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In the beginning there was the static banner ad. But interactive advertising has evolved. Recently, there has been the animated banner and the rich media advertisement.

Marketing sites themselves continue to be more and more dynamic, while still recognizing that there needs to be function as well as form. This year's Advertising Age Best winners for Interactive use technology well to achieve reasonable and functional goals that advance the marketing efforts of the brands.

Best branding site

Volkswagen of America's

Arnold Communications, Boston

VW brings to the Web the turbocharged functionality coupled with the lovable style and design expected from the Beetle. The site carries the themes from the print and TV ads. This effort supported the launch of the turbo update to the immensely popular new Beetle.

The site makes extensive use of Macromedia's Flash technology to animate the car, bringing the Beetle to life on the computer screen with all the motion of the TV spots. Standard features of the site include dealer locators, cost calculators, feature comparisons and the chance to download the popular TV spots.

Best e-commerce site

Metropolitan Museum of Art's

Icon Nicholson, New York

One of the world's most notable art collections went online via With an easy-to-navigate and use store, the site emphasizes member discounts on all items to help drive membership. The bulk of the site follows the old Web axiom that content is key. Hundreds of items from the Met's permanent collection are archived here complete with descriptions.

Impressively, the massive bulk of information contained in the museum site can be browsed quickly and intuitively, and the content changes as often as the special exhibits. All that's needed now is hand-held access so visitors could guide their own tours while at the museum.

Best online ad

Discovery Communications'

i-frontier, Philadelphia

The ads load in the background as surfers browse. Using Unicast's superstitial technology, the ads pop up when they're done loading. The ads themselves are created in Flash and have different eye-catching animations about different health issues that one can learn more about by visiting the site.

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