Today we learned that TechCrunch blogger Kyle Russell doubles as an advertising critic. More specifically, he criticizes the websites of ad agencies.
There’s a reason he was interested in this one: it’s West, the San Francisco shop founded by former Apple marketing chief Allison Johnson with a bit of capital from Twitter originator Jack Dorsey.
About a year ago, we posted on West in response to tipsters’ claims that all the real ad people hired to staff the agency were leaving. West’s web presence doesn’t help clarify that matter, because it provides absolutely no information about the organization itself.
Still, Russell lingered on the page long enough to call it “a new champion in the endless battle to have the most pretentious startup website.”
The site simply includes an email address, and it cycles through a series of background images and the word “west” in different languages including Braille. We sat through the cycle long enough to note this outlier:
We get Russell’s criticisms, especially after seeing the image above. The quote isn’t quite accurate, though — the full version from Marinetti’s “we got really f*cked up and invented this wicked statement of purpose” essay reads:
“Literature has up to now magnified pensive immobility, ecstasy and slumber. We want to exalt movements of aggression, feverish sleeplessness, the double march, the perilous leap, the slap and the blow with the fist.”
The implication being that West is edgy.
We’re obviously not web designers or art directors, but we will note that some agencies’ sites seem designed to cause seizures and that “minimalism” works for others. Take, for example, the home page of top PR firm Sunshine Sachs. But then, they’re in public relations, so they have no need to showcase their award-winning creative or their staffers’ edgiest headshots.
And at least their site does include a phone number.