Good ‘n’ Cracked

If you watch North American, and by “North American” I mean “United States,” football, you might have noticed a new set of television commercials from Wonderful Pistachios that probably try to emulate the success in years’ past of Emerald Nuts.  Wonderful Pistachios has a Web site and everything, so its agency got some budget.  Which it apparently spent on the commercials and turned the Web site over to interns.

Let’s enumerate some of the problems.

One: The Common Twitter Juxtaposition

To prove connectedness with the Internet, Wonderful Pistachios has turned over a valuable portion of its real estate to anyone with a Twitter account:

Hey, that's on message.
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Including people with Twitter accounts complaining about browser incompatibility.

Two: Coupons apparently work only with IE.

Three: No validation on Zip Code in store locator.

If you don’t enter a zip code in the search box on the store locator page, Google does the same thing as the interactive agency does privately: it blames the client.

The client made me do it!
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Four: Grafting a WordPress blog onto it without customizing validation.

WordPress comes out of the box with validation, which explains how its presence slipped past the people behind this site.  To really make it snazzy, they should have made sure that the validation messages showed up in a branded error page, not this:

Is this an advertising site for vanilla?  Because that's what this message is.
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Five:  They used a spokesman in a commercial guaranteed to anger some people.

Cleverly, they included a spot with Levi Johnston, the boy who impregnated Sarah Palin’s daughter and has gone on to pose in Playgirl magazine and appear in pistachio commercials to cash in on his fame.  People who do not like Sarah Palin might think the spots are clever.  People who don’t follow politics, and by that I mean most Americans, won’t get it and the spot’s budget will be wasted.  On the other hand, people who like Sarah Palin will be offended and will rail against the company.  Not all publicity is good publicity, particularly if you’re angering people in the superheated political world of 2009 America.  On the other hand, probably every one in the agency knows who Levi Johnston is and doesn’t like Sarah Palin, so they cannot anticipate the problem.

What did they do right?

In the interest of fairness, I should mention what the agency did right in this Web site/campaign: they sure spent that budget real good.  And they created a pastichio of video, Flash animation, blog, and Twitter feeds whose sum is not much more than the sum of the parts, but sure look good as bullet points in the agency’s portfolio when accompanied by a static screenshot of the homepage.

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