First and foremost, I think I can safely speak for the rest of the gang at BooneOakley when saying we have been blown away by the response our new site has received. We knew it would be talked about and we hoped some people might even like it. However, no one within our parallelogramed walls (yes, really) believed we would have close to 100,000 home page views, well over a hundred blog posts/embeds, close to two thousand twitter mentions and other impressive stats less than a week after launch.
I suppose the Modernista! comparisons – and in some cases, trash talk – were inevitable but as far as I can tell one of the few things the two sites have in common is that they are very different from other agency sites. Conceptually speaking, though, they are miles apart from each other.
As they describe it on their home page, the M! site allows you to view them through the eyes of the web. They spread their content across the internet on commonly used sites like Flickr. They even relinquished some control by allowing Wikipedia, Netvibes and Google Blog Search to do a bit of the talking for them. The navigation is somewhat messy and disjointed – just like the web itself. Their brilliance was not in the fact that they used YouTube and other sites to showcase their client work. Rather, it was the concept behind it: the attempt to utilize the nearly infinite, fractured landscape of the web to tell to their story.
In contrast, our site is quite different. Aside from harnessing the expanded functionality offered by YouTube annotations and links, which was already being used to create simple games and such, we simply created a compelling, entertaining story about ourselves and wrapped it up in an easily-shared package.
Jim Robbins and Ryan Holland, one of our copywriter/art director teams, initially brought us the idea of using a series of linked YouTube videos as replacement for our site. Then they showed us a rough video. After recovering from the sting left by laughing Dr. Pepper out through my nose, I was most interested in the built-in potential for others to share it via their personal social networks. In my opinion this highlights the biggest conceptual difference between the two sites. Our friends at M! developed a sort of content aggregator about themselves and invited others in. We produced a story about ourselves and gave others the option to send it out. Put another way: they developed a mashup created in conjunction with the rest of the web, whereas we created content and offered syndication rights to anyone interesting in sharing it.
Despite their differences both sites are risky departures from the norm, which is something worth celebrating. In that respect, we welcome the comparison. Oh, and for the record, whether they meant to or not Skittles did completely rip off the M! site concept.