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Gwen Stefan, Toyrama and HP

HP recently launched two new sites which both go after the creative class and designers. It is the first time I can remember any computer company other than Apple even trying to talk to us.

I first saw the campaign that leads to this site about two weeks ago and I have to say it made an impression. The ad, which you can watch on the site, is simple enough with Gwen walking around talking about the creative process and how she comes up with ideas. It got my attention more for the reason I talked about in the open in that it was aimed at the creative class than anything else. I had high hopes for the site but was really left wanting and disappointed after the experience. The site has two projects which have been created by HP and Stefani which are a paper doll entourage or postcards and stationary. Both of these give you nearly no creativity as all you can do it chose from a set list of options.

So an experience that started out working very well when I saw the TV ad became a train wreck when I got to the site. This is a medium that is supposed to deep a brand experience so why did I go from seeing a TV commercial with a mature point of view to being asked to play with paper dolls? What happened to this being about creativity? Did no one think that maybe they should have created content that would appeal to someone other than a 13 year old girl? So all of this leads you to feel like they are paying more lip service to the creative community than anything else.

Toyrama is a visually imaginative site was launched to kicks off a unique contest that invites digital animators across Asia Pacific to create, design and direct short, animated skits. You are provided with music, backdrops, a series of actions, speech bubbles and more so all you aspiring amateur animation directors can so crazy.

It was created by Leo Burnett Singapore’s interactive branch, ARC Worldwide and the cartoon assets were designed by cult British vinyl toymaker Pete Fowler. The final product can be submitted to the “Open” category for general entries or “Professional” for the more seasoned animating types. The deadline is October 7th and the entries will be judged by Pete Fowler. Four winners will get Maya Autodesk software and a trip to Dreamworks studios in LA to watch the animation process firsthand.

There is a lot of art to being able to create good work on the site since the actual filmmaking tools are pretty limited but the kookiness of Fowler’s characters and background design partially help overcome the problem.

It’s interesting to watch another computer company try and take a run at the sacred ground Apple has held with creatives since the beginning of digital design. For me the problem is that since none of the content is tied to any of their products and you can use it from any platform (including a Mac on Safari) I fail to see how this is going to make a real brand impression or get us creative types to ever switch from our beloved Mac’s. I guess you have to start somewhere.

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