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MARKETER: Electronic Data Systems Corp.


CRITIQUE: We feel your pain, marketers and agencies. We've seen you create TV spots that are cinematic, sprawling, special-effect-filled extravaganzas; ads with humor, plot and characterization; commercials with conflict, theme and narrative-all those things we learned about in literature classes in seventh grade.

We've imagined you racking your collective minds in meetings to decide how to take this work and translate, integrate and recreate it on that Internet thing. We've wondered if it is with inspiration or resignation that someone finally says, "Let's make a Shockwave game."

Electronic Data Systems Corp., the technology services provider started by Ross Perot, is shelling out for a :60 spot on the Super Bowl with its new "Herding cats" theme. It's shot with all the genre-specific majesty of a Western. It is everything that the Internet is not, currently, as an advertising medium.

So what is the Internet as an advertising medium? Is the full power of the medium explored by driving people to a Web site where they can experience the fun and frustration of herding cats by playing the role of Dusty, Sal or Earl as they round up fickle felines into the online corral? Does the customer learn more about EDS and its services than he or she could from a TV or print ad? Does EDS learn more about its customers than it does from a count of banner impressions? Do customers get that warm, fuzzy feeling from playing with EDS' cats? Not really.

It is a fun little game for a company trying to reinvent itself as a fun little company. Integration should not only carry the theme through, but also play off the strengths of different media. Unfortunately, this offering does not.

WHO CREATED IT: EDS with Duffy Design & Interactive, Minneapolis.

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