Levi.com (the USA site) is a great extension of the Levi's brand into the interactive world. It adopts the "Tommy/Ralph/Calvin Wore Them" campaign but allows you to participate in the ads in a way that makes you feel like you're kinda part of the brand -- you put in your name and join an immense list of fellow wearers. A little gratuitous, but also a little nice.
Actually, engendering feelings of community is the site's strongest suit. The "MatchMaker" dating service is cool, crass and ingenious. Of course, as soon as I stepped out of the room, John signed me up for dates with lustful older men who like country music, drinking blood and find happily married copywriters exciting. Regardless, I still think MatchMaker is a great service for the brand. I just wish the e-mail propositions would stop.
Designer Organic Online
Arresting use of word and image make nike.com one of the most emotionally powerful sites around. The "Evolution of Skin" gives us the shivers (in a good way). Rather than just tossing a bunch of sneakers into a mundane catalog, the site credibly manages to place products into a more artful and appealing context -- they are part of sport, youth, celebrity, lifestyle and even poetry.
We also had to do a short, appreciatory jig for nike.com's separation of church and state. The annual report, stock quotes, and all the other corporate goop reside off in their own site (nikebiz.com) allowing the consumer site to remain a purer experience. As a client of ours once said, "When you go to Disney World, you want to meet Mickey Mouse, not Michael Eisner."
Designer Organic Online
This is the kind of site that makes us a little embarrassed to be working on the interactive side of things. After seeing all the great work Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has done for this brand, we were expecting a site imbued with the same quirky, exuberant spirit. We were expecting an environment overflowing with vignettes about some architect finding licentious photos of his wife in his briefcase, goats licking photographs or the 'funny-face' guy mugging at parties. We were not expecting tips on crime scene documentation. Admittedly we did wander a bit to find the Polaroid and Law Enforcement section, but not much. Polaroid.com typifies the downfall of sites that try to address the entire world all at once. Anytime you mix a company's quarterly earnings report in with the "Star Gazers" horoscopes, you've got a recipe for inadvertent humor and brand dissolution.
Designer polaroid in house & HMME, boston
THE APPLE STORE
A pristine catalog, virtually devoid of life, personality and voice. If the assignment was to build a well-oiled cash register, mission accomplished (online sales are apparently booming). If the assignment was to burnish the appeal of Apple, seduce customers into buying more products or increase the emotional resonance of the brand, Apple may be entitled to a refund. (To be fair, apple.com does a pretty good job of telling the brand story -- though with considerably less verve than Chiat/Day's print and TV work).
Much like its advertising, Pepsi's Web site is a huge, expensive-looking production that is rife with special effects and entertainment, occasionally out-MTV'ing MTV.
The May issue (it's a monthly) is presided over by a grinning blue and blinking cyber-sprite who embodies the site's sleek persona. In a medium still dogged by cut-and-paste copy and omnipresent clip art, Pepsi World places a premium on original sensory experiences and bombards you (as much as a 28.8 modem allows for bombardment) with pulsing colors, sounds and animations that actually make for a relatively exciting time.
In addition to all the movies, games and music on the site, there is a great Pop Culture section, filled with contests. One catch -- you have to actually join Generation Next to play.
Pepsi.com could stand to improve in two simple ways: be louder and be faster. These improvements, though, really fall on the shoulders of the Internet itself. Hustle up, Internet. Get better, quicker. Don't keep Generation Next waiting.
Designer DDB Interactive
John Young is Chief Creative Officer and Matt Freeman is Executive Creative