Friday, July 31, 2009

Shampoo #2: Tresammé

There are not many reasons to use the color black as the background of your site. It makes text harder to read, and is generally uncomfortable. The wonderfully sarcastic saying "CAPSLOCK IS CRUISE-CONTROL FOR COOL" could be used for the color black as well.

And..on to Tresamme:

Style news, How-To videos and Expert advice. The trifecta for any self-respecting hair product site.

The Styleseeker portion is a blog for beauty/fashion products. Looks up-to-date with postings just a few hours ago, and has been around for over a year, but is missing any notable comment activity. This made me interested in seeing what kind of activity was going on in the Community section.

No post since last fall that I could see. If you read some of the posts you might find a clue as to why.

"Love the Simply No Frizz Spray Gel. My hair is curly, which I totally love, but it can get really frizzy, which I hate! This product works the best for me."

This is what the Social Media evan's are talking about. People talking about your brand. To themselves mostly. Imagine a thread of ten posts like that. I wouldn't stick around's kinda creepy.

A Forum isn't a Field of Dreams. And a Game does not equal more time on site.

Yes I said Game!

This is an interesting little piece. It's a time-management game where you have to balance helping people in a salon, money and products. The product fits seamlessly into the concept. When you click to work on someone's hair, the game offers you the choice of Tresamme's products.

There are hundreds of Flash game portals out there. If you make a unique and interesting game for your product..why not post it on those portals?


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shampoo #1: Redken

The word Shampoo doesn't make any sense. "Sham" is "something that is not what it purports to be" and "poo" is..well. Put the two words together and it's a product you use to wash your hair.

I will admit that this is the first time I've ever surfed a shampoo site. You might be sitting there judging me, but I am not ashamed.

The first brand into the shower is Redken:

If you missed the lower half of the page - Redken is on Facebook. I'm going to make an assumption here, most shampoo sites will have input from Experts, How-to's on the latest styles, and Fashion do's and don'ts. Here are a few things that might set Redken apart from those other shampoo sites.

Do you have hair? Do you want to set up a hair profile on Redken?

This guy will walk you through the steps to figuring out what your hair needs to be the best it can be. He is an "Education Artistic Director" for Redken. Odd grammar aside, there are a lot of video bits strung together here. Might be more effective to make this piece your Masthead instead of hiding it in a section.

You can also visit the Redken news-room of sorts:

The Hair Files are also featured on the Redken channel on Youtube. 100k+ views.

I didn't find a game..but I did find a widget!

Finding a widget is like undressing someone you've just brought home and finding a small stubby tail sprouting from the small of their back.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Fizzopolis #3: Pepsi

As I mentioned friday, Pepsi has a lot goin on-line.

I'm just going to point out a few things I found. The pepsi homepage has always been a product of Flash and love. If I remember right, I think Pepsi was one of the first big commercial sites to create a noteworthy Flash homepage.

One thing Pepsi is doing online is a series of pages based around the idea of Refresh X. X being Culture, Music, Sports, Goodworks or Everything. Each of these pages highlights activities or deeds done that fit the refresh theme.

There was an abandoned elevated railroad track on NY City's west side that 2 guys turned into a small park. This above is a virtual tour of that park. It's first-person view and feels like your following along with the person holding the camera.

Pepsi is also all over the YouTube front. They have their own channel called PopTub. The description is: "We make YouTube videos about YouTube videos on YouTube. It's not that complicated." Reminds me of Rocketboom, but just for YouTube.

And lastly, to further cement Rock Band into our cultural psyche, you can now win an MTV Video Award for your own Rock Band video submission. thank you Pepsi?


Friday, July 24, 2009

Fizzopolis Sprawl

I didn't get to the page here until late tonight, or yesterday rather, and thought i'd pop over real quick to Pepsi and see what they've got going on. Ha.

Then I popped over to Coke.

Nothing quick about these sites. These sites have their own zip codes. Cavern systems where, if you don't have a map or a native guide, your bound to find yourself with bruises on your skull and the flitter of ad bats in your ears. Ok it's late, I'll be back monday with more specifics.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fizzopolis #2: Dr. Pepper

I took some time to look at the coolers today in my local market to refresh my memory of the brands of soda (or pop) available. Not much has seemed to change since I was a kid. Different flavors of the same ol' soda.

Today in the arena is an old gladiator we've all grown up with:

I didn't get thirsty, but it's a classy display.

Found two especially interesting pieces here:

This app is for building things out of Dr. Pepper 12 pack cases in a isometric tetris setting. I wasnt sure what to build so I checked out the gallery.

