Archive for February, 2006

Hoover (Z700 Sports Utility Vacuum Cleaner)

Tuesday, 28 February 2006; 16:24

Okay, I will admit to expecting very little advertising “sizzle” from Hoover, a vacuum cleaner manufacturer. Boy, was I wrong! Clearly the selling of vacuum cleaners has come a long ways since the days of a salesperson throwing dirt on your floor and then cleaning it up.

And, who would ever equate a vacuum cleaner with a SUV? Well, Hoover does with its Z700, the World’s First Sports Utility Vacuum. Go ahead, take it for a test drive. Afterward, you can view a few of Hoover’s television commercials for the Z700.

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United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (as presented by Reebok)

Tuesday, 28 February 2006; 12:17

Reebok, typically associated with sports, goes far beyond that online. On the internet Reebok makes known its Human Rights Programs.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is presented by Reebok in a broadband-delivered animated video. The dial-up version of the video can be found here. (Yes Virginia, it seems there are good corporations.)

Pepsi (and Midnight Club 3 and NASCAR)

Tuesday, 28 February 2006; 10:24

Pepsi (the other cola) brings us a vault of their television ads for viewing at your leisure. From there you can stop in at the Pepsi Street Motion Tour where you can find [current!] tour dates, wallpapers, and even a Pepsi Winamp skin. (The garish skin is okay if you are a rabid Pepsi fan. Otherwise….)

Pepsi’s co-conspirator (oops, I mean co-sponsor) of the tour, the video game Midnight Club 3 provides several trailers from the game in either Quicktime or Windows Media format.

For some fun at the office, try your hand at Pepsi’s Prime Time Racing Game. I’m no Jeff Gordon or Dale Jr., but I found it a blast. And, you can have a 360 degree QTVR look at Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 racing car.

And last [for now], although we are in the middle of the NASCAR season, spring is the time for baseball. Baseball fans can play Pepsi’s Base Runner Game. Watch your timing and run fast to get on base, but be careful and don’t get picked off by that crafty pitcher, the legendary Sidd Finch, there on the mound!

New York Film Festival

Tuesday, 28 February 2006; 9:45

Why spend two hours in a movie theater when there is not infrequently better to be seen online in only 10-20 minutes? The 2005 New York Film Festival and the New York Times make available eight of the festival’s best films, ranging in length from approximately 6-20 minutes. Each is very much worth taking the time to watch.

World Music Mixer (Coca-Cola)

Tuesday, 28 February 2006; 9:23

How might you like to create your own world beat music track, save it, and even send it to a friend? You can fiddle around and do just that with Coca-Cola’s World Music Mixer.

“The Da Vinci Code” (Sony Pictures)

Monday, 27 February 2006; 14:09

Sony, inflictor of the infamous DRM rootkit on its music customers, brings us a trailer (click on “Trailers” beneath the film’s title) for The Da Vinci Code.

This I can tell you. The web site itself is better than the movie’s trailer. If the trailer is any indication of the movie’s quality, I am pleased to have read the book — and may stop right there. However, the web site reveals other interesting and entertaining tidbits when one clicks on Characters and Da Vinci Gallery (again, beneath the film’s title). Clicking on Games (highly recommended) and News (specifically Exclusive excerpts…) delivers even richer rewards.

“Better Homes and Gardens”

Monday, 27 February 2006; 12:45

Egad, Brain! Brilliant! Better Homes and Gardens’ video channel brings us the microwave oven that also serves as a television. (Ain’t technology wonderful?)

Pentagon Channel

Monday, 27 February 2006; 12:10

The Pentagon Channel broadcasts military news and information for the 2.6 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Distillery directs your attention to the menu and links on the left side of the channel’s screen. There you will find individual segments including America Supports You, taped video tributes from elementary school students to Superbowl XL players offering moral support for America’s troops.

Origami Project (Microsoft)

Monday, 27 February 2006; 0:00

Speculation is running wild about just what Microsoft has up its sleeve with its [black ops-marketed] Origami Project. This is week one of three until the unveiling. (Okay, just this one time The Distillery will follow the crowd — and hype.)

Mountain Dew

Sunday, 26 February 2006; 9:53

My first click at the Mountain Dew web site took me to its music player. Not bad, but do not expect Frank Sinatra, Hank Williams, Sr., or Bruce Springsteen. (Remember, this music is for the “Dew” generation.) Put differently, there is a striking contrast to the soothing music found at some other web sites here. A click on the faux-widget labeled “click to drop in” took me to a Sims-like game of playful skateboard action.

