Monday, June 29, 2009

Crunchy #3: Doritos

Where Cheetos goes random, Doritos puts on it's construction hat and builds a city.

Using a city scene, or any environment, as a menu interface is not a bad technique, it sets a solid metaphor and atmosphere. But what is usually overlooked is the potential for strengthening the experience even more. Just because you're using specific objects as doorways to other sections, doesn't mean they have to be the only things you can click on. I've just come to your site, I'm clicking around, I'm in the mood to explore. For example, why is there a ship in the lower right? If i mouse-over it, nothing happens. How disappointing. Just something simple like that could set me off to spending a few more minutes clicking on everything.

Half the buildings in the scene are in-site content:

And the other half lead out to promotional microsites.

The above is the beginning of a "Myst"-like puzzle game called The Quest. You solve puzzles in order to compete in a live action version in Las Vegas. It looks like this whole promotion happened last year though.

The best thing Doritos has online right now has nothing to do with the brand, chips or snacking. If you visit before 6pm, you're told that the hotel is only open at night. If you make a reservation, you get this in an email later that night -

What follows when you revisit the site is a survival-horror game. Using video, clever puzzles, your microphone and your webcam, this is my new favorite commercial site. How this idea sold through Doritos I have no idea. I'm not going to go into any more details about it though...this is one of the ones you should visit yourself.

But I will leave you with this:

This little guy didn't like the song I tried to sing him to sleep with.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Crunchy #2: Cheetos

If you haven't seen the latest Cheetos campaign, you're missing Chester re-cast as, what appears to be, a Bond villian. How can you not love that? I was hoping that the same irreverant and somewhat surreal fun would be carried on to the web.....and shit disappointment there.

The Cheetos site is the biggest collection of beautiful absurdity that I have ever seen on a commercial website. That jumble of TV's you see is on a platform you can spin, and every minute or so odd things the above, or a clown reading sad poetry. And that's just the menu.


Feed Katy. You click and drag a cheeto to her mouth. I only fed her four, but if anyone has found out how many you have to feed her to get her to lose the shirt, let me know. (oink).

Chester's voice modulator. "No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die."

Legend of the Cheetocorn. A platformer game...with a story line that made the lol. Dr. Picklehands??

This part is pure brilliance. Upload a webcam video of yourself eating cheetos and it gets added to the 24 hour Cheetos channel. I wish I'd thought of that, and I may steal it.

That's 4 out 10 sections of random fun. And that's just the main site, if you click on the Orange Underground...

RAOC. Random Acts Of Cheetos. Clips and unlockables from the rebellion.

There is so much good stuff in the Cheetos netmind, I almost didn't want to post it as #2. I hope some of Cheetos competition can hang.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Crunchy #1: Pringles

It seems natural to follow up Energy drinks with it's companion the snack things. I say snack things because some of the places I go might not qualify as "potato" or "chips".

First up is Pringles.

After having my eyeballs assaulted with content, a simple page like this is somewhat of a relief. However, like a single Pringle chip, this site is incredibly light and not much of a snack. There are product pages:

Fancy-pants "star-glows" are abundant through-out the animations of the site. But these don't provide the salty-ness needed to make me crave more pages. (forgive me please).

If you noticed on the homepage there is a button for a Design Your Own Can promotion. I thought this would give me something interesting to talk about...but it's a 404. That's not good.

What is good is their implementation on Facebook.

Pringles apparently uploads low-budget video shorts of people singing about their chips, dancing, running with bulls etc. It's hard to tell if these are spots, user-generated or scripted. But it looks like they get a lot of comments and thumbs up. This is a great example of how to "talk" to your's not so much talking as it is entertaining. There isn't a youtube channel that I could find..but why worry about that when you have an audience this big on Facebook?


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Twitch #3: Red Bull

Where the previous entries in the energy drink topic felt frenetic and chaotic, Red Bull is more refined and focused.

Like it's competitors Red Bull is involved in everything from bmx, video games, to break dancing teams. Navigating between info and video content on these areas is through a simple Flash interface that keeps the amount from being overwhelming.

The videos are indexed and set up to make it easy to actually watch them.

Other than that there isn't much to offer. There isn't a Red Bull community here, but there is definitely a presence on the major channels.

Pharmaceutical? Weird.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Twitch #2: Rockstar Energy

I think i've got a handle on Monsters and Rockstars internet strategies.

