Friday, 21 December 2007

Brush off for Colgate Smile Power

I have now done an extensive and thorough inspection of the Colgate Smile Power site in Second Life - it took about 30 seconds. It is difficult to know how to put this, but I shall start slowly and see how I get on. The first word that springs to mind is "underwhelmed" - but more of this anon. First, let me try and put this site in context.

I say "site" but it is closer in size to a garage or shed than to a parcel, let alone a full sim. It sits on the This Second sim, which belongs to This Second Marketing, "a marketing agency that specializes in helping brand marketers enter the vibrant, fast-growing world of Second Life. We are made up of marketing and digital media professionals who have been living 'Second Lives' since before the buzz-boom over Second Life in late 2006. We approach brand marketing in Second Life from a different, and dare we say smarter, perspective than most other companies in this specialized field." I may not be a marketing person, but I really don't see the "smarter" here... ummm... or the "different" for that matter.

The Colgate build, which appears to occupy just part of the ground floor of a larger, 3-storey building, is at best perfunctory. Aside from a couple of logos and photos the main features are a set of rotating cubes and 4 product dispensers. The purpose of the cubes? Simply to tell you to use the dispensers. Why? I can only assume that someone realised how lifeless (motionless) the build was and decided to whack in some movement. The result: 9 rotating cubes. Others have commented that these are not phantom (ie you cannot walk through them) but I at least did not have an issue with bumping into them. Perhaps they've been moved. The dispenser gives you a HUD that enables you to smile (or not), along with a decent list of nice places to visit in SL, and the obligatory free T-shirt. The HUD splatters itself across the centre of your screen (cute!) and offers you both a "smile" and a "dance" animation. On my ugly features, the smile looked more like a grimace.

I took a few snaps, which I have decided to load directly, rather than link to my Flickr page.

There are other commercial enterprises on the sim, perhaps the largest being SwirL. We are invited to "Come Join SwirL, the new hot spot cafe, sponsored by Coffee-mate. It's a fantastic place for residents to meet, socialize and relax with a good cup of coffee. Visit the swirl annex to see Top SL entertainment." Hmmmm....

One final point: the sim was quite busy when I arrived, but I quickly realised that everyone else on the sim (as far as I could tell) was a camper, paid to make it look busy. It was a very strange feeling, like being in a David Lynch movie.

So there you have it. I just have to ask: "Colgate! Why did you do it?" The cost may have looked overwhelmingly attractive on paper - but you've damaged your brand through a miserly and ill-considered first foray in virtual worlds. I would strongly suggest that you rethink why you want to be in Second Life, what it is you want to achieve and then how you propose to do it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I visted the Colgate sim and was surprised as to the unprofessialism of the build. Great builders are in Second Life. One would think they would create something that would come close to a sim build that is both inventive and professional. This sort of build gives the mass media fodder to say Second Life is a bad idea for companies to join in and after visiting this build I would tend to agree.