Monday, August 31, 2009

Power Up #4: Batman: Arkham Asylum

The newest Batman game is getting a ton of great press. You play Batman sneaking around an in-mate controlled Arkham Asylum. Sounds like a recipe for greatness indeed.

I haven't played the game yet, but the online effort is worth a good word.

This is the Gotham City Municipal website. You'll find current news, links to how to pay your utility bills, and other facts/info on Gotham city. Breaking News - there's been a fire at Blackgate Prison and all the in-mates have been transferred to Arkham. Read the full story.

Then check out the comments. There are some internet forum in-jokes here, but there's also an odd message about strange things happening at the asylum..and an email address to find out more. I emailed of course, because i'm like Mulder up in the shit.

I received a rather long email from a doctor. Long email short, she gave me access to a FTP site where she had put a security video for Blackgate prison that she'd found.

The FTP site.

The security footage (amongst pictures of her family, house and fireworks). It looks like in-game video.

If you carefully watch the video you can find a guard ID number and a password...which you use to hack into:

The Arkham Care site. Where you can snoop around and find files on people. From what I've seen, there are multiple areas to gain access to, and you must find a password for each one. Videos and villian interviews from the staff are just some of the extra content you find.

If you want to spoil it for yourself, or join a conversation - i found info on it here.

ARGs are such a great way to extend the entertainment experience.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Power Up #3: Pokémon Ranger

Friday I'm in love.

Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia for the DS has some tasty clicky tidbits on their site.

Here's a simple and elegant example of some interactivity synergy between game and website. As you know the DS is a touch-screen system that you use a stylus with to play most games. This game apparently revolves around using the stylus to catch pokemon. Maybe that's how all pokemon games are..i don't know i'm admittedly ignorant on das pokemon. Anyway, if you look to the slight left of the blue bird inthe middle of the screen you'll see a stylus and a little pokemon. To get access to the downloads in the site you must catch pokemon through-out the site by circling them with the stylus (which is your mouse pointer of course).

Hunting these little guys opens up wallpapers and downloads of the such.

Ok so sometimes i'm easily amused. Even things like this intrigue me:

The disc in the middle swings around and the balls go from white to yellow as you see all the pokemon in the game.

Hard-hitting exploration here eh? Heh.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Power Up #2: Wolfenstein

Wandering around the dark halls of an ancient german castle, blasting away Nat-zi's, was my first FPS experience. The latest in the 17-year old franchise was just released last week.

I miss seeing more sites like this. Just pure design flexin.

Couple of interesting bits here. The first is a graphic novel webisode series that extends the story line of the game. You can watch it in full-screen as well.

The second strikes me as a very cool idea. The website offers missions to members of the community. These missions earn you points, although I'm not sure what the points get you, if anything (not that it matters...i present xbox achievements as exhibit A). Missions include creating a wallpaper from a picture pack or finishing a story that has been posted.

The web is a perfect place to extend the entertainment of a game, whether it's the story or interactivity. I like to think we're going to see the online advertising and actual games begin to merge into one complete experience.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Power Up #1: Wii Sports Resort

Ah, America's real favorite past-time, the video game. You would think that being in the business of making games, your online presence would overflow with interactive goodness. But that's not really the case for the majority of video game sites.

Nintendo has been really smart however with the Wii online. Everything is about showing you how much fun it is to play.

The new Sports Resort site does simply that with full-screen video of a family playing all the activities in the game. There is a whiney part of me that wants to click around, but it's also the part of me that stares with it's mouth open at pretty objects so they've canceled each other out.

Each activity has a demo video and a person playing it. And that's it. I tried to find more, I really did. I tried to take control of the guy playing the game, and tried to play him playing the game. No go.

I'll see what else we've got out there..


Friday, August 21, 2009

Add Milk #3: Shredded Wheat

"Progress is overrated. Any polar bear will tell you that." - Frank Druffel

The webisode is alive and well, and Shredded Wheat (of all brands) comes sauntering into the arena with confidence and charisma.

