Archive for December 12th, 2006

MarthaStewart.com

Tuesday, 12 December 2006; 12:15

Every convicted felon should have it so well. Martha’s felony conviction has obviously not put a single dent in her sales and followers’ shopping. And, she provides a very media-rich web site for her loyal Martha wannabes.

We start with megabytes and megabytes of video from Martha’s video library. Full past shows can be found there. Recipes, of course, can be found there. (I especially liked the one for venison.) In fact, just as in retail stores, virtually everything Martha can be found in her video library.

You will even find video about a GE dream kitchen some lucky Martha lemming will win. And along with much more, but especially given the season, you’ll also find the 12 days of Christmas. All of that is just the beginning. There is enough rich media content at MarthaStewart.com to keep you busy for days.

The Distillery admits MarthaStewart.com is a very easy site to judge. It is excellent. Martha obviously spent her time in prison most productively.

Important note:  Do *not* misspell the site’s name and type in marthasteward.com. That takes you to a bad place where you will likely pick up computer cooties. I know, I’ve been there.

Home page:  MarthaStewart.com

Martha & friends
Martha and fellow inmates out on parole?

Aston Martin

Tuesday, 12 December 2006; 10:06

It is everything British. It was the first car uniquely “modified” by Q for James Bond. It is the Aston Martin.

And very likely, at least to most Americans, the Aston Martin is synonymous with 007 agent, James Bond. However, is it a car Americans might prefer in and of itself? Maybe, but The Distillery doubts it will be the Aston Martin web site that convinces them of that. It is not a badly designed site, but it simply doesn’t convey (although there is great attempt) the mystique of the Aston Martin brand. That might have something to do with Aston Martin now being owned by Ford.

The site is thoroughly modern (by British standards), but suffers from a certain lack of originality and cachet. Yes, we find the now expected driving videos. However, and with all due respect, the music in at least one of them nothing more than glorified Muzak. It almost gets in the way more than it holds one’s attention. And in another video, one is left with a decidedly negative impression of Aston Martin that not even the video’s ending can eliminate. (Well, that was The Distillery’s reaction.)

In that one video, at the very same time the word “evil” is spoken, a less-than-friendly looking driver seemingly captures and crushes a butterfly with his bare hand. Granted, a few seconds later he stops the car and releases it, and there is a disclaimer that no butterflies were harmed during the making of the commercial, but by that time I suspect more than one viewer experienced the same visceral reaction as I. “Why is he killing the butterfly?!” (I don’t think Aston Martin expected that particular reaction. Maybe the firm will use a focus group next time.)

And once again, we find a classic online media/advertising mistake–a microsite, this time for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster, but with absolutely no audio. Having no audio commands the viewer’s attention for maybe a few seconds, but not much more. Conversely, we have seen that just the correct few notes and bars can transform a quick click by the viewer into a few minutes of wonder. Then again, maybe Aston Martin thinks this downloadable sound of the DB8 engine suffices. It does not. It seems the firm does not recognize that sight and sound together work far better than either alone.

In sum, it is unfortunate Aston Martin cannot instill in its web site that same sense of wonder we have when watching a Aston Martin driven by James Bond–machine guns, water cannons, ejection seats, or not as standard equipment.

Home page:  Aston Martin

Aston Martin DB 5
Aston Martin DB 5