Monday, December 7, 2009

Gray Matters #3: Jekyllism

Bringing a close to the Web Ailments series is a multiple personality disorder that could possibly be the father of both the Atlas Syndrome and Sectionitis. Jekyllism is a war between the rational and the emotional, and it’s older than the web.

Jekyllism affects all advertising creative, from TV to Web. It’s a war where one side wants every bit of information about the product in a commercial, and the other wants to infuse an emotional connection to make the spot memorable. The battlefield is the limitations of the medium, whether it’s 60 seconds, or the size of a piece of paper. More often than we’d like, the advertising produced is merely the outcome of the war. It takes intelligence, patience and sometimes a strong ego to hold Jekyllism in check.

You would imagine that if you took away the 60 second limitation, or the dimensional restraint of a printed page, then we could reach a blissful dream land where anything is possible. The website,with it’s potential for a hundred million doorways, and cubby holes, and the ability to offer doorways within doorways…could very well be the promised land.

But it’s not. Because the disorder that has affected traditional advertising for so long has it’s hands all over our websites. There is no better or more obvious place to see this then the homepage of most sites.

Jekyllism is trained to fight in a finite space, so it’s dug trenches in the one crucial page to any website. It’s made a website finite by deciding that everything that is needed to be said, should be said on the homepage. and “Above The Fold”. For those who aren’t familiar with the Fold, it’s the area that a visitor views before they need to scroll down.

We’ve taken a multi-dimensional space and built a box.

On homepages you’ll see Mastheads with multiple messages, accompanied by Promo-Boxes with multiple messages, with Text boxes of multiple messages, you’ll see Navigations drop down with multiple ways to get to every page on the site, your head will spin with all the options, pictures and words. All crammed together, fighting for your attention.

If you want to see a great example of this – visit godaddy. Or visit a site with products that have a lot of features.

In mediums with finite space, Jekyllism will continue to be a problem. Online media with it’s little boxes will be subjected to the battle. But when it comes to your website, the figurative drive needs to be reformatted.

Peace can be achieved for Jekyllism because there is space enough for both sides on your website. The website is not a store, it’s not physically limited, and it doesn’t have just one doorway. In fact, your visitors will enter from all sides at any time. The answer will not be to put as much content as possible on every page, but to take a step back and let both sides of Jekyllism decide the best possible way to achieve their goals..across the entire site.

That ends the Website Ailments series. While Jekyllism, Sectionitis, and the Atlas Syndrome are all still found on the commercial web, I find that it gives me great hope. These are ailments either inherited from old think, or a result of just trying to figure this web thing out. Which means, to me, that the truly great stuff is still to come.


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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."

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