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Yoplait's Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

Yoplait's Yellow Polka Dot Bikini iMedia Editors
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Klondike Unfoiled 
GolinHarris, 2010


To grow the brand and reach a new audience, Klondike and its agency partner developed the Klondike Everyman Challenges, which celebrated everyday activities performed by average guys in an above-average way. Housed on the KlondikeChallenges.com website, the campaign included celebrity Everyman Challenge videos produced by Adam Carolla, which encouraged fans to submit their own videos. It also included online games that tasked players with "everyday" challenges, and the Klondike Unfoiled smartphone application where users had to unwrap digital Klondike Bars as quickly as possible.



The effort generated more than 322 million impressions and an 859 percent increase in online discussion.



Pepsi Max Football Hero
Microsoft Advertising, PepsiCo International Digital Marketing, and OMD International, 2010


An online experience to expose male consumers aged 18-34 to the Pepsi Max brand, the campaign consisted of five online interactive soccer games and exclusive content from international soccer stars. Game players were immersed in the action as they worked their way up from a "zero" to a "hero" who could receive virtual lucrative advertising contracts and be responsible for a free kick in the last minute of an online game. Players could share the games with friends on social networking sites, email, and Windows Live Messenger. It was promoted across Xbox.com, Xbox Live, MSN, and Windows Live Hotmail, reaching 10 million unique users across 14 markets, each of which spent an average of 10 minutes on the site.


Discovery Channel's "Life" campaign
Microsoft Advertising and Yahoo with AKQA and PHD, 2010


The network's digital partners provided a plethora of options for viewers to connect with program's content in advance of the airing, including a custom editorial website and downloadable "Life"-related desktop themes for Windows 7 users.


Unique to Yahoo, consumers were able to pick from one of several visually striking images of nature's most spectacular critters and display it on their Yahoo homepage in the days leading up to the series premiere, share video from the series, and create a customized "Life" icon on their Yahoo Messenger accounts. In this way, potential viewers were surrounded by engaging content no matter where their online lives took them. "Life" campaign results included 592,493 online clicks and more than 80,000 Facebook fans.




Kinect Joy Ride 
Microsoft Advertising, 2010


Seeking to promote the Volt to members of the connected generation, Chevrolet used Microsoft's Kinect technology to create a first-of-its-kind experience. Through a video advertisement viewable in-dash on Microsoft's Xbox Live or accessible via the web, consumers had the ability to unlock and test drive the car within the Kinect Joy Ride. The campaign took full advantage of the growing popularity for Kinect device-powered games and followed on the heels of a campaign for Porsche's launch of the Panamera, which resulted in 20 percent of XBox Live players of that promotion visiting their local dealership, according to Porsche's internal numbers.



BlackBerry All-Access Pregame Show, with the National Hockey League 
Starcom Worldwide, 2010


Research in Motion partnered with the National Hockey League (NHL) to reach hockey's passionate fan base and promote its devices. A two-pronged effort, the campaign involved a pregame show for fans streamed at NHL.com; the show prominently featured anchors receiving tips via the handheld device. At the same time, participating fans could get mobile messages from NHL employee "Stanley 10" before, during, and after the game.


Showcasing BlackBerry devices through both web and mobile campaign components reinforced the brand's message as the choice of the always-connected fan. In addition to brand awareness, the campaign also resulted in more than a million video starts by the time the campaign concluded on June 10.





ABC's "FlashForward" 
Microsoft Advertising, 2010


ABC garnered attention for the TV series through a multi-screen effort, with components ranging from customized website ads showing creative that could be downloaded to mobile phones, to in-game advertisements on Microsoft's Xbox. Although the show didn't survive, it proved that television content could be strategically repurposed to generate attention for a program on a variety of platforms. The campaign delivered nearly 3.8 million impressions and more than 1.8 million total consumer interactions.


The Hunt for the Unbelievable for Diet Dr Pepper 
Yahoo and Initiative, 2011


Diet Dr Pepper worked with Yahoo to create an online scavenger hunt that brought its popular We Exist characters online for the first time. Participants in the scavenger hunt were tasked with locating and then virtually "capturing" a series of the popular characters across Yahoo web and mobile properties in interactive ads for a chance to win a grand prize trip. The campaign smartly translated the inherent playfulness of the characters into interactive executions that played to the strengths of the online and mobile screens.



Hand in hand with this increased connectivity, expect to see more campaigns rely on multi-screen efforts to drive consumer recognition. The most successful, however, will take advantage of the capabilities and designs of the screens -- touch, location, and orientation -- and tie the creative into the same story, as the Diet Dr Pepper campaign did. Not only did The Hunt for the Unbelievable extend the reach of a campaign, but it also enhanced the story, having been designed for interaction across devices.


