Sunday, September 12, 2010

CB2: tone down the cute

I like CB2 (Crate and Barrel's little sister). I enjoy browsing, and on a couple occasions purchasing, their affordable, well-designed home goods. The retail experience is consistently pleasant, complete with helpful, non-pushy sales people. But what drives me NUTS is the main navigation menu on their homepage.

This is a classic example of why sites must avoid being too clever when labeling. There are several issues with this particular menu, but the one that makes me grit my teeth the hardest and head straight to is the amount of crossover among the groups. Furniture, for example, could easily be included in at least 6 of the other categories (new, dine, work, sleep, one of a finds, sale). And splash? Wuhhh? I didn't know CB2 sold pool toys, but that's certainly what I expect to find when I click that link. Turns out, it's bath items. Hmm.

If I was included in user testing for, they'd find that despite the fact that I've been to their site dozens of times, I'm still not sure where I'm supposed to go to find a good dining table (furniture or dine?). Not exactly the best user experience or sales strategy, if you ask me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Suggestive Selling

Really, These are the products you recommend I buy? I have purchased exactly 2 pairs of boots from your site, both womens Loredo brand Roper style boots, and you suggest I buy mens work boots? Suggestive selling based on previous purchases is a great sales tool, unless of course your suggestions are way off base.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Commercial Within a Commercial, aka Advertising Turducken

This week families around the country will feast on turkey. Some more adventurous families will take their cue from good ole John Madden and go ahead and stuff a chicken into duck and then stuff the stuffed duck into a turkey and enjoy what’s known as turducken. Mmmm, meat. And more meat.

The other day I saw a commercial that’s the advertising equivalent of the turducken. The spot is for a birth control brand, Nuvaring. In it we see women sitting around watching television, or more accurately watching a television commercial. The commercial they’re watching and discussing is for Nuvaring. That’s right, the Nuvaring commercial features the Nuvaring commercial.

I actually think it’s an interesting strategy, essentially capturing what is a very real scenario for us ladies. But, like the turducken, something about it just feels a little weird.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Prius "Harmony" Spots

Since I generally have to cool it with Creative Director-like comments at work, I relish in the opportunity to openly analyze creative with people who give a shit- like you, fair reader! The spots on my mind lately are those that support the "Harmony Between Man, Nature and Machine" campaign.

I love the spots. I think they're visually stimulating, fresh and I'm never annoyed by them even after several views. But I wonder if they might be even more successful with even less copy. I say "even less" because the spots are already pretty copy light and the first lines aren't even uttered until halfway through the 30 second spot.

The entire script consist of the following three lines: "You get more power and more space. And the world gets fewer smog-forming emissions. The third generation Prius. It's harmony between man, nature and machine." But 2 of those three lines are so totally product focused and don't really add much to the story. Interested consumers will find out about the power and space as they dig for more info online. We already know that the Prius is good for the earth. The great line, and the one I propose should be the only one included, is the last one "It's harmony between man, nature and machine." It's such a lovely payoff. So lovely it deserves to stand on its own without all that product mumbo jumbo.

These spots immediately reminded me of the series of brilliant Sony Bravia spots, but where where the Prius spots fall just short with a few too many words, Bravia's brevity is perfection.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Walgreens Launches A New Website

I don't know why I haven't added the phone # to Walgreens Pharmacy in my phone. It would save me several visits to where I generally have a bad experience and get frustrated with the simple task of finding the store locator. I was pleasantly surprised on my last visit to see a brand new site. Good for you, Walgreens! Especially good is that they've replaced what used to be a wicked top nav with much cleaner and more user-friendly version (using the old one was like smushing the London, New York and Tokyo skylines together and trying to quickly pick out the Emprire State building).

The site is certainly a reflection of the brand's strategy position themselves as "one-stop shopping destination and healthcare provider" (per this AdWeek interview with Walgreen's CMO, Kim Feil).

While the site is an improvement, I can't say I love it overall. The navigation is alright though there are a few big no-no's such as an inconsistent link home on the lower level photo and clinic pages (on all other lower level pages, the "take me home" link lives in the upper left corner under the logo, but it annoyingly disappears when you click on photo or clinic from the homepage primary nav). The look doesn't feel as sophisticated as I'd like a brand that is asking me to trust for health advice should be. There's also a general lack of successful "grouping" on the homepage making it feel chaotic and a bit overwhelming. A step in the right direction? Maybe more of a shuffle.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cool Ikea Shopping App

While I do look forward to the day that I can afford big girl furniture and no longer have to shop the Ikea, I quite enjoy the low prices and typically good design the brand has to offer. I don't even entirely mind having to walk miles through the store to locate what I need (or as is often the case- don't need). But part of the shopping process that don't particularly like is having to keep track of the items I find in the showroom with that little piece of paper and golf course pencil. On recent trips I've used my iPhone to take photos of the tag that accompanies most products as it lists the name, price and location in the warehouse. My system was a bit clumsy and it was always a little annoying to have 25 photos of random furniture. Enter SwedeShop the iPhone app that is the answer to all of my Ikea shopping woes. I can't wait to test this puppy out the next time I make a trip to the Swedish Superstore.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Anti-Branding Campaign, aka Branding Campaign

I just ran across this article posted on PSFK about the streetwear brand Freshjive's campaign to "unbrand" itself. Rick Klotz, the owner and designer for Freshjive, was motivated to embark on this "anti-branding" campaign due to his "disillusionment with the world of branding and marketing and a desire to return to the essence of the design practice". And just what does an anti-branding campaign look like? If you ask me, it looks a lot like branding.

Apparently the brand's logo had been misappropriated (faked) to sell counterfeit goods. Klotz says that the brand's name is "forever defunct". Klotz's answer was to drop the brand's logo and replace it with a black box. Which to me is, well, just a different looking logo.

This guy Klotz seems to be pretty brand savvy but I can't help but want to reply to this move by shouting brand rule #1: Your brand is NOT your logo. Your brand is a personality, a stance, a voice... which is exactly what he's establishing, or confirming, with this effort.