The author Henry Miller once wrote: "What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind." Such was this Reebok piece for me -- I initially thought it was an absolute WRECK: cliche DMX-style tattooing, 'Olde English' fonts, an "In Da Club" knock-off in General MIDI - all devoid of any visual hierarchy that might tell me what to do or where to go on the page.
But ironically, this disorganization among elements turns out to be the micro site's greatest strength when considered in the context of its intended target audience. It resonates spectacularly with its young male audience because it allows real Lewis & Clark-style exploration. A key part of its charm is the discovery aspect -the opportunity to find and peel back all of the different features woven throughout the site. Whether deliberate or not, these layered levels of interactivity tremendously increase the amount of time spent with the Rbk products, personalities, and culture - those ingredients which make up the brand.
Executing this approach required a great deal of discipline by Zugara. The easiest thing to do is spoonfeed users with traditional naming conventions in a standard nav bar across the top and left side of the screen. Maybe even throw in a site map. But Zugara and Rbk understand these kids are savvy enough not to need that, and certainly don't want it. And in the end, Rbk pulls off what all advertisers want, but rarely have the courage to do online: offer a truly interactive brand experience where entertaining serves as the more effective metaphor for selling. --Fred Jorgensen, Director of Multimedia Strategy, Titan Digital
For fans of the players, the most motivated viewers, the greatest value are the wallpapers and icons, but you have to dig to find them. Similarly I thought they missed an opportunity with the player interviews which could have been much more compelling with video or even just audio. The help feature was very nice, but the “build your own mix” audio feature I only found by accident. That could have been great if it was presented more intuitively. Overall, I thought the site was good but not great. --Tony Quin, President, IQTV
As a basketball fan and someone who takes his athletic shoes seriously (too, seriously, if you ask my wife), I like this creative as a branding vehicle especially for the young and urban market. Basketball shoes are an oddity, because buyers do tend to gravitate toward or away from shoes worn by certain players. This is a fan site at its purest level -- and it definitely works for me. It's about the playground. It's about being Iverson on that last fast break, without choking your coach. The mix and match gives it a nice little competitive feature. The tone, the graphics, the music and the info about specific players (I'll forgive the fact that none of them are Lakers) are exactly what I want when I'm shopping for new kicks.-- Lee Watters, Executive Editor
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