Step 1: Load up an out-of-work kid with as much of your product as possible.
Step 2: Lock him up in the basement and make him design your site and your myspace pages.

I can feel his heart racing, and his eyes bulging just looking at this page.

This page is what happens right before the crash.

Step 3: Find athletes to sponsor in any sport that isn't already saturated with class 1 brands. Find any musician that has long hair or looks creepy emo. And in Rockstars case...find da breasteses.

This page puts the jack in jacked up.

Step 4: Knock on the basement door. Is the kid still alive? Have him make Myspace and Facebook fan pages every day for the next...well fuck it...forever.

"welcome to the human race." - Snake Blisken

oh and one last thing - 69? Be careful your boners don't explode.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Twitch #1: Monster Energy

Monster ain't my poison, but I might be too old and wouldn't pass the fitness test for the Monster Army.

Monster Energy plays the community card as their main strategy. Updates and news on their sponsored athletes, and then a closed area just for the members. Something sexy in secret communities.

It must be working for them - I searched Monster Energy on Facebook and found 500+ results. The first ten pages were all pages/groups with the Monster logo. Their youtube pages has over 1,500 subscribers.

What do you do with the community after you have a strong one? You see so much talk about "starting" the conversation, but I'm more interested in really great ideas of what to do when you've caught that bus. Maybe i'll join the army.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Prepare to Flash #3: Nikon...again

Sir Richard Branson once said, "We (Virgin) look at markets where things have been done the same way for a long time and we ask whether we can do anything different.". After searching for even a hint of a Camera industry online strategy I'm coming up with nothing. It appears to be 90% retail/product sites, 9% un-sponsored community, and 1% larger channel promotions or presence. I'm in no position whatsover to judge, this might be the most reasonable approach for these products - but I can say that it's all rather dull. And an upstart Camera company could make a killing just by harnassing the tools online.

I almost gave up looking, and looked to the FWA as a last ditch effort and found the following microsite. I had looked all over the Nikon company site and had found no doorway to this, or at least completely missed it. I hate that I have to go to the FWA to find something interesting a company has done.

The imagery appears crude at first, but an atmosphere is created using an interesting blend of voice talent and background music. And once you start exploring, the motion only adds to the atmosphere creating something that feels more like a video game interface than a menu for videos.

Video content is the core of the site, full-screen of course. But the videos were built into the site, rather than housed by the site. It's great when the content in a site feels at home rather than placed in a "bucket".


Friday, June 12, 2009

Secret Sleep

Last night was spent working, so I'm a bit tired and wholly unprepared for exploration. However, I've been tinkering around in The Nethernet for the last week or so. I would highly recommend a visit to anyone.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Prepare to Flash #2: Nikon

Today's post is mostly about Nikon, but I did want to include a quick shot from the Polaroid site --

It's the "collection of objects sitting on surface" interface! This is almost as popular as the Rock Band / Guitar Hero mechanic. I'm excited to see how many more we find!

Nikon's US homepage has considerably more life to it than the Canon one. Probably due to less products, but still...
Full-screen images with a filter for searching them, and notes including who the photographer was and what Nikon took the picture. Feels very modern and clean.

Sniffing around a bit further I found the Ashton Kutcher CoolPix site.

This here is their take on demonstrating and contrasting the zoom capabilities of the CoolPix models. You can either choose a camera, or use the zoom toggle in the bottom center to zoom further into the scene.

I really like this - I get it. This is something that would influence my purchase. The zoom technique..not Ashton..just to clarify.

Other than a section for uploading your photo for a chance to get on Ashton's CoolPix ( I don't know that means..but it's creepy for some reason), the only other real meat to this stew is your friend and mine...

The product 360. I haven't seen one of these in awhile. This creature tends to lurk in automotive jungles.

Ok, onward, I go. Hopefully we'll find that one perfect photo before the week is out.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Prepare to Flash #1: Canon

This is not a sudden epiphany for me, nor is it surprising, but goddamn there is a lot of retail on the web. I'm not knocking it, but there's a whiney part of me that's not happy seeing my web-of-a-million-surprises stacked high with lists of items,prices, descriptions, reviews, fuckity-blah-for-blah. Between Amazon, Ebay and every other company with a product to sell, the internet is 90% catalog. Thank god we can't see it all at once.

Strolling through the cramped Canon store I managed to take a few interesting shots.