Smart and sexy with a simple scrubber that allows for X, Y, and Z viewing.

There's also an Augmented Reality portion to this, where you can see your creation in full 3D. AR is enjoying a bit of an underground buzz right now. I'm guessing every agency has some cool renegade digital creatives trying to pitch an AR concept.

The second piece is a driving game to coincide with their Camaro give-away.

I'm gonna make a list at some point of the best tailor-made games I've seen so far, and this one will be in the top 5. Not for gameplay, but for concept. You drive the camaro through a google-maps generated satellite view. The best part is that you can supply your own route and race the Camaro through that. Great combo thinking and could've been it's own site...


Monday, July 20, 2009

Fizzopolis #1: Mountain Dew

The O.G. of Energy drinks.

It's amazing to me that with all the talent we have in the web design world, we still have major brands with sites like this:

All the personality of algae. Other than a quirky low-budget video on the History of Dew (ok it's a little charming) there isn't much to the site. Ok, I lie, there's games! Small strange little games that skitter about in the moss. I caught a couple of these odd creatures and pinned them up for you -


Move over EA.

I almost decided to explore a different industry when I clicked through to one of their promotional sites.

Now this was more to my liking. The "Check out our brand art done by featured artists" thing is as common as .. mold? (i've stretched my metaphor and hear it's skin tearing). But the site has an old-school flash feeling that made me want to click around a bit.

I'm glad I did because this is a rather advanced design tool hidden in the site's depths.

Why do we continuously come up with great ideas to shove into sites, instead of making that great idea the whole site. Want to kill a good idea? Make it a section of a website. Sections of websites get a fraction of the budget. The website gets the full budget. I'm not going to visit the artist pages...but if you showed me the artists while I designed something with your tool, I'd probably check them out.

How bout making the tool the homepage. The information you have (ie. artists, events) could be expand/collapse boxes on the right. The white drawing area could serve both as a canvas, and an image area for the artists bottles. Ah 20/20 or some shit.

I see this in sites everywhere. There are great ideas suffering from sectionitis. A tragedy.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Beep Beep #6: Mazda



are just a few pieces of a rather extensive ARG Mazda pulled off in Quebec. TV spots, live events, and a ton of interactive bits....the full details are here.

I'm a bit late to the show, as this is already over, but commercial ARG's are such exotic and rare beasts I had to report it. If you ever get a chance to work on one, take it, they're quite a ride.

That wraps up autos for now, although I know there's a lot more out there. I'm sure I'll cycle back to them soon enough.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beep Beep #5: I'm A JEEP

Jeep's site has personality peeking around every corner. Sad to say, it's a factor that is overlooked in most manufacturers websites. Jeep also has a thriving community base, but today I'm more interested in clicky/draggy things. Take what we saw at BMW yesterday and then see how pro's do it. (gotta give props where due).

This is a masthead demonstrating features for the Grand Cherokee. Fluid, clean and oozin with clickosity (the factor that makes you want to click things).

The DVD section has you picking up the remote and changing the channels (Nickelodean, Disney etc) before the "Backseat Attention Span" runs out.

Heated seat demonstation. Starts out with tons of snow (above), but when you click the heater the snow melts. KISS.

This section is the jewel for the interactive junkies. You drag and drop an object onto the road and watch the wheels run over it. Of course, the coffee never spills.

Now isn't all this better than some video?


Monday, July 13, 2009

Beep Beep #4: BMW

If BMW has a fancy pants microsite or big web endeavor going on right now I didn't find it. Ah the days of BMW films...still the best commercial webisodes yet IMHO.

I did find a quirky bit of flash though. If you've been following the blog here you know that I've been calling out certain over-used interactive mechanics. This piece has not one but two!

Number #1: The Ol' "Objects Laid Out On a Surface" Trick!

Number #2: The "Book"

When in doubt, these two tricks can bail you out.

I almost left to see what other sites I could find (remembering my perhaps ill-stated promise from Friday), but then I saw this.

You can't really tell from the picture, but you drag and drop an engine (thumbnails at bottom) into the car. The hood opens and everything. Then the comics to the left change depending on the engine you chose.

Amazing? no. not at all. refreshing? a little. In a world of hotspots, a guy misses a little drag and drop action. Most often you do not see anything beyond a click in B-flash pieces. You only get that kinda of weird shit in the A-flash. It's been years since I saw commercial pieces like this. Either this was done by a newb, or someone nostalgic.

