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Interactive Annual 15:
self-promotion

Modernista!

Launch Live Site

“A classic. The site that’s not a site. And the strategy of distributing content across the Web makes immeasurable sense.” —Jay Zasa

“This agency takes a brave and inexpensive approach to their brand by limiting available information to what is posted on social media sites.” —Amber Bezahler


Overview: Since being founded in 2000, Modernista! has updated its site almost every year. The challenge to differentiate itself from other agencies, all essentially saying the same thing, drove the agency to come up with this unique new way to display its work. The latest version of the company “site” consists of a simple navigation menu that lies on top of the living, breathing and collaborative social Web. By letting the best-of-breed 2.0 applications and sites be the environments where its story is told, Modernista! is allowing the Web audience to have a say in defining the dialogue about the studio.

  • • A JavaScript navigation menu allows for content links to show up inside the navigation while allowing the frame behind it to serve as the creative space; to keep users grounded the menu stays with them as they explore.
  • • Because of the site’s unique approach and limited requirements, development time was a remarkably fast three or four weeks.
  • • At launch, unique monthly visitors increased 555 percent from the month prior. For the next 6 months, total visits were up 351 percent as compared to the previous 6 months.

Comments by Gary Koepke and Lance Jensen

How did this project compare with others you’ve worked on in the past? “When the time came around for us to evaluate our approach for the seventh version of our site, we were highly tuned-in to two key trends that we were preaching to our own clients: 1. With the power shift in media to consumers and community, brands were experiencing less control over how they are defined; and 2. Web sites are only one of the endless places brands can articulate their stories on the Internet.

“There’s such a challenge now for ad agencies to be digitally savvy and understand everything going on in the medium. We wanted to prove that we could have a site that was totally transparent and highly successful at the same time. One of the first things we had to face was the huge risk of that transparency, and what it really meant. No approvals. No editing. In the end, it was actually freeing to give up all control to the audience.

“To be honest, the idea freaked out our lawyers. Things began to heat up when Jimmy Wales from Wikipedia contacted us (politely, at first) to request we stop using the Wiki entry as our landing page. After that, a lot of spirited discussion began happening online. That convinced us we were doing something right. We’ve redesigned our site almost every year since we started the company, and this version is the one that really got people worked up—one way or another.”

Credits

Tim Blount, art director
Lance Jensen/Gary Koepke, executive creative directors
Tim Blount/Michael Jordan, programmers
Modernista! (Boston, MA), project design and development/client