"Complete with the voice of 'Hal,' the subtle nature of this site intrigues the mind of the consumer. In many respects, it's everything, and more, that Borders may have wanted in a mainstream advertising project." —juror Elena Blanco
"I could have used this last Christmas." —juror Kevin Flatt
Overview: With its wry, Hal-like commentary and quirky interface, this holiday portal offered an amusing way to find the perfect gift for friends and family. Visitors rated their gift's receiver along five personality dimensions, and the application then made suggestions from Borders' holiday catalog.
• 500 items in three categories: books, music and movies
• 520,671 visits from 377,024 unique visitors
• 2-month development time
Comments by Jeff Benjamin:
"Giftmixer3000 grew out of our inability to find Christmas gifts for our sweeties. No longer would we be faced with the 'What were you thinking? Don't you know me? You're sleeping on the couch tonight' face. This past holiday season we decided that we were going to find a way to get the perfect gift. We had to hurry though; we only had a month to come up with a solution.
"For the most part, shopping sites are all the same. All fairly useful, but all somewhat boring. They differ only with regard to how nicely they're designed. We wanted to try and change that. The Giftmixer3000 is an effort to bring fun, entertainment and utility to online shopping—something that's been lacking in the online space.
"The original idea was a simple mixer to find products. Think of the person you're shopping for and slide the slider to the appropriate trait. In return, the site will find books, DVDs and music that would make perfect gifts.
"As good as it was, once the site was created, we felt like something was missing. So we gave the mixer a personality. We recorded hundreds and hundreds of voiced audio responses that the mixer would make based on user interaction. The Giftmixer3000 suddenly sprang to life.
"Soon, it was fun to configure it for a friend or loved one. It was fun to shop. And even better, except for the first day when it kept suggesting Leaving Las Vegas and self-help books to everyone who asked, the gifts were perfect matches for the recipients…. At least that's what our sweeties think."