WHERE TO FIND IT: cnnfn.com and elsewhere
CRITIQUE: A child stares in wonder at a big computer, which for some reason is situated in the middle of a park. Text: "They're so complex that only a handful of wizards understand their inner workings."
The banner that took us to this page is a rich-media ad that allows surfers to water plants and make the wind blow. The plants grow and then take the consumer to a microsite about the IBM e-business server or "magic box."
We suppose the point is to liken servers to plants. The average American understands that plants germinate and grow, but doesn't necessarily want to be bothered with all that botany stuff. Rather, we'd like to just think that science is magic and leave it at that.
It's an interesting tactic. Forget the techs -- go after the executives who have no clue how their companies actually function and get them to think of IBM in that vapid, "I don't care, it just works," kind of way. The ads don't talk about how fast it goes from zero to 60, just about the smooth ride and rich Corinthian leather.
This ad makes great use of animation, interaction, and sound to draw the user in and deliver its message in a quick, meaningful way. Regardless of the rest of the strategy, it gets all sorts of non-techs involved.
Good interactive marketing isn't magic, but it doesn't have to be rocket science either.