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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

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Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Your microsite is a separate product

So I had a chat with @pirie yesterday that got me thinking more about micro-sites. Basically, when I say microsites suck, I mean specifically micro-sites that are an advertisement solely, that exist only to try to sell the visitor on something.

Simpsonize Me and Elf Yourself are not advertisements solely for their respective brand associations. No, they’re separate products. Simpsonize Me isn’t an ad for Whoppers, it’s a separate offering from Burger King. Landlord Lou isn’t an ad for Killam Properties, it’s a series of funny videos that contain characters from Killam Ads.

Microsites can work if they are themselves a product, themselves an offering. And the hope is that they create a good experience for the user, and they associate that good, fun experience with the brand that’s supporting it.

But if your microsite is just an ad, contains some little gimmick just to get people there but is, at the end of the day, just another ad... Well, it sucks.


Ben said...

Hit me with your top five microsites?

Joel Kelly said...

Those are 3 that I really think have made solid, standalone entertainment products.

@brightwhite tweeted that they do real, proper microsites for NSBI, so this is the kind of thing I'm talking about too:

I'll get some more together later, but you see what I mean at least :0

Joel Kelly said...

And that should have been a :) not a :O

Webconomist said...

Couldn't agree with you more...poorly executed it's like a bigger banner ad; and banner ads work so poorly because they are interruptive and the Web is an active medium, unlike TV which is a passive medium so ads work better there.

Microsits only seem to succeed when you can participate - the Web is after all, a participative medium.

Joel Kelly said...

Great point. I think a lot of the problems are advertisers thinking ads can "get the attention" of the user for long periods of time. Flash banner ads just never seem to actually get to the point. They assume that you're going to sit there watching them... which no one does.

Someone goes to a good microsite because they want to, because there's something in it for them. They don't go to watch an ad.

Carman said...

tks for the mention... good to know that you think is on the right track. When it comes to ad agencies, one of their largest challenges over the next 12-24 months will be their inability to see the web from a 'digital native' POV. Simply put, most traditional ad folk would see the distinctions you draw in this post as rather trivial.

Joel Kelly said...

I hear that, Carman. The Internet is a thing by itself to most agency people, a culture with no subcultures within it. A product without forking viewpoints or executions. It's just The Internet.