Monday, June 11

Advertising the web.

Since I am working at the agency that supports me in paying my bills an ongoing job is the development of the new website. During this 4 years nothing has changed and we still have an boring and grey old one. But while surfing around the "agency web" it seems to be quite obvious that a lot of agencies put all their creativity into the work they do for their clients. Don't get me wrong, that's good. That's how they make the money. But don't you think, as well, it's a bit curious that people who get paid for developing brilliant and efficient communication for other companies often show a lack off brilliance and creativity when it comes to their own website? What's quite interesting is that the most creative agencies in the world sometimes have the most uninspiring and uninteresting websites. Let's take a look at some of them. For example the webiste of Crispin, Porter+Bogusky. Definitely one of the, maybe the most creative agency, producing groundbreaking work in all genres. But the website is held minimalistic in light grey, dark grey and even darker grey. With slices of red and some pictures. Everything is structured clear. Could be the website of a bank as well. Or a insurance company. The same goes out to BBH. With their black sheep in a horde of white sheep, their philosophy is crystal clear. When the world zigs, zag. Brilliant. But the rest of the site is, well, quite minimalistic. Some case studies, facts and stuff. Mostly without picture. Maybe it's understatement of one of the most brilliant agencies of the last decades. But doesn't the internet deserve a bit more? Probably that's what Strawberryfrog thought. Great creative reputation, they are in charge of some of the most exciting brands worldwide, directing all the good stuff that comes out from their Amsterdam headquarter. But except the lovely frog that is walking around, the website is made without great love. The rest is a normal business site in pinstriped corporate identity. Though they have an online shop where you can buy frogism shirts what is quite nice. To make this one short: the website of M&C Saatchi is handcrafted to fit Maurice Saatchi's "everthing has to become more simple"-paradigm. It's very simple and unfortunately very unentertaining. Nothing special. Only facts & figures, approach, work, press section and contact. Just what you expect. Nothing that does touch the heart or stomach. But put together all are wonderful and great compared to what Scholz & Friends is calling their website. It's yellow, it's a mess, it's worse than most insurance company websites. The eye doesn't know where to look first and the menu can't help a little. Is "No. 1 in Poland!", "Copytest", "Lore's Law" and "Strategic Alliances" the kind of information you would put into the main header if you were one of the most creative agencies in Europe? Aren't there some more exciting things to tell? And what's that "Efficiency Booster" supposed to be? Another unnecessary ad tool? Corporate toadiness? I am sorry, but could the "Orchestra of Ideas" please put some more hours into practising? Three better examples are what WCRS, Leagas Delaney and 180 call their home on the web. WCRS and Leagas Delaney are quite similar: big pictures fot the eye and entertaining factor and a well structured menu to guide you through the site. They don't offer more information than the others but these facts are wrapped in a better looking paper, I think. 180 even has a cream topping because they explain the main facts about their agency visually. Unfortunately these facts are more serious now than they were one year ago. Anyway it is a well done website. The next one is really, really cute. And though I don't know much more about the agency than the fact that Paul Colman is a planner there now, I think RKCR/Y&R not only have an incredible hard to remember name - Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalf - but a lovely and sweet website, as well. I don't know much about their work, clients or creative reputation, but I am getting more and mor interested as soon as all those funny little heads start walking around in my browser. I can even chase them around. This one is really done with love. Looks like handcrafted and leaves a nice feeling about the agency with that hard to keep in mind name. Even more lively it the website of former German creative hotshop Aimaq.Rapp.Stolle. It looks cheap. It may look a bit porn. But after clicking around you see there went a lot of work and love into their webhome. Everything is quite flashy and gaudy, there is a hidden Michael-Jackson-fanpage link and they plug their own magazine, music label and interactive agency. Woo. Nothing for people suffering from epilepsy. Another German creative flagship. This time a bigger one. Based on a radar the menu of the site of Jung von Matt is really interesting. But the intro featuring their symbol, the Trojan horse, and some parts of their "brand core" are slightly menacingly and disturbing. It somehow has the touch of a sect, speaking about "our seven guiding principles" or "our great model" and calling the agency an "idea power plant". A bit bigmouthed, isn't it? Anyway the website is done visually nice and according to the fact that they have a lot, lot, lot to say it's well structures. Only there is a questionaire where users can check, if they are the right client for Jung von Matt. I tried to be the most fucking asshole-client in the world and they still want to meet me. Hmm? The new website of Wieden+Kennedy is worth a look as well. Flashy. Colourful. A visually nice way to guide users through their site is the tag cloud combined with the timeline on their landing page. Looks so tomorrow. No more words needed, just see. In the queue of such brilliant agencies like BBH, Wieden+Kennedy and BBH one shouldn't be missed: Abbott Mead Vickers. Though some years old, maybe already having a hunch, it's still a good example for an agency showing the power of a simple idea thought it's website. All examples of work are shown as drawings and you will know every single on of them. What more can an agency say / show? It has all the information, simple structered and a lovely handcrafted visual appearance. A good example to lead over to my favourite agency website right now: Fallon London. From the first second the "we just have done it all by ourselves" look and feel is creating a cozy atmosphere in front of my Mac. After every reload a bunch of nice people will say "We are Fallon". Boom. And there they have you. Instantly you start clicking around, there is a picture of everyone working there. Very personal. And though it may probably not be state of the art or what other fucking rubbish, for me it's a brilliant site. Not too technical, not too much business but therefore personal, a bit messy, very human. Really love it. Give it a go. When talking about agency websites additionally one page must be mentioned because it has a brilliant, simple idea, new menu and is slightly spectacular. Maybe that's why it was awarded with a black pencil at D&AD 2006. I am talking about, you all know it, the website of Leo Burnett. Finally the most unusual agency website ever, or maybe since I am in advertising and paying attention to agency websites, definitely is the one of kesselskramer. Every time you reload the page there will be a different content. From pizza delivery service to girls in uniforms. And the crazy thing is that every of these weird pages contains work of the agency. And their address. No corporate toadiness. Just a friendly "we don't care" attitude. Brilliant. Okay this may have been my longest post. I thought it is quite interesting. Maybe you can find some nice stuff in it as well. Probably I will update new websites every week or so. As some kind of blog regular. If you see an interesting agency site, just put it in the comment section and I will include it in the next post. Thanks for attention.


Blogger Charles Frith said...

Thats a hell of a post Seb. I guess one of the important points is that a website has no real contextual relationship to interruptive television communications.

So, a website should be a business card. I actually use some of those sites when I want to call them up and some bury the telephone number away. Which is dumb. So it should be either a business card or full on dialogue community like Naked New York. Arguably theirs is over transparent but at least testing the transparency water and working out what works.

11:54 pm, June 12, 2007  

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