The webisodes follow the efforts of Frank Druffel, imagined CEO of Shredded Wheat, to keep the brand from moving anywhere further than where's it's been for the last 100 years. The episodes are clever, humorous, and worth a watch.

Most of the characters have their own Facebook page, and you can watch all the episodes there as well.

I like June the marketer. I know her from somewhere...i just don't know where...


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Add Milk #2: Raisin Bran Crunch

2 scoops of scrumptious shriveled grapes. Raisin Bran Crunch is more of an adult cereal, and it site is slightly more adult as well. (slightly)

Welcome to Crunch Town. Population 1 bobblehead farmer and 1 large cow. There's an interesting thing going on at the bottom of the scene, with the purple and yellow bar. If you click you are asked to vote on whether your favorite part is the raisins or the crunch, and the bar reflects the outcome so far (purple for raisins, yellow for crunch).

Each section is a different part of town, and you're stalked by the cow and the shakey head farmer. I like that in each section the cow tries to convince you to visit the herd at Facebook, and there's always a box of Raisin Bran that clicks through to the pure product page.

This here is a cow-gram. Put a hat on the cow, and type out a message to send to a friend. I typed "I'm a Party cow" in the hopes that it says the words, but it just moo's.

And here is my favorite part. This game involves having the man jump onto a giant udder, and then moving the mouse rapidly up and down to jerk..i mean milk the cow. While this is cartoony and meant to be fun, i felt like I should be hidden in a bathroom stall to play it.

udder fun i suppose. Now that I think about it, I don't see the connection between the cow, farmer and Raisin Bran. Cows don't make Raisins do they?


Monday, August 17, 2009

Add Milk #1: Trix

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Where else do you get all the sugar you need for the day?

Let's talk about Rabbits. Silly ones:

There's no adult end of this pool. It's games games games all around the world.

This is a fun little exploratory section. Clicking on the colored billboards allows you to download coloring sheets of that image. There's rabbits to click on, rabbits riding bicycles, and even a giant T-Rex like rabbit that wanders through occasionally. You'll find odd little scenes if you click around the windows of the buildings. Would be fun to see an adult version of this (i mean adult, not pr0n, dirty rabbit).

No kid's site is complete without a "build your own character" section. You can add your character to the scene, but it doesn't really do anything but sit there on the street.

I just included this because the bowling game has some interesting art.

So much to do on these sites, when do kids find the time to be ADD anymore?


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Furniture #3: Ikea

Ikea has always been an innovator in the interactive space. Which makes perfect sense considering their shopping experience.

I found another room planner, and while it's not Ultimate! (there's an echo when I type the word), it's got a more playful personality than any of the others. Actually it's got a bit of personality...where the others don't.

This planner is made specifically for planning a door room:

There's a How It Works section that plays videos showing you how to use the app. This section is mainly going to be for the parents.

There's preset themes you can modify yourself. The menu is below where you can drag and position the items in the room. This is the Dance Machine theme. It's just missing the huge bong hookah.

Here's what I ended up with. You can't really see it in the pic above, but they tally the prices. Just over 500 bucks for this. Not counting the xbox, computer, stereo system and plasma tv. Which I would have wanted, but not had.

And we close the chapter on furniture. What fun we had.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Furniture #2: Haverty's and Thomasville

You are on the edge of your seat, wondering if I found the ultimate Room Planner, yes?

Well, I may have.

You must wonder, why Snamo? Why do you selflessly search so that I may eagerly consume these interactive morsels brought from the depths of the business web? I do not know kind reader. I only know that i must.

Before we get to the ultimate, there is Havertys furniture:

This one is a combination of the two previous planners we saw. You can view the products, and you can add all the typical things found in living rooms. (besides cats crying for food, lazy dogs and destructive 2-year olds). Like the others the interface is incredibly easy to use, you can place, resize and save your layouts for future reference.

