Whoever said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery never worked in advertising because for me it only shows you can’t have an idea of your own. The latest poster child for this problem is American Express who seems to be trying to copy the success that Office Max had last year with Elf Yourself by partnering with Oddcast so customers can turn themselves in to a virtal Holiday Rockstar.
Before I even get into the site, I am the only who thinks Oddcast characters are just freakin’ creepy? If you don’t know the name you have probably seen their work before as they are those creepy characters whose eyes follow your cursor like some virtual mentally damaged digital Stepford wife who starts blabbing away without asking permission. For me they were interesting for about 6 months maybe 4 years ago when complicated animation like that was just starting to emerge in Flash. Since then they haven’t evolved and always seems like the easy out for projects that don’t have the time or budget to come up with a real idea.
The site experience consists of choosing from one of three pre-recorded songs or do your own, choose a face or upload your own, write a dedication and away you go. I don’t even know where to start with this one for so many reasons. I could barely listen to the pre-recorded music as they didn’t even get the real version of the songs and instead opted to go with easy listening style covers of the originals. When I tried to upload my own photo it crashed three different browsers multiple times. This may be the worst site I have seen all year because it is a year old recycled idea that is horribly executed on through third party technology with no brand messaging or concept. I have said it a million times but TECHNOLOGY IS NOT AN IDEA. If you don’t have a concept, a core human truth or something to communicate all the cool technology in the world can’t save you from something like this.