Canon teamed up with VII Photo Agency to create content for the micro-site above. This makes three sites in the life of this blog that use the "collection of objects sitting on surface as interface" concept. The last two were illustrated, and this one, of course, is photo-realistic. I think I'll put together a collection of most over-used techniques later.

The fellows from VII provided photos for the site, and guess how the photos are displayed...
Seems like a logical interface. However, the buttons are set up for "photo-gallery" navigation. You would think that this would be an excellent spot for getting familiar with the actual controls of the camera.

The camera as an interface is used in other spots in the Canon site as well -
I've never researched camera's before, so I don't know if this is a common mechanic. I guess I'll know more by the end of this week.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bier #5: Stella Artois

Europe takes their Beer sites seriously. Which isn't too surprising, since the beer tends to be better than most American brews. The last site for the week is Stella Artois.

The site starts out with clips from the variety of video that was created just for the site. An earlier edition of the site has a 2-3 minute movella (like that? i do) that followed a timid beer man trying to get his bottle of Stella from the brewery to his bar in 19th century Paris. (i'm guessing on both the year and the city). This movella would stop at certain parts to allow you access to vere off into a subsection of the site. It was done really well and I'm sad to see it chopped into clips. I wonder if it was the public, or a client who didn't like watching the movie over and over when they visited their site.

Other than the video crafted just for the site, and it's many sections, my favorite part of the site is the games. They're done right.

The first set of games are based around the hardships of making beer in the 13th century. Everything from the literal end of the earth, to the wrath of gods, plagued the poor villagers who only wanted to make a good beer. You play 5 games to see if you could keep the taps flowing. The games are beautifully simple and perfectly contextual. The first one, seen above, has you saving the villagers and the hops from tipping over the edge of the world. The villagers and moving objects in the game are actual video layered on an almost painted landscape. You move the mouse to the left or right to balance the world as it begins to tip.

Another one has you saving the barley fields from warring gods. (hint: when the storm hits, click in the clouds).

I won't go into the other ones, but they're all as sweet looking as the ones above.

The other set of games also have a interesting spin on the "send to a friend" mechanic.

There are 4 visual puzzles involving gears, pulleys, nicks and skizzlewits. Although you can solve the puzzles yourself, the real intent of this is to get you to challenge a friend to solve one. If they lose, they owe you a Stella and vice versa.

All of them seem tough. I wonder if they're fixed to always get you a beer. Crafty.

This site is worth a visit. I don't plan on saying that very often in the course of this blog. Not because everything I see isn't worth it, but because I'm more interesting in reporting/exploring than being a "Hey this is cool go look at it" site (which makes up about 95% of blogs it seems). But this site is something else.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bier #4: Bit and Zoogami

The two fish i've found today are flashy darting things that fly by so fast you're left with only the bright trails burned in your imagination.

Bit beer, a German fish I think is only found in European waters, tells you that if you turn on your webcam and scan the label of your bottle you'll get a music track specific to that flavor, as well as a unique light-video to go along with it.

Light video exhibit A.

Gallery exhibit B.

Unfortunately I can't run to my local store and get the beer (at least not where I'm at). If the store down the block did have it, I might consider it. If the site offered to give me a handful of tracks from the person who created the track, I would definitely revisit the site.

Zoogami is an Italian beer, and the site simply asks you to put in a word or phrase that is contemporary in your mind.

I, of course, put Zombies.

What follows (after you enter the word or words and click drink) is a multimedia show pulling in images, videos and music from the web. My show featured The Zombies "She's Not There" as the soundtrack, and alot of interesting visuals....

As quickly as I chanced upon these fish, they were gone. Good thing I brought my camera.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Bier #3: Corona

As I pilot my submarine around the sea of beer sites I'm finding a lot of exotic and colorful creatures. Beer might last the rest of this week.

The Corona Beach site is based on the simple principle of relaxing.

Perfectly in-sync with their advertising, you are placed on a virtual beach that you can click around, and move the camera to the right and left.

There are a few simple activities that garner no award other than to waste time (at least I think - having done them all I didn't find anything new as a result).

My favorite being this one. Where you click and throw your phone into the ocean. KISS.

The content is minimal, except for a section of commercials and wallpapers.

I'm showing this because I'm curious about their presentation of commercials. They offer an embed link, a PSP version, a IPOD version, HD and Standard download versions. For a commercial. I would love so much to see the stats on how many people downloaded these to view later...or forever. I'm being cynical, but if the stats were favorable I'd be overjoyed.


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