TBWA turns its agency site into a slideshow

Agencies like nothing more than reinventing the agency site. We've seen the drab, Flash-heavy, barely usable site recast as a blog, a YouTube channel, a Facebook page and a Twitter stream

Now, TBWA goes with the slideshow. The shop created a new "storytelling platform" that underpins the site. The end result looks a lot like a slideshow to me, although it does have the flexibility of showing work in a coherent fashion with a mix of media. Overall, the navigation can be a tad confusing. It's still quite a bit better than your run-of-the-mill agency site with a runaway pencil.

Is the Flash-powered agency site obsolete?

There's something interesting going on with agency Web sites. Ironically, many of the shops that pioneered immersive Flash sites for clients are turning their backs on the high-tech immersive approach when it comes to their own sites.The Barbarian Group, EVB and Juxt Interactive are going this feeds-over-Flash route.
Big Spaceship, creator/builder of HBO "Voyeur," is the latest shop to use a simple WordPress blog to show off not just its portfolio but feeds from its blog, Twitter and Flickr accounts (including lots of photos from something called Moustache Day 2008). The idea is to show the company's thinking in real time rather than treat the agency site as a static art piece.

The bonuses: a WordPress site is cheap and easy to update regularly. Meanwhile, traditional shops are still generally going immersive. McKinney, Leo Burnett and BBH are examples of what some call Flashturbation. It all comes down to the purpose of the site, whether it's to impress potential clients, new hires or just be there in case someone gets lost coming to the office.

The agency site reborn as YouTube channel

It was inevitable. BooneOakley, an independent shop in Charlotte, N.C., has scrapped its Web site in favor of a YouTube channel. Visitors toBooneOakley.com are redirected to YouTube, where they are greeted by a three-minute clip showing the story of "Billy," a marketing director who hired an agency owned by a holding company, got fired and then got killed by his pissed-off wife. The site has links to work and partner bios, and it uses the YouTube ability to embed links inside videos. It's an interesting approach to build a Web presence directly on a platform rather than a stand-alone destination, but you have to wonder about choosing only video as a way for BooneOakley to tell its story. The news section, for instance, is a video clip about the Obamas using the agency's initials in naming their dog. And while YouTube's "hotspotting" is a clever way to move around to different videos, the navigation is far from straightforward. I kept having to click back to the Billy intro video to get to other parts of the site.

Agency sites reborn on Facebook, Twitter

BooneOakley won praise for ditching the tired agency site in favor of a clever YouTube channel to show off its stuff. With social all the rage, Grey Stockholm has taken the next step: It's traded itsdedicated agency site to go all-in on Facebook. There, users can "Like" Grey, see work, comment on posts and do the regular Facebook things. Not to be outdone, Argentine shop Kamchatka has recast its site as a Twitter account. Actually, several. Each section of the site has its own Twitter handle. On the surface, this makes lots of sense. Facebook pages are getting more and more powerful, and plenty of campaigns are ditching the microsite in favor of the Facebook platform. Twitter is the current belle of the ball. But at the same time, both sites feel unnecessarily gimmicky. Thanks to APIs, sites can have all the social functions of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube without having to choose one or the other. It would seem to make more sense to integrate all sorts of social tools into a destination site rather than choose one platform over another. 

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