Creative, technologically advanced, and strategically sound efforts like these will serve as the models for brands looking to execute effective multi-screen campaigns in the future.


Bobby Figueroa is vice president of product development at Yahoo.


On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Remove user task barriers
The people who visit your website often have specific goals and expect to complete tasks quickly. Enabling them to do so is both good for them and your business. Websites that frustrate users face the very real consequence of turning away loyal customers who might not otherwise think to shop elsewhere.


The first step to improving the usability of a website is figuring out the most common tasks that people want to perform. A simple way to uncover these tasks is to poll users through an online survey. 4Q is one of many options for collecting this kind of user feedback. It prompts users to record the purpose of visiting a website and whether or not they were able to complete tasks successfully.


After the most common user tasks are identified, you can focus on high impact usability improvements. The best approach for this is to observe as users perform tasks on your website. Usertesting.com offers just this kind of service. It provides researchers the tools for setting up usability tests and observing sessions through screen recordings. An on-demand panel of participants completes each test, and feedback is usually collected within 24 hours -- sometimes faster. The quality of feedback is comparable to what you might expect to find in a more formal lab-based setting, but without the additional costs (e.g., lab reservation fees, travel, scheduling for "no shows", etc.).


Disadvantages of remote usability testing include limited ability to capture subtle, yet insightful nuances such as facial expression and body language. It can also be a risk to share confidential work with a public audience because of privacy concerns. Finally, while some tools provide a mechanism to follow up with participants after testing sessions, it's often cumbersome to close the loop on vague feedback or have users elaborate on points of confusion.


The fastest way to recruit participants
Sometimes the costs and complexities of recruiting research participants make it difficult to get a project off the ground. Expenses can add up quickly when recruiting through traditional research companies. However, if you're committed to performing research with a limited budget, it's now possible to avoid excessive costs with on-demand recruiting panels. These panels work best when audience qualifications aren't too narrow. And be aware that niche consumer segments will still cost more and take longer to find.


Ask Your Target Market is a web-based service that couples survey management and reporting with an on-demand participant panel. It provides tools for research administrators to combine different demographic and psychographic attributes ensuring surveys match relevant consumer segments. After surveys are completed, multi-dimensional refinement filters help reveal trends and patterns in audience response data.


Another cost-effective way to recruit research participants is through a virtual workforce like Mechanical Turk. This global community of workers was created to match up people with "human intelligence" tasks. Post a link to your research project and start receiving feedback in minutes.


Achieving research objectives
Consensus on goals is most important for ensuring that research leads to successful outcomes. All stakeholders should be clear on the purpose of research, what they hope to learn, and questions that must be answered. Proper planning is necessary because it's of little value to uncover things that the team finds interesting but aren't related to research objectives. Make sure the process begins with agreement on desired outcomes and then choose a research method that best fits the task at hand.


While online research comes with many benefits, it shouldn't replace traditional methods entirely. The value of direct observation and real-time dialogue comes from exploring issues and tangents that often go unnoticed in an online setting. Furthermore, the experience that a skilled observer brings to a study will have a dramatic impact on the quality of insights produced.


The most important point isn't whether you should choose traditional or online research methods. Either approach is still far better than skipping research altogether. Cost-effective options can provide comparable results that remove barriers and unlock the benefits of research to a wider audience. Take advantage of what's available, and start making your website better today.


Charles Wiedenhoft is the director of user experience for Red Door Interactive.


On Twitter? Follow Red Door Interactive at @reddoor. Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet.

Matt Jacobs, AMP Agency 


Brand: American Express


URL: https://home.americanexpress.com/home/axpi/


American Express' recent homepage redesign is a great example of designing with the user experience in mind. Based on the redesign, it's clear that the goal was to simplify the initial interaction with American Express, while highlighting the key areas of the site that drive most customers to visit -- accessing their account or getting information about American Express services.


What makes the new design better than the old one?

The redesign applies a much cleaner design aesthetic, while still allowing American Express to merchandise key offers and services to its customer base through a rotating carousel.

In addition to visually restructuring the landing page, American Express also leveraged the redesign to update the following:


New online financial tools



  • The brand reorganized and grouped its tools together in one place to make it easier for consumers to find what they're looking for.

Mobile access



  • Keeping up with the times, American Express synched its site with apps available for Android and iPhone.

Functional improvements



  • The brand also improved the functionality of the site by updating features. For example, pending charges are now available within minutes of using a card to provide the most up-to-date account information.

