"A technological breakthrough. Go ahead, give the site a call, literally." —juror Ian Coyle
"A clever way to entice and entertain a broadband audience. And the puppets are fun." —juror Paula Willard
Overview: An entertaining, and participatory experience, Comcastic offers a number of innovative activities intended to make its users say, "That's Comcastic!" Visitors can play with three-dimensional puppets, test their mouse skills and, not surprisingly, view product offerings.
• 3-D talking puppets
• Flash Communication Server
• 3 million visitors as of May 2006
• Voice integration with toll free phone number
Comments by Amanda Kelso:
"Comcastic.com was designed, pure and simple, to be a fun, entertaining and participatory experience. When we created the initial concepts for the site, we were very ambitious. Actually, we weren't even sure if it was possible to build what we were imagining.
"The idea of creating puppets inside messages that you could send to your friends, programmed with your own voice and dance moves, had never been done before on a Flash-based site. In addition, we had to create a game in which players competed with each other for the title of the Comcast World Speed-Mouse Record. Of course, there was only two months to build it out in time for Comcast’s campaign launch. Then again, the best ideas are always those that at first seem impossible. And our team was up for the challenge.
"The architecture of the site was designed (in conjunction with Flash designers from Number 9, and sound designer Gino Nave) to introduce the wit and color of Comcast’s new identity. "The On Demand section of the site emphasizes that the viewer is in control of entertainment when using Comcast’s service; leveraging puppets to convey that message seemed, to us, like a logical choice. Brian Taylor of Rustboy fame was tapped to illustrate the highly-stylized puppet characters before being rendered in 3-D with the help of Keytoon Animation Studios. With the assistance of Erik Natzke and Branden Hall, we integrated the 3-D animations into Flash, developed the body mechanics for each puppet and implemented chat functionality and microphone recording capability using Macromedia Flash Media Server.
"For the High-Speed Internet portion of the site, we wanted to give people a place to play fun skill-test games using only their computer mouse. Collaborating closely with The Barbarian Group we developed a game that allowed people to challenge friends, and compete for world’s-fastest-speed-mouser bragging rights. The concepts, that pay homage to Comcast’s High-Speed Internet offering, are a Dexterity Maze and an Endurance Loader.
"By the time the site launched, we realized that we'd pulled-off something that had never been done before, which made us proud, not to mention the fact that we achieved our primary goal, which was to have people visit the site and say, 'That's Comcastic!'"