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Dan’s Web site turn-ons and click-offs Marketers are frantically injecting promotion into Web sites and making sure their brands are represented the Right Way online. Why? Because they don’t want to get busted by PROMO’s tangled and twisted Webmeister, Dan Han the Killer Clicker Man. E-mail him at

SPIN CYCLE Procter & Gamble’s Tide brand has the right idea (kudos for scoring the domain name). I told the Stain Detective what I spilled on my shirt at lunch and found out the shirt didn’t have a prayer. Win a Whirlpool washer in the Spin & Win online sweeps, sign up for a Tide newsletter, shop for Tide/NASCAR merchandise. From tips on clothes care to an online customer service center, the site has the perfect mix of content, interaction, ease-of-use, and plain old fun. Overall: A Look: B+ Content: A User Friendliness: A

BEACH BUMS That David Hasselhoff, he’s just so smug. There’s more jiggling here than on – but look closer. There’s actually solid content, too. Hang out in chatrooms, download the show’s peppy theme song, grab screensavers or – omigod – win an appearance on the world’s most popular television show via the national Baywatch Search ’99 promotion. Find out which plucky cast members didn’t go to Juilliard then use an episode guide to help plan your days around broadcasts. Overall: B Look: B+ Content: B- User Friendliness: B

TASTE SENSATION If anyone is going to get you to buy Spam T-shirts and order recipe books, it’s got to be the kooky marketers behind the world’s most famous mystery meat. Devotees of the “luncheon meat” will consider this site Graceland. Meatheads can find out how to host a Spam party, which fairs in their neighborhood are hosting recipe competitions, and join a cyber fan club. Online games titillate the mind while a recipe archive induces visions of succulent Spam and Tuna Con Carne. Yum! Overall: B+ Look: A- Content: B+ User Friendliness: A

PEPPER-PHONI It looks slick and sexy, and has all sorts of cool links. But click past the homepage and you suddenly realize that, much like the pepperoni-ish, cow lip-based product, there’s nothing of substance here. Slim Jim could have done so much more with its tie-ins to NASCAR, wrestling’s Randy Savage, and various other “extreme” activities. Instead, the promo-less site coughs up static pictures, lame stats and (yawn) boring information. Overall: D+ Look: C Content: D User Friendliness: C


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TEN GALLON HIT Americans may be going gaga for skim, but on this site you get the whole kit and caboodle. Track the 100-city Better Bones tour, download screen-savers and enter the “Guess the Next Milk Mustache Celebrity” contest. There’s milk recipes and a cyber-personal trainer to help you analyze your diet. Oh yeah, and there’s also a promotion/contest link taking visitors for a ride in the world of the lactose tolerant. Milk: it does tha body good.

Overall: B+ Look: B Content: B+ User Friendliness: A-

ANA-MAZING A thorough review of this Web site would require another three pages. It’s that good! Send e-mails to cartoon characters (I sent Space Ghost a love poem), play games, take a crash course in animation. Then step into the pit and check out the cable network’s wacky #9 race car in a variety of ways (my favorite was the virtual reality spin behind the wheel). Kids can submit their own cartoon renditions with hopes of seeing them posted on the site. From Tom & Jerry to Tex Avery, this site is truly animated with animation. Cartoon archives, daily news, trivia polls and special guests – three words folks: watch out Nickelodeon.

Overall: A Look: A- Content: A+ User Friendliness: A

WEB FEATS There’s enough here to warrant a visit by the 77% of Americans who suffer from foot problems. As expected there’s the usual product-related content, such as foot facts, an online engine that absorbs symptoms and spits out remedies, and a separate section on warts (that’s just . . . nasty). But give the marketers a hand. They’ve injected a healthy dose of promotion into what would have still been a relevant Web site. Visitors can see if their tootsies have what it takes by entering the company’s foot model search. And they can also find out when the 37-city “Do Right by Your Feet” tour will be swinging by their hoods.

