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Poke co-founder and creative director Simon Waterfall is a man with
many interests.We caught him hastily preparing for Paris fashion week,
which he's attending on account of his menswear line, Social Suicide. But
it's his company's websites, not his suits (impressive as they are) that have
had the industry frothing at the mouth. For Orange, one of six-year-old
Poke's oldest clients,Waterfall's shop put out two outstanding projects,
which pushed the boundaries of web promotion while looking stylish at
the same time. The first, "Spot the Bull," pitted people against a meandering
bull named Derek who had been fitted with a GPS collar. By guessing
correctly the spot in a farmer's field where Derek would be at 3 p.m. daily,
you could win tickets to Glastonbury, a massive music festival. Derek was
drool-inspiring enough, but then along came "Good Things Should Never
End." Essentially, Poke created a neverending webpage, propagated by all
manner of gizmos and goodies, fun creatures and games and things to
prod and click. Conceived by partner and strategist Iain Tait, the page
continues recycling and recycling until you tire of the nonsensical entertainment
or your browser crashes. On top of all this, the D&AD awards
offered Waterfall the President role for this season and Poke expanded to
the Big Apple in April, with 25 of its 55 employees working in the New
York office. The new shop's homepage caused a bit of a stir—it's a webcam
with a chat and a doorbell; ding for a Poke employee and have a chat.
The site also solicited designers, giving them a chance to make a poster
emblazoned with the company's slogan: Don't Give Up.
On blazing new trails: "It's not the experimental stuff that's getting me
excited; it's some of the big brands that we work with doing the experimental
stuff. You wish every client was like [Orange]. It's not about art.
We're storytellers.We tell stories for our clients. So, in no way is digital an
endpoint. Do they just go to this website? No, they talk about it; it creates
PR. It links up. For me, 2007, we always said it was web plus.Web plus
something else.We never do web projects anymore."