JC Penney this week rolled out just what the world needs: another Flash microsite for the holidays. I have to look at so many microsites that my expectations are never high. Still, some do stand out—the ones that make me wonder why anyone in their right mind would spend time there. "Beware of the Doghouse" is one of those sites. First, upon arriving at the site, it tells me my browser isn't good enough. You know what, JC Penney, it is. Next, there's an intro video to sit through—nearly five minutes of painful setup to the site's "idea." Which is: Men are doofuses—shocking that advertising would portray them that way—and get women dumb holiday gifts, even vacuum cleaners. They are then banished to a mythical doghouse until they buy their way out. Get it? Hey, it worked for Kobe. JC Penney employs an eye-rolling user-generated approach by letting visitors put men in the doghouse. (There's a techie twist with one of the earliest uses of Facebook Connect, which lets visitors check if their friends are in the doghouse. None of mine are, it seems.) How to get out? Diamonds! Men simply need to buy their ladies the three-stone ring, journey pendant or diamond studs—from JC Penney, conveniently enough. Saatchi & Saatchi and Razorfish boldly take credit for this.
—Posted by Brian Morrissey