Overall: C+ Look: B- Content: B- User Friendliness: C+

ZIMA’S GOT ZIPPO The first time I stopped by the site I was greeted with a huge logo and told “ is not available.” So I left. It wasn’t until I stopped back a few more times that I realized is NEVER available. Where’s the games, the contests, and the recipes? All I get is a logo and a toll-free number to call with comments and questions. So here’s my comment: I’m not available.

Overall: D Look: D Content: D User Friendliness: D+


Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Dan’s Web site turn-ons and click-offs Marketers are frantically injecting promotion into Web sites and making sure their brands are represented the Right Way online. Why? Because they don’t want to get busted by PROMO’s tangled and twisted Webmeister, Dan Han the Killer Clicker Man. E-mail him at

LEAN AND MEAN While keeping a strong emphasis on nutrition and fitness, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has cut the fat and presented a site so packed with meat you half expect A1 to start leaking out of your disk drive. Send the kids off to “Burger Town” while you slice into the National Beef Cook-Off promotion. Read recipes, check out news, get nutritional and exercise information – or just share thoughts on all things grilled, seared, broiled, and kabobed. A few more pictures and graphics would be welcome, but for the most part this site is well done.

Overall: B+ Look: B+ Content: B User Friendliness: B-

THE RICE STUFF I know how out of shape I am, but does Uncle Ben’s online Nutri-Test (it analyzes your diet for you) have to rub it in? Another feature, an interactive cookbook, asks what’s in the cupboard and then spits out all the dishes you can serve up with those ingredients. Guests can also get a free subscription (database marketing, anyone?) to Ben’s in-house magazine and enter the $10,000 Kitchen Makeover sweeps. There’s a separate site for Canadian customers, although Ben apparently couldn’t care less how portly our friends in the Great White North get: the Nutri-Test is oddly absent on that site.

Overall: A- Look: A- Content: B+ User Friendliness: A-

SOUR STOMACH It’s more than a Web site. It’s more than a corporate homepage. SmithKline Beecham has essentially created a calcium healthcare center right on the Web. You couldn’t ask for more information: research the reference database in one area, check your own calcium levels in another. But the site could use some branding; the Tums logo is hard to spot. The marketers are obviously counting on the site to generate a following as a leading health resource, but consumers may welcome traditional promotion elements as well.

Overall: C+ Look: C Content: C+ User Friendliness: B-

AIRBALL Most promotion licensees of the NBA are still sitting on their cans figuring out the branding game plan, but Bijan Fragrances has no excuse. It’s got M.J.! With Jordan on board, promotions need not wait for a basketball season. The possibilities are endless. Instead, all this site proffers are cheesy TV clips and graphic-less screens. A “promotion” link leads guests to some Jordan-inspired cosmetic kits that went on sale last summer. That ain’t promotion, babydoll.

Overall: D Look: C- Content: D User Friendliness: D


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Who knew a coffee-liqueur could be this fun? What’s cool is that the cocktail concoctions are the least exciting things here. Get tipsy in the Pleasuredome, where cyberdrinkers meet, compete for prizes, and play such games as Truth or Dare. Get sauced in the Mood Room, where online visitors ponder life’s trickier moments (“An old flame will be at your high school reunion. Do you bring your spouse? Tempted not to?”). Invent drink recipes and submit them to the company for review. Sign-up for e-mail newsletters and get electronic updates on Bailey’s promotions, events, and related fiestas.

Overall: B- Look: C+ Content: B User Friendliness: B+

MESSAGE IN A CAN One look at the quartet of boogying whipped cream cans greeting Web guests, and you know you’re not dealing with sour milk. Recipes, interactive games, and party ideas are found throughout. But my favorite was the kids’ corner, where youngsters (and really immature promo writers) can build cybersundaes. The page, however, does lose a few points on the Danometer for its gallery of old prints ads (boring). All in all, lively animation, stand-out colors – too bad the Beatrice Food product can’t get this kind of play on supermarket shelves.

