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Ad Agency Goes Old-School, Models Home Page After Original 'Thefacebook'

Next Up: AIM Chat Box and Friendster Profile

By Published on . 1

Long before it was telling the world it was a "mobile company" and enticing users to buy Valentine's Day gifts, Facebook was Thefacebook, a collection of blue-hued online profiles exclusive to Ivy League students. Now, digital agency Attention wants to remind you of the social network's nascent days by redesigning its website to look like an original Thefacebook profile, circa 2004.

theattention

The retro redesign went live Thursday morning and includes a shot of Martha Stewart being escorted by police, a popular photo when she was sentenced to jail in 2004, and a pop-up explaining the redesign's purpose.

For Attention founder Curtis Hougland, the move is about emphasizing the evergreen importance of social media regardless of platform.

"We're just trying to prove the point that tech comes and goes, but social behavior is permanent," Mr. Hougland said. "We're trying to contrast how short lived tech is, but how long-lasting the needs to socialize and share are. ... It doesn't matter if Facebook survives or not. Something else will take its place."

Attention's nostalgia-inducing campaign will continue into the coming months, unveiling on the third Thursdays (it's trying to capitalize on an internet meme, "Throwback Thursdays) new home-page redesigns that recall even earlier social networks. While the home-page overhaul will last the entire month, the rest of the website will remain it usual form.

In March, the Attention home page will be made to resemble an AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) chat box. The following month, the site will be constructed to look like a Friendster profile. (For those who came of age pre-2002, Friendster was an early social network in the same vein as MySpace; it is now a Malaysian gaming site.)

Three of the agency's clients had been notified about the redesign and did not express any concern about it effecting their brand image.

The redesign, after all, was mostly about having fun, Mr. Hougland said.

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