Next Level Interactive – Trying Something Different

by Jonathan Marshall

Charlotte, NC-based advertising agency, BooneOakley uses YouTube’s Video Annotations feature to create an interactive series of videos that serves as the agency’s entire website. On YouTube, the Video Annotations feature allows users to personalize their videos with links to relevant information, or to other videos. Additionally, it can be used to create interactive video narratives, where viewers click to choose the next scene.

Many of the comments from viewers underneath each video describe the BooneOakley series as “the most clever agency website ever.” While I think that is a bit of a stretch, it’s definitely impressive and I have never seen or heard of another agency doing this. If the agency website is on YouTube, on ehas to assume that a huge contribution of many of their campaigns comes from Interactive and Viral mediums. The most popular video in the series, “home page,” has nearly 500,000 views on YouTube.

The videos use linked hotspots on the left side of the screen to provide such typical website elements as tabs. These hotspots are: “work by client,” “work by medium,” “news, bio, etc.” and “contact us.” The animated video is mostly hand-drawn and the three minute “home page” video tells visitors of Billy. Billy is a marketing director, who is told by his boss to seek out a large, trendy and typical agency to create an advertising campaign that ultimately disappoints Billy’s boss. Unfortunately, this leads to him getting fired and then immediately being shot by his wife. Not dramatic at all, but slightly humorous.

“We needed a new way to tell our story, and today the best forum for a story is YouTube, where we can use narration and really crappy animation. As an embeddable video, the new BooneOakley website presents our work in a unique, and also more easily accessible, way. And it can live anywhere that supports YouTube videos, including blogs, other websites, and many cell phones,” says David Oakley, Creative Director.

The idea of putting an entire agency’s website on a series of YouTube videos is clever, but in many ways it limits the company. Clearly there is no comparison when it comes to navigation, usability, and functionality to more typical agency websites, but then again- what is “typical” anymore? While I can’t speak for how well BooneOakley is doing these days, I can say that they have a unique and intriguing idea for how they market themselves- and that clearly has people talking. Especially since they were the first to do it. Thumbs up to BooneOakley for standing out in a creative, innovative and constantly-evolving industry.