Overall: C+ Look: B Content: C User Friendliness: C+

SPUD WEB Ore-Ida has the right idea – its many brands (such as Tater Tots and high-end pasta line Rosetto) operate separate sites under a central homepage umbrella. Jump to to grab some coupons and send your better half a spud-o-gram. Then hop over to and ask Al Dente, Ore-Ida’s online pasta maitre d’, which wine goes best with which pasta. There’s also a separate page. Each site has its own look, feel and design. Almost an A, but Ore-Ida marketers made one blunder: they listed employment opportunities and corporate history links before the brand-related content on the main homepage.

Overall: B+ Look: B+ Content: B+ User Friendliness: B+

LOST IN CYBERSPACE Try to follow along: Two unaffiliated Playtex brands, Sara Lee’s Playtex Apparel Inc. and Playtex Products Inc., get together and “share” Consumers who surf to the site are presented with a plain Jane page offering up links from both companies. Those looking to hook onto, for example, an Eighteen Hour bra, are told the Sara Lee unit has yet to set up on the Web. Meanwhile, those looking to check out Playtex Products (tampons, Banana Boat sunscreen) are clicked over to a central homepage and then given access to that company’s various sites. Is anybody else exhausted? The Internet is about speed and convenience. This site has neither. Time for a redesign.

Overall: D Look: D Content: D+ User Friendliness: D


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Just the fact that they can download the now-infamous dancing baby should be enough reason for surfers to log onto Blockbuster’s Web site. But with content that changes every week, the homepage proves an especially worthy Internet stop. There’s promotion (consumers can win a trip to the Blockbuster Awards or play a Rugrats game that’s part of a three-part promotion showcasing the Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon movie), shopping (buy movies and videos, order a new electronic gift certificate card), and more (research flicks, check out new store offerings). Worthwhile.

Overall: B Look: B Content: B- User Friendliness: B+


An online store hawking – get this – pet insurance. It’s a bit much, but if you’re looking to cash in on Fluffy’s accidental dismemberment, this is the site for you. Purina, long known for its effective loyalty marketing efforts luring pet fanatics into shopping aisles, has electronically linked those efforts to its homepage. Granted, the site is light on straight promotion, but this thing is dripping with loyalty and database marketing. The site lets fans of cats and dogs alike log onto special areas of the page and chat with each other, get pet info, and subscribe to exclusive pet newsletters (no doubt newsletter subscribers receive coupons and other brand-intensive material in the mail).

Overall: B+ Look: B Content: B+ User Friendliness: A-


Spend as much time as you want here – you’ll never know the site is run by one of the most recognized brands in America. The homepage is part of AT&T’s effort to endear itself to young consumers and portray the company as a hip, effervescent brand. The Lucky Dog (the company’s brandless new dial-extra long distance service) Web site certainly doesn’t resemble anything Ma Bell has churned out before, and that is what’s so great about it. There’s virtually no content, just service information and a fantastic continuous sweepstakes, the first I’ve seen, awarding 345 prizes (trips, cruises, even ice-cold cash, baby) EACH DAY. Sign me up.

Overall: B+ Look: B Content: B+ User Friendliness: A-


Clean Shower jumped into supermarket aisles a few years ago and created a market where there wasn’t one, so you’d think Clean Shower’s Web site would be as innovative as its product. Not so. The company’s site is – like fashion – in desperate need of a makeover. The product locator and merchandise descriptions are valid, but it takes much more than product information to warrant an online presence. Think games, sweeps, newsletters, clubs, etc. Here’s an easy way for Clean Shower rivals to best the originator of scum’s No. 1 enemy.

Overall: D- Look: F Content: D User Friendliness: C-


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FASHION CAFE Why is this site getting a B+? Two words: Cindy (ooga-chugga) Crawford. In all seriousness, Revlon has served the collective cyber-populous much more than just eye candy. The company divides products into easy-to-window-shop categories and offers free screensavers, self care links, and online giveaways. What’s most impressive is that Revlon does what so many other brands don’t: it’s tied its online marketing to its off-line marketing. Overall: B+ Look: B Content: B+ User Friendliness: A-

