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FLASHBACK: 1.Oohhh to 2.WOAH!

December 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Mashable released yesterday a screen-shot list of our favorite Web sites when they were just wee little web-tots in their “What the World’s Biggest Web Sites Looked Like at Launch.”

 
The list includes Google, YouTube, Facebook (then, “The Facebook”), Yahoo, Amazon, Twitter, The New York Times and MySpace. Some of the most shocking landing pages include Amazon and Yahoo, both launched in 1995, with some pretty archaic Web design that would certainly stupefy the Bieber-fever-Twitter-Texting-iPad-thriving teeny boppers of today. Surprisingly (and yet totally expected), Google’s 1998 design has kept a consistent, simple primary-color aesthetic for the last 13+ years, albeit the interactivity of its interface has gone through a major face lift with the Web 2.0 revolution.

Web 2.Woah, which has brought us the entertaining, dynamic and interactive elements of Web sites today, is a product of how Web technology functions have changed over time, most obviously since the mid-90’s when the Internet took off in its awkward-teenage-brace-face-Clearasil phase. (Still confused on what Web 2.0 really is? Check out Richard MacManus’ insight from ZD Net.)

The “pretty” landing pages we enjoy now are here in large part, again, due to the morphing of behind-the-scene technologies that changed from multiple calls to the server to an open-line system. In a nut shell, this idea can be broken down as a change from question-answer-question-answer (or click, contact publisher, wait, load new page, view new page, repeat) to a fluid conversation with a lot less waiting for the user.

The faces of these sites are obviously more fun to look at now, but the past shows us that the backbone of the system has actually made the experience of surfing the Web a more people-centered one.

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Taking 15 Seconds to Make it TRULY Interactive…

November 27, 2011 Leave a comment

My Thanksgiving holiday was spent in New York City, among mobs of tourists and high-flying parade balloons. And in a city with consumers galore who are wheeling and dealing from Canal Street to Fifth Avenue, advertisers have to get creative to sway the spenders their way.

We’ve all seen the handbills, taxi cab ads and billboards the size of a building’s facade, but I quickly took notice of all the people in the middle of Times Square staring up…at themselves within an advertisement. Interactive billboards are becoming all the rage worldwide — be sure to check out this entertaining Top 10 list from Mashable — and marketers are getting more and more creative to pull eyeballs, and wallets, in their direction. Certainly, the primary “call to action” for customers in this American Eagle Times Square ad is to have customers walk into the store on which the ad is hanging. And while this marketing effort proves to be an attention grabber in all its fifteen-second-of-fame glory, I must pick a small bone with its creators…

Do they have Facebook? Twitter? A Web site? Yes?? Well, where is that information on the billboard and why isn’t it listed there? Every single non-interactive sign surrounding the American Eagle ad has their social media and online information hanging over everyone’s head, literally — so how could they leave it out? I’m not sure which came first (the Eagle or the…), but the interactive sign for Forever 21 — located directly across Broadway from the AE sign — lists a live stream of tweets from F21 followers, in addition to their hash tag and Web site info.

I’m not sure how easily this information can be added to a digital board that spans at least ten floors high, but I can’t imagine that it is an impossible fix during their next update. With such great real estate in the middle of the city that never sleeps, you’d think they could at least take advantage of the thousands of eyes peering at them every day!

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2011: The Year of J. Lo

November 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Jenny from the block is back, y’all.

Like, in and out and around it – all over the block. If you’ve watched any television this year, you’ve been hit over the head with Jennifer Lopez and, likely, something she’s selling.

From lip-gloss and razors to European compact cars and her own low-cost clothing line, Ms. Lopez is representing it. At any given moment today, more than ten commercials – that’s four brands – could be seen on television with J. Lo as the centerpiece. Not including other brand associations like Coca-Cola and Ford who sponsor “American Idol,” of which Lopez is a judge, she is currently a brand ambassador for Gillette Venus razors, L’Oreal cosmetics, the Fiat 500 automobile and Kohl’s department store. (And, unfortunately, the on-screen time here does not include advertisements for her 2011-released “Love” album and tabloid-news scoops of her divorce from Mark Anthony.)

While research to back me up is pretty shallow, I feel confident saying that you’d be hard-pressed to find another celebrity out there right now with as many overlapping product spots to her name.

Honestly, I think the decision by advertisers to choose the beautiful Lopez as their campaign’s voice after, say, she already had two other companies under her belt is… uncreative?… lazy?… cheap?… stupid? Personally, whenever she pops up on the boob tube nowadays, I just exhale an unbelieving sigh and try to figure out what she’s selling me this time. It’s exhausting trying to remember what I should buy next from her and, quite frankly, it all just starts to blend together…which I’m thinking can’t be in the brands’ best interests. (Until this post, I could only recall one name of the brands she represents, though I’m fully aware of her current domination of the airwaves.)

She does look great driving what is probably a tough sell in SUV-loving America…and I’m sure every woman would love to use the same cosmetic products as one of People Magazine’s Most Beautiful in 2011…and she does sell glam-garments-on-a-budget well (she is Jenny from the Block, after all). And while I don’t agree with how many spots are overlapping right now, I must throw some kudos to the one-strike marketers who have intelligently created a few online-appropriate behind-the-scenes, interviews and quirky-skit ads, found within their corporate YouTube channels.

Check ‘em out…

Just Another Day at the Office – Kohl’s (1)

Just Another Day at the Office – Kohl’s (2)

EverSleek Behind the Scenes – L’Oreal

PS — She has an app.…is this real life?!

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