While the rest of the site remains mostly untouched, the redesign significantly improved the user experience of logging into your account and/or accessing information about American Express. Kudos to their team for sticking with simplicity -- it's often an objective that's easily stated but hard to follow through on.



(Old)


VS.



(New)


Matt Jacobs is director, strategic marketing, at AMP Agency.

David Clarke, BGT Partners


Brand: Autoblog


URLs: Current site: http://www.autoblog.com/; New site in beta: http://beta.autoblog.com/


The current site is a fairly standard blog site with multimedia content and the ability to filter content. The new beta site takes advantage of dynamic scripting, and it socially infuses each page. It also provides a robust dynamic experience where the user is able to explore rich content from multiple sources without having to click on multiple pages. The majority of the content is connected to Facebook, which enables the user to easily share information without disrupting the experience.


What makes the new design better than the old one?
The redesigned site improves on its predecessor, thanks to the quality of the design and the comprehensive infusion of social components. The mega-menu allows you to dive deep into the site's content, and it provides relevant information based on user patterns. Instead of staying within the parameters of a standard drop-down, the content transforms the menus and provides a more dynamic user experience.


VS.



David Clarke is co-founder and managing partner of BGT Partners.

Josh Levine, Alexander Interactive


Brand: Action Envelope


Agency: Alexander Interactive


URL: http://www.actionenvelope.com/


Any e-commerce website should be geared toward service -- both for the consumer and retailer. The new Action Envelope site, heavy in Ajax and DHTML functionality, included intuitive, dynamic menus that make it easy for shoppers to find and customize products.


A redesigned site should capitalize on tech advances, accommodate growth gracefully, and be flexible, while at the same time staying shopper-focused and invigorating the brand.


What makes the new design better than the old one?



  • A direct browse-and-search interface

  • A simple two-step process for online envelope design and printing makes it easier for customers to create exactly what they want

  • A robust re-order center allows for fast purchases of previously placed orders

  • A file upload center for easy graphics and logo embellishment


VS.


 


Josh Levine is founder and chief experience officer at Alexander Interactive.

Editor's Choice, iMedia Connection


Agency: R/GA


Brand: HBO


URL: http://www.hbo.com/


The HBO.com redesign finally does justice to one of TV's most popular and recognizable premium channels. Known for its selective and stylish programming, HBO used its new site to showcase each show individually, while emphasizing what it is known for (documentaries, series, and sports) with large fonts and great space allocation.


What makes the new design better than the old one?
The main page serves as a giant billboard for whichever series or movie HBO is promoting at the time. Right now, its new series, "Game of Thrones," is featured in the background of the homepage with high-quality images from the show, reminding fans to check out the new episode without taking them away from other assets on the page. There is much less text than before, and better quality images and videos.


The bottom of the page, previously used for the standard "contact us" information, now has a mini video reel featuring HBO's most popular programs, followed by that night's television schedule. The new page is fresh and appeals to the average HBO viewer, and allows for appreciation of each show individually. It makes the previous web page look novice, which is exactly what a great website redesign can do.



VS.



Osas Obaiza is an editorial intern at iMedia Connection.

Kevin Casey, AMP Agency


Agency: Flipboard


URL: http://flipboard.com/


Instead of talking about great new redesign in a medium where the best design either happens in an initial launch or in small increments over time, let's talk about the best website redesigner: the iPad app, Flipboard.


Facebook looks like a banking website. Twitter is sloppy. And your favorite blog is built on top of some atrocious free WordPress template. All of the best design out there is for one-off sites that you have no reason to go back to after that initial ogle. You want all of that sweet, sweet social media content, but your sensitive eyes can't take the horrors of sites designed as containers for constantly updated content instead of well-thought-out, inspirational, artistic design.

Enter Flipboard. Flipboard is an iPad app that takes all of your bland social media content and aggregates it into one beautiful gallery. Once you plug in all of your channels (like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or really any site with an RSS or social media feed), Flipboard greets you with a sexy grid of fresh content. Inside each channel, all of your posts are arranged in a classically magazine-like style in a serif font delicately balanced in beautiful white space. It makes your high school friend's posts about their baby's first birthday party actually look kind of classy.

Flipboard has been the biggest change in the way that I look at the web (and the iPad) this year, drastically reducing my disdain for social media channels and keeping me neck-deep in fresh, warm content all day long.


(Twitter and Facebook without Flipboard)



VS.


(Twitter and Facebook with Flipboard)



Kevin Casey is senior art director at AMP Agency.


Osas Obaiza is an editorial intern at iMedia Connection.


On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

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