NICE DO, KANGAROO! Check this out: Instead of nailing cybersurfers with product shots and shampoo-related information upon landing, Aussie opts to hit them hard with an online sweepstakes. Why? To enter the contest, consumers need to list two natural ingredients found in Aussie products. And, let’s see . . . hmmm . . . to get those ingredients they need to – CHECK OUT THE PRODUCTS?? Righty-O, mate. Well done. Good graphics, nice features, solid extras. Overall: A Look: A Content: A- User Friendliness: A

SAY WHEN The products may cut through pores like a hot knife through Parkay (Butter!), but Biore’s Web site is almost as good. There was a lot of thought put into this, as there are sweeps to enter and games to play, free beauty advice, related educational information, and ways to link to the company’s sponsorship of alternative concert Lilith Fair. But the company loses points for subjecting us to the cyber-lives of the five fictional girls (I wanted to reach into my monitor and strangle them all.) that appear seemingly from every corner of the site to blab nonsensicals. Close – BUT NO CIGAR! Overall: C+ Look: B- Content: C User Friendliness: B-

DON’T GO BREAKIN’ MY HEART Citibank has almost made the most of its high-priced sponsorship of Elton John’s music tour. TV spots, print ads. Win tickets to the shows. Go hit an ATM and you half expect “Bennie and the Jets” to start blaring. But, ahem, how come there ain’t no Elton online? The cheapest and easiest way to exploit that sponsorship has gone unnoticed. And that’s a real shame, because there are some fantastic features here (pay bills, transfer moolah, etc.) that the ol’ Rocket Man could have made even cooler. Overall: D Look: C Content: C User Friendliness: D


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DOGGIE-STYLE They plump when you cook ’em, but come on pookie, on the two-dimensional Web, that’s not enough. The kind of sites that have things plumping on them aren’t the kind you want to be associated with. There’s a touch of promotion here (a tie-in with an on-pack contest and a sweeps offering a chance to win a trip) but there could be so much more goin’ on. Especially when you consider how much cash Ball Park must be coughing up to endorsee Michael Jordan, you’d think he’d pop up a bit more on this site than he does. The recipes are tasteless, the content categories void of anything substantial, and the merchandise – HA!HA!HA!

TOY STORIES Think how your kids’ Christmas lists will exponentially explode once the little ones realize they can stroll Toys R Us aisles in a matter of clicks. Oh calm down, babydoll, it’s your own fault – you bought them the damn computer in the first place and that Barney CD-ROM had to get tired eventually. The site has a virtual playground and toy tips, as well as a purchase incentive where shoppers can score a free hat with their first online buy. Shop by department or vendor, then check the gift registry or join the online club. A fine example of how retail and Internet can be married with marketing to form an instant hit.

EXPRESS-SO GOOD The java giant’s full-scale Web site is still in development, but the retail chain’s marketers have put up some caffeinated content in the meantime. There’s a tie to the company’s sponsorship of the Lilith Fair music tour and a contest where visitors can win a stereo and a CD collection. Cybershoppers can buy an exclusive Lilith CD, see what store the tour’s musicians might be playing next, or just hang out and ponder serious things like whether they should have the cappuccino or the Frappuccino. Can’t wait for the full version to launch sometime this fall.

MUST BE THE HEAT Marketers have long known how many purchase decisions are based on impulse, right? Then why do so many put so much stock in listing things like food menus on a Web site? There’s just no way a hungry (starving. actually) editor like myself would go online to see how much a gyro costs. This company should be thinking about ways to strut its cyberstuff (coupons, clubs, loyalty programs) rather than which processed food item should be featured in the “Product Spotlight” (when I looked it was the Chicken Philly Sub). Wastrels.


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I don’t much care for the grocer’s online “smiling character,” Mr. Pig whose snout is plastered all over the site. What I do care for couldn’t be found – some sort of reason for shoppers or surfers to want to touch down here. The old “find the nearest store near you” thing is getting old, guys. Having simple graphics and cartoons keeps things simple, but the Internet has evolved to a point where Web sites need to have substance. This pig’s a dog.

