McCann, you talkin’ to me?

Mccann2_1There are legions of ad agency web sites that have left us flummoxed over the years, particularly for their annoying tendency to favor art direction over features that might actually make their sites easy to navigate. But, we’ve never had an agency web site talk to us when we didn’t ask it to, until last week.

That’s when we encountered the McCann WorldGroup site. As several AdFreak colleagues described it, "What do you get when you combine the head ticks of Max Headroom with the color scheme of Blue Man Group? Throw in some earnest hand gestures and you’ve got McCann’s talking Web site."

Actually, the Max Headroom analogy is sort of fitting if you remember that McCann employed the 1980s digitized talking head to sell Coke in the mid-1980s. But back to the web site. Set against a deep blue backdrop, visitors first encounter a gaggle of McCann executives in silhouette. Everything seems safe, blue and quiet. But say you get curious and click on a region such as "North America" in the McCann Erickson section. At first, there’s no indication that all hell is about to break loose. You’re greeted by a box featuring regional director Eric Keshin next to a big, quote, "Key to our success is finding the unique customer success that drives demand…”

But what you probably won’t notice is that the whole time, Keshin is buffering. It’s stealth buffering, it so quietly unfolds. And then, without warning, he starts talking, and gesturing. It caused the spouse of one member of team AdFreak to come in from an adjoining room and ask, "What’s that?!" And the only way to shut it down — save for lunging across your desk and turning off your computer speakers — is to shut the site down.

If we want to hear from you, we’ll let you know.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor