Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Battle for the Bronchs: GlaxoSmithKline uses games and desktops to encourage asthma sufferers to use its products

Games, desktops, comics and a screensaver here. Via Plaid.

Update: Since the commenter asked for my thoughts, I decided to take another look at the site. In a nutshell, the site works smoothly and has a decent interface, but I think it does far more to show off the designers' web skills than actually help GlaxoSmithKline in any way.

Initially, I have to admit that I rarely enjoy fancy flash-driven sites. I'd much rather skim a Blogger blog where everything is laid out and I don't have to hunt through menus or wait for constantly loading pages in the hopes of finding interesting content. So, from the start, this site had little chance of winning me over.

The site does run pretty smoothly, and I appreciated that there were clearly labeled links to each section at the top of the screen - - the screensaver and wallpapers are in the section labeled "downloads." But although the video ran smoothly on the site, it doesn't quite embed right. (And I've now removed the video because it's irritating that it starts without clicking on it.) Why not just use Youtube, which everybody uses because it almost always works?

Plus, although it's pretty easy to access the content of the site, none of it is very compelling, fun, or memorable. There's a variety of games, and it's clever that you can use a microphone to play them (by blowing, since the site is about lung capacity, after all). But the games I tried weren't remotely fun. Why would anyone play these games when there's essentially an infinite number of outstanding free games available on the web?

There are several desktop wallpapers, but the desktops aren't particularly pleasant to look at, and even if they were, there's really nothing about them to remind you about GSK or how GSK can help you:

Finally, I assume that if I'd watched enough of the "video comics," I would have seen the hero somehow triumph over his breathing issues, quite possibly with the help of GSK's products. But I lost interest in watching the videos long before it got to that point, or simply missed the message.

Seems like a better investment would have been finding some charismatic young person suffering from asthma and have him(her) blog about his summer activities and how his asthma doesn't stop him from enjoying life.