Overall: C – Look: C Content: D User Friendliness: C +


Snapple does a nice job keeping content fresh on one portion of its homepage while it upgrades the other. Users are informed that the site is under construction but then given more than enough places to go in the meantime. To promote the new 20-oz. squeeze bottle, online guests can play a Shockwave game where they drive a delivery truck and squirt Snapple into the mouths of “thirsty Snapple heads.” Download new desktop patterns, icons, and sounds, then create your own Web page. I can’t wait to come back once the renovation is complete. But where’s Wendy? I love her, man. She’s so damn plucky!

Overall: A Look: A – Content: A +User Friendliness: B +


It may not be GRR-EEAAT, but Tony’s online digs aren’t too shabby. Kids can hang out and play puzzles, download fun tidbits, and check out trivia with the cat himself. Figure out any of Tony’s four cybermysteries and hotlink over and join the Team Tony Club. There isn’t an infinite amount of content here, but what’s there will have kids bookmarking the site for sure. The homies in Battle Creek gets a B+.

Overall: B + Look: B Content: C – User Friendliness: A –


Attention Papa John’s marketers: Please get a pen and pad and log onto Take notes vigorously for one hour, order a large pepperoni, and brainstorm in between bites. This page insults our intelligence with statements like, “Why is Papa John’s pizza better than the others? Simple. We use better ingredients.” Oh puh-lease, sugar. Sure, Web surfers can order their pizza online. Big deal. Use sweepstakes, games, contests, trivia, graphics to dazzle, then they’ll order anything sans anchovy you ask them to.

Overall: D +Look: D Content: C – User Friendliness: D


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Dan’s picks of new and interesting Web site promotions Think you have what it takes to be a marketer in cyberspace? Then step up to the mousepad and let PROMO’s tangled Webmaster, Dan Hanover, give you a lookover. Tell him about your site at

A QUICK PICK-ME-UP Whether you wanna be like Mike, or just want to chill out in the Land of Quench, Gatorade’s Web site is ready for you. Just the presence of Mr. Jordan should slam dunk this site’s traffic, but in case surfers want more, it’s all here, babydoll. Games, trivia tests, links to an online store, there’s more than you ever dared wonder about America’s fave electrolyte concoction. Find out which kooky flavors are on deck, enter an NBA-themed sweeps, or dive into MJ’s own portal page linked to the site. They shoot . . . and they score..

Overall: B+ Look: B+ Content: B User Friendliness: B+

SOMETHING’S FISHY With the recipes, trivia, and merchandise found on Charlie the Tuna’s site, Star-Kist Foods, Inc. may have gone overboard. Let them have their fun; we’ll have ours. The page has some helpful info, but for the most part (cyber coloring books and downloadable screensavers) it serves up too much kid-flavored content. Don’t forget those adult consumers – like promo sales rep Jim Lynch (whose wife lovingly tosses two slices of white bread and a can of Charlie into his lunch bag each morning)- are the ones with the shopping dollars. Kids usually save their whining for the ice cream aisle.

Overall: C+ Look: B Content: B User Friendliness: C

STAY HIDDEN It’s an easy concept. You launch a Web site, you add a few products, and you toss in some damn reason for a consumer with two brain cells to WANT to surf there. It’s not like I’m trying to explain the delicate process of putting together quirky but informative in-depth Web site reviews. The cheddar-and-bacon dip here actually sounds pretty boss, but simply having a logo and 15 ranch-related recipes just doesn’t cut the mustard (or the dressing). Nothing gets me goin’ like lazy Web marketers. Surely they have games, contests, and a little thing called FUN in Hidden Valley, don’t they?

Overall: D Look: C+ Content: C User Friendliness: C-

THAT’S A WRAP Thanks to the folks at this quick service restaurant chain for extending my rip-a-gram for another month (this was originally supposed to be a one-shot deal, but lazy marketers have snowballed the section into a reader favorite). World Wraps takes the time to designate a homepage, as well as tie-in its stores for possible online ordering. But it only gives Web guests lame descriptions of what wraps (sandwiches wrapped in soft tortillas) and smoothies (fruity shakes) actually are. Simpletons.

Overall: D Look: D Content: D User Friendliness: C


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