Category Archives: microsites

Pilot’s big, bold ‘enhanced need set’ move

There aren’t many campaigns worth adoring, but we love, love the Pilot pen handwriting microsite which, as you can guess, allows you to scan in your own handwriting and then use it via computer to type documents or emails with informal penmanship. At first glance the system is a little gimmick designed to attract attention to old-fashioned (and perhaps classier) handwritten notes. But think of the risk. What happens to Pilot if we all opt-in, create our own computer fonts, and send messages to each other without buying pens and ink cartridges? Did Pilot just kill its future business?

This campaign is an example of meeting your customers’ “enhanced need set” — a concept from Don Peppers and Martha Rogers that means thinking of concentric circles around your core product, and then brainstorming the additional needs your customers might like filled. Mobil gas stations did this with their clean bathroom and Speedpass campaigns (moms want sanitation, drivers want to get in-and-out fast). Westin hotels did the same with its “heavenly beds,” a luxury mattress that made sleeping nicer and was copied by much of the hotel industry. If you sell A, what happens if you also meet customer need B as well?

For Pilot, we think the computer font move is brilliant, because the focus on handwriting likely outweighs the risk we’ll only type at each other. Just look at the Gloria signature above. Then think back to the days of fluffy white stationery with the little paper fibers embedded, bending beneath the scratch of your pen, with no delete key and only emotion to guide you. Don’t you feel guilty for writing home via email now?

Via @alphanum3ric.

The Ford Story: Microsite as press release

Historians will recall 2008 as the year online video became the main tool for public influence. First Obama ruled the web with constant updates, then McCain tried to catch up by showing off his bus. Now Ford is seeking to influence lawmakers with a microsite touting the benefits of the auto bailout.

Ford’s effort is comprehensive, with spokesperson Scott Monty reaching out to infuencers on Twitter and a web site filled with video from Ford execs explaining their vision and business plan. The site includes ways to share the message by posting on blogs (like this one), emailing friends, and even a ZIP Code lookup field that gives you the phone number of your local Congressional rep.

How many will this reach? Ford’s main web site got 3 million unique visitors in November, and the new “Story” microsite is heavily promoted on the Ford home page. For the polarizing forces on either end of the American apathetic spectrum most likely to swing the bailout vote in the U.S. Senate, Ford has created fluid access to its side of the story. It’s also worth noting who is missing from this picture: The newspaper and magazine editors who historically decided whether a press release was worth disseminating to the general populace.

Morgans Hotel Group’s naughty recession F bomb

Recess Is On is a microsite filled with ways for you to F the recession, and we don’t mean friend it. The Uck word is everywhere. Hipster messaging includes blogs, party invitations, snaps of celebs hanging cool, and lots of links to Morgans Hotels’ boutique-y rooms, spas and restaurants. There is even a video meant to go viral with the headline FTR. You figure it out.

We think Morgans Hotels is driving this campaign, since they appear to be the sole sponsor.

The point for marketers is that the youth culture — and today that’s everyone under 50 — is growing comfortable with profanity. By saying the F word like it is, and come on, you know that’s how you feel about the economy, Morgans Hotel Group is grabbing attention. If it really is them behind this campaign 😉

Microsoft’s Mojave campaign: See, we don’t stink!

Microsoft’s Vista operating system has a bad rap. Word is machines can’t handle it, even though it comes in five flavors. It’s slow. It crashes. It tries to cram 10 pounds of GUI into a 5 pound laptop. Installing Vista is like having dental surgery performed by your proctologist.

To counter these perceptions, Microsoft has launched a microsite that unveils a “new” operating system called Mojave to consumers, who are delighted and then surprised that it’s really Vista. A brave move, to take the heat head on. Also a great case study in how once brands go sour, it’s tough to bounce back.

Tx Matt Hunsberger.

Obama’s anti-anti-message web site

We hate to replay a blog post from Darryl Ohrt at Plaid, because he’s a much wittier writer than us, but his take on Barack Obama’s new microsite is intriguing. Obama has launched a one-stop shop to counter every negative attack from his opponents. Imagine the collective weight of this a few months from now, when hundreds of “smears” are tallied, and how that becomes an anti-position for John McCain.

Whatever your politics, the idea of using a microsite to gather all the negativity about your brand and then respond like a boomerang is brilliant. Even if something really true and nasty comes up, who will believe it if the prior 300 accusations are false?

PS Someone is about to launch Welcome to the ping-pong match of politics.

Via Make the Logo and Brandflakes.