Mountain Dew makes a modest attempt at embracing Web 2.0 technology. The home page is Ajax-powered with movable widgets. However, the Dew Gaming widget leads to a static and decidedly out-of-date concert tour schedule. (Does that revert the site back to a typically “Who’s paying attention here?” Web 1.0 site?)

The Dew Feature widget takes one to either the Be Nocturnal online game introducing a new product, the Pepsi Free Ride contest with a Chevy Tahoe as the main prize and Time to Thrill online game, or off-site to MTV.com and the Dew Circuit Breakout. A mash-up of winners of the free gasoline prize again uses Web 2.0 features. And, two Pepsi Free Ride TV ads can also be viewed. (Pepsi? Yes, remember that Mountain Dew is a Pepsi product.)

A click on the Dew Sports widget takes you to either Mountain Dew Street Ball, Fueled By Dew Fantasy [NASCAR] Racing, or the very static and boring “First Descent” DVD web site. (Do not waste your time with the last.) However, we again find out-of-date content after clicking on Mixtape Tour 2005, so do not waste a click there. A click on Mountain Dew Street Hoops followed by another on See MD Streetball Pics and Videos supposedly takes you to a few short streetball videos, but I found only one that actually worked — and I am not even certain how I got it to work. It took a lot of seemingly random clicks. (Yes, that section is very poorly designed. Again, is anyone really paying attention?)

Some of the more engaging content is found at the House of Dew where a trailer of First Descent can be viewed. Also take a few minutes to click around each room to discover any surprises that might be found. At the very least you will find a smile or two. Last, but not least, explore MDTV to view and vote for your favorite Mountain Dew commercial.

And here is the Diet Mountain Dew shark commercial for which everyone seems to be looking. (Thanks, YouTube.)

Rolex

Thursday, 23 February 2006; 14:58

Rolex. The entire Rolex web site leaves me almost speechless. It is beautiful. With but one exception, I will not direct where you should click. No small number of clicks lead to visual and audio delights.

And what is that one exception? It is Ashes and Snow, an art project by Canadian photographer Gregory Colbert sponsored by The Rolex Institute. I will let it speak for itself. I have no words to describe it. Just continue clicking.

Distillery Proof Rating = 10+

General Motors (GM)

Thursday, 23 February 2006; 9:42

A click-through the difficult to navigate General Motors (GM) web site clearly points to an identity crisis. We see an attempt to reposition the gas-guzzling Hummer (with narration by “Govenator” Arnold Schwarzenegger) as a hydrogen-fueled environment-friendly vehicle on the one hand (as a prototype that GM states will never be produced), but a focus on E85 ethanol-based fuel to help reduce America’s “addiction to oil” on the other. In fact, GM’s ratio of fuel-hungry SUVs and muscle-cars to more fuel-efficient automobiles is greater than two-to-one. With gasoline prices rising to record levels and an out-dated product line, it is no wonder GM will soon file for bankruptcy.

There is also a striking contrast in GM’s awareness of the current seller-to-buyer marketing communications environment versus that of companies like BMW and Porche. The multimedia advertising by GM is both often very well-hidden within its many seemingly disparate sites and also bears the appearances of design by high-school interns instead of professional advertising agencies. The majority of GM’s online ads present [often static] visual images of their products, but without any sound. In other words, they are not very engaging.

Even exterior and interior views of GM’s showcase Corvette are shown with Quicktime, but without any background music or voice-over. Boring! However, the multimedia used to present GM’s European-built SAAB may be evidence that GM’s European operations “get” the internet and its power where GM’s American operations do not. Inside the SAAB multimedia presentation you will find sound, TV commercials, and even video of SAAB’s respected and feared jet fighter planes. Also go back and click “Video Tour” (upper left side of page) on the SAAB home page for additional excellent multimedia from SAAB.

But in all fairness to GM, I do appreciate its Live Green, Go Yellow FlexFuel initiative. There you will find the “Stalk Car Race” game, a “video cobcast,” and a couple of GM’s “FlexFuel” vehicle commercials. I also direct you to the GM 2006 Chicago Expo where you will find webcasts, videos, and a link to GM’s Enclave concept car. (Move your cursor to the partial analog gauge on the left side of your screen for a pop-out menu.)

Note: One of the more striking observations as one clicks through the GM web sites is a focus almost more on corn and ethanol than on GM’s car lines! Might this be the mechanism by which it hopes to survive as it attempts to retool its production line to more fuel-efficient vehicles? Well, I do not think that will work. GM will be bankrupt before this year’s corn crop is harvested in the fall of 2006.

Requirements: Flash, Quicktime