Dudes and Achievers

August 4, 2008 § 2 Comments

Today, I had the good fortune to stumble upon Jeff Bridges’ website, a website unlike any I’ve seen (specifically his “Stuff” section). Nearly everything on the site is handwritten and hand drawn, apparently all by The Dude himself. The handwriting and drawings are large, which creates an interesting effect of obviousness and friendliness. Quite frankly, it shatters the third wall with its humanity.

Contrast that with this website, a multinational marketing firm’s named MRM Worldwide. They have a splash screen that you can’t bypass. A soundtrack is played. Little firefly things fly over the links and a 3-D interface is used (which is fun for a minute, but a tad annoying and long-winded). Color-wise, they use a regal purple and gold. This is a sleek, sleek site meant to show the power of the firm, their technical skills, their worldliness. And it shows. Good for them.

But what hits me so harshly is that MRM’s website feels vast and unreachable, making me feel tiny, while Mr Bridges’ site feels rich and tangible, like I’m in a 1-to-1 situation with him. Consider:

• MRM shows me the whole world—a deeply impersonal scale. Mr. Bridges shows me notes and hand drawn pictures—a deeply personal scale.
• MRM uses purple and gold, a color scheme that makes me feel like I’m approaching a king. Mr. Bridges uses black and white and whatever color is needed for a picture, like I’m sitting next to a dude at a coffee shop.
• MRM has an interface that acts a bit aloofly, like it doesn’t want me there. Mr. Bridges’ site is straightforward with big words and pictures, like he wants me to surf around and chill.

Of course, they both have very different audiences, striving for a different effect. But, I wonder if MRM couldn’t use just a little less “wow” factor and think about their audience a little more. After all, marketing is all about connecting with people and if they can’t walk the walk for themselves, then how is that going to look to a potential client?

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