Check this action out:

This image leaves a bit to the imagination, but if your imagination is telling you that lines on either side of the vehicle move back and forth to reveal different images of the car, listen to it!

lol. This is a trick I haven't seen in a long long time. Suddenly i'm having fun.

The last bit tip the scales from fun with a smirk, to fun with ... well.. writing a post.

When you select a color, the jet turbine behind the car turns on and blows the color onto the car. Not something I've seen before.

Reminds me of an idea I had a bit ago..and now i'm sad. But it's a happy sad.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Beep Beep #3: Lexus

Mastheads are getting big play nowadays. This one from Lexus is where you end up from following a TV spot link.

Some ideas just never die. I think it's due to new people turning their TV and Print minds towards the interactive side. Ideas that were tossed around 10 years ago, some tossed out, come shambling back like zombies, hungry for your clicks. Like the "Let's give the visitor the ability to change the color of our page!", or "Let's ask them questions!".

This masthead is an example of the latter. You click a hotspot and watch a short video, and then you're asked a question like: "What would keep you warm when the top is down?".

If your answer is something the masthead recognizes..

The top pops and you get a witty answer.

If you type in something dirty...

The car drives off.

Simple stuff. It seemed a bit more fun when I was actually doing it, but now that I'm writing about it, i'm thinking about taking a nap.

Better things from the auto industry to week.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Beep Beep #2: Saturn

The website "masthead" has become a pillar of standards in commercial websites over the years. Typically this is a place for announcements, promotional slideshows, and the occasional video. Saturn took their masthead above and beyond the typical paginated slide presentation.

Their masthead is a neighborhood, complete with joggers, cars passing by and people busy in their yards.

You can click and drag to scroll the scene to the right or left and see what the family next door is up to. Of course every house has a Saturn parked out front, and sometimes one passes you as you move through the neighborhood.

Each moving piece in the neighborhood is clickable, leading to other portions of the site for more information.

I count at least 16 different scenes before you completely loop.

In a world where "interactive" has taken a backseat to "social", or in some cases, regarded as the same word (ugh!)..its' nice to see some people are still experimenting and creating things other than just buttons or videos.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Beep Beep #1: Honda Fit

Advertising for cars online has a unique set of challenges. To me, the biggest challenge is taking a product with up to, or over, 100 features and producing something that is informative but engaging at the same time (and isn't an infomercial).

Today, the Honda Fit's "Race To Defend Fit City."

If you remember the campaign from a few months back, you saw vicious cgi bug-like vehicles chasing the Honda Fit in the TV spots. Online they took this a bit further and created a simple game that has you racing and out-maneuvering the Fuelivores. The game is set up to allow you to play from the Fit's point of view, or the bad guys. However, you cannot play the bad guys until you've finished the Fit's story line first.

The game's intro highlights features that make sense within the context of the story, and none of it feels out of place or forced.

The gameplay is simple, you use the arrow keys to move right or left to dodge things in the road. Every now and then you have to press the spacebar to make your Fit turn into a giant blowfish and lose the Fuelivore on your tail.

A real cool feature to this game is that pressing W or I at anytime will create a Wallpaper or Icon.

Pressing "I" will pause the game and give you a target box to use to catch the perfect icon.

At the end you can check out a 360 0f the vehicle, and some close-ups of the Fuelivores. And of course there are hotspots. You don't see hotspots so much in other industries as you do in the auto world. They are the dry-hump of interactivity.

There aren't any hotspots on the Fuelivores, which makes me slightly sad, but I won't complain.


Friday, July 3, 2009


I vill be back next vonday.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Crunchy #4: Crumbs in the Bag

It appears there is a large drop-off after Doritos and Cheetos when it comes to online deliciousness in the Chip/Crunchy snack food arena. I have learned that most everything is owned by Frito-Lay, the Clear Channel of the crispy world.

So today we'll wrap this topic up with some bits and pieces.

Cape Cod chips concentrates most of their web effort on promoting the Cape Cod area itself.

There's video tours of Cape Cod's history, e-postcards..and even a crappy little trivia game:

I say crappy because if you don't live in the area, you won't know the answers and there's no clues.

I had great hopes for Rap Snacks. I thought the site might exciting, yo. But the intro movie of someone climbing out of a sewer to grab a bag of chips off the ground...ew?

The best the site has to offer are some downloads of indie hip-hop singles.

And finally, after some sweat and maybe a few tears...i found a quasi-360 of a bowl of chips. Pita chips to be exact:

This may be a world first.

The site is rather elegant, but is just a product display, nothing more.


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