately want their own identity. I expected an expensive experience to go along with their high-end line, but it looks like they're spending their money on new microsites every time they have something to show and trying to keep them contained under one roof.

It starts out looking like it's got everything under control. But then you click something.

Apparently the Federal Government of D&B requires all it's states to open full-screen, even if they don't have full-screen content. This above is just a little purse display.

If you're going to force someone's browser to open full-screen, show your photos full-screen.

90% of these states are just different photo galleries, with no remarkable navigation beyond thumbnails and arrows.

I did happen upon this however,

Bask in the glory of our wall of sun glasses. Interesting display idea, but put together like it was an afterthought.

To see a more cohesive display of a fashion collection, one can go to Reserved.

Their Abstracted 2009 is contained within a simple narrative, and effortlessly escorts you between choices and full-screen reveals. You do feel more at a fashion show.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fashion Armor #2: Adidas

The Adidas site isn't so much a site as it is a content kingdom. Just a look at their homepage tells you that there are no quick visits.

Each of the images above opens up on roll-over to reveal a call to "Experience", giving you the feeling that they're all doors to other worlds (or mirrors to other worlds). The "Experience" calls take you to a wide-screen scrolling area where you can enjoy the content in a more linear fashion.

As you peruse these screens smaller pop-ups will appear occasionally pointing out Adidas products within the images. For example, Kary Perry is wearing an adidas shirt, and a pop-up asking if you want to check this out will appear. Clicking on that will expand the lower panel to reveal products along those lines.

What first seems overwhelming actually becomes comfortable. This site blends the advertising in with the shopping, giving you the feeling that you're exploring the adidas kingdom, where you can buy what you see, or just enjoy it, instead of being forced into more typical retail buckets. I entered only as an observer, and found myself shopping...not remembering the moment the change took place.

I even started building a shoe. Which is a great application btw.

Then there's Adidas TV

I've grown away from the idea of having your own channel of videos on your site. This is best left to Youtube. But a quick check revealed that yes, they have all these videos (or most of them) on their YouTube channels as well. Yes..channels with an "s".

I checked Facebook....1,849,953 fans. damn.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fashion Armor #1: Diesel

Monday hit me like I slept with it's wife. So, today I'm gonna start looking at clothing sites. First up this week is Diesel. I haven't been to Diesel's site in quite awhile, to my chagrin. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who promotes their brand in such a beautiful mind-fugging way. I went in search of some interactive advertising and ended up clearing out cobwebs I didn't know I had in my lizard brain.

Diesel's site is one big video display, with 4 or 5 videos running one after another. The first one is an advert for their foray into furniture, it's got a good soundtrack and even better visual flow. Being the desensitized viewer that I am, I was about to click on to Collections when this came up after...

It's "The Rise and Fall of Pete the Meat Puppet". It's a ballad/video of Pete's search for the meaning of life after coming to life by suckling at the breast of the lonely butcher woman who made him (and then died from shock at having her meat puppet come to life). The site had it's dirty meat hooks in me.

After Pete came three episodes of "Dance Party". The first episode (seen above) introduces you to the contestants who look like their being interrogated in prison. The third one, which I feel is a must-see, is the "Solo Dances". The contestants (all in Diesel underwear) are put into a large room and called out individually to dance in the middle. I don't think i can say anything else that will do this shit justice.

Video isn't interactive advertising, but I seriously can't see this stuff on TV. It's a great example of how the internet has given the reigns to the mad scientists of advertising and we're all bouncing around the carriage, struggling to hold on, some of us puking off the side, others of us laughing and having a great time.

You can check out all these videos on their Youtube page as well.

/.rubber johnny.\

Grey Matters

I'm a Digital ACD in Advertising land. I have been in love with the internet for over 10 years now. And I have a Red Bull problem. There I said it.

I travel around different industries every week or so and look for interesting and tasty interactive bits. I hope to make this a place for ad folk to keep up to date. And I just enjoy the spelunk.

Brain Pieces from Me

"There is a creative solution for everything."

"Sometimes, to be successful with Social Media, don't start a conversation. Start an argument."

"This is no longer the Age of Information, it's the Age of Opinion."

"The work that comes out of an Agency is the result of not going crazy while doing it."

People Who Probably Read My Blog