I liked this one the best so far, and noticed it was powered by Icovia. Popping over to their site I found that they create Room Planning software....and this:

sweet. I don't know if this really is the ultimate, but it's a game-ender for me. Build your room and see it rendered in 3D? Done and done my friends.

The above image is from Icovia's site. I went over to Thomasville's site to play with the app first hand but they require you to create an account before you get access to it.

Are you fucking kidding me? I have enough fucking accounts on the web. I don't need to remember another fucking password. alkdgja;lgd. So, I didn't sign up.

And one more thing, they don't hint at this delicious app on their site at all. In fact I had sniffed around this site Monday and left because there was nothing that seemed interesting. If I had an app like this for people to use, I'd advertise that on the homepage.

Maybe it's all a hoax. I can live with not knowing. Make me register, ha.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Furniture #1: Lazy-Boy and Modern Line

I seemed to have been sucked into a black hole between last Wednesday and today. Somewhere along the way I lost Friday's blog post. It was incredible, but lost forever.

We're starting off this next set with Furniture. Exciting!

No different than most industries online, Furniture is pretty straight forward. Product on display, buy product online, smile and repeat.

One piece of interactivity that pops out though is the Room Builder. I think I'll focus on that for the next few posts to see if we can't find the best one out there.

Lazy-Boy's Room Builder

Simple to use, nice thumbs of the furniture on the left. You can click "more info" on them:

Seems like a no-brainer.

The only thing I didn't like is that you can't select TV's or other none furniture items to put into your room. I assume it's because they don't sell TV's etc. But they could at least offer plain boxes that you could size to give you an idea of room placement.

Modern Line's Room Builder

This builder is a bit more involved, and has that snazzy measuring tape thingy. This one allows you to put in a lot more types of objects. The only con is that you don't have thumbs of the actual merchandise.

I'm going to keep looking for others, but I'm wondering how long before someone makes the end-all Room Builder app. Or if i'm just very late and there is one out there. Seems like nowadays you could add a Room Level view and see the room in 3D from different angles.

i guess like this


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Shampoo #4: Aussie and a little Pantene

Ok, this is the last batch of hair-product sites. While this is not the worst industry so far, it's definitely been a bit boring.

The post isn't about Pantene, but I had to include a screenshot ...

Black! That's 4 for 4. I've yet to see an industry that sticks to one color like this one. I've seen designs killed because so-and-so brand owns such-and-such color. But not in Hair. Black owns hair.

Then there's Aussie -

Purple baby. I had a creative director once that hated the color purple online. I'm sure this would've caused some mouth-frothing action. I can forgive the color, but I'm a little worried about the creepy kangaroo and his intentions with the lady. Like a plum Grima Wormtongue.

Saturation aside, the one thing I really like about this site is the navigation on the left. "Tell Us Why You're Here", and a drop down with reasons you may be visiting. I've been wanting to do a nav like that for awhile, but it's hard to break people (cough..clients) out of the standard sectioned menu. Actually, and honestly, I had forgotten about it for years now..and I think it's time to ressurect it.

A nav like this makes sense. Instead of bucketing your content into single words or two, give someone an option more in line with what they may be thinking. Use single words when that's the best option of course.

I'd like to see a video game site that had a menu that used this sort of navigation instead of industry terms like "FPS, Action, Adventure" etc. Aren't all video games Adventure? Maybe the nav could be "I like to break shit.", "I like to put on my wizard hat and talk in a funny accent", or "Mindless jumping and shooting.".

just sayin.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Shampoo #3: Paul Mitchell

The third hair-related product site in this series boasts another all-black site.

There must be some magical connection between hair and the color black.

Ok, but it's not all black:

This little flash microsite hightlights green or humanitarian hair-dressers. All wearing black. Wizards, all of them.

Nothing here that couldn't be accomplished better with a solid Facebook or Myspace campaign. The microsite is just a few profiles and a few sections on the things you could be doing to better the earth/society etc. I will admit that, other than that odd little game on the tresemme site, this is a step above the competitors.

I guess this makes Paul Mitchell the philanthropist shampoo. and me sleepy.


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