When you hear the words “Flash” and “advertising” together in the same sentence, what is the first thing that immediately comes to mind and what feelings or thoughts go along with it? Unfortunately I think the answer I hear from a lot of people (both in and out of the Flash community) is that they think of very poorly designed, distracting, annoying banners not unlike some you might see where you click on your state name to apply for a mortgage. However, if you stop to think about for just a second you’ll realize that using Flash to create advertising means much more than that. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing a few posts on this topic in an attempt to enlighten some folks and reinforce what others already know – Flash advertising is not nearly as bad as it is perceived to be.
I’d like to start by talking about a form of advertising that is not always thought of as such: websites and micro sites. If you have ever worked on a project building either one of these in Flash, then there’s a fairly high chance it was advertising something. Whether it was for an actual product/service, an organization of some sort or even just to show off your own work, you were advertising. On the other side of those projects are the visitors of the sites who take on the role of the consumer. Will they be interested in buying the product? Will they donate money to the organization? Will they hire you because of your great work?
Q: So why are there people out there that see some Flash sites as something other than advertising?
A: Because those sites engage and entertain them.
What they may not realize at the time is that they are leaving from those sites with an impression of the company’s brand somewhere in their mind and in some cases they’re even passing the site (and therefore the brand) on to their friends. Below, I’ve included just a few examples of sites (in no order whatsoever) that have generated some sort of a buzz in the online world. And the reason they generate that buzz is usually not because of the products they represent, but because they engage and entertain the user to the point that the user wants to share the experience with others. While some of the examples are very obvious advertising, some of them may sneak under your advertising radar while still accomplishing their goals. Feel free to comment with more sites you know of that have taken on the same kind of online “life”. And remember that no matter how much someone tells you that they don’t like Flash, they don’t like online advertising, and they definitely don’t like the combination of the two, they have probably enjoyed just as many of these sites as the rest of us.
The Philips Bodygroom site got passed around for a while with people talking about the clever use of humor to get the point across.
A more recent site that has been going around is Get the Glass! (got milk?) The use of interactive 3D animation got some people talking about this one and the fact that you could play a game in that 3D world made it that much more fun.
How about the Nike Air site? While the site allows you to view the TV spots and “Explore the shoes”, I think the biggest part that people were interacting with was the area where you interact with the videos to “Create More World”.
And I definitely can’t leave out Burger King and their Subservient Chicken site.
Again, feel free to comment with more sites you know of that have taken on the same kind of online “life” as these examples.