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Rich Newman, art director/illustrator
April Steinbach, writer
John Rich, creative director
Brian Nail/John Nicolas, programmers
Grant Spofford, producer
t:m interactive, project design and development
t:m advertising, ad agency
match.com, client

“I liked the use of character as an innovative way to guide the user through the experience. Margo’s personality is entertaining and inviting.” —juror Bryan Finke

“Brings a much needed sense of humor to the whole online dating scene. I particularly liked the Hide Margo feature that creates an ‘office-appropriate’ screen in the event someone catches you on the site.” —juror Allegra Burnette

Overview: A virtual matchmaker could be the answer to singles’ prayers. Margo, the dating guru, walks viewers through the necessary steps to look for love online. The clever animation and folksy voice talent make the search less stressful.

• 9 HTML, 12 SWF, 1 JSP and 3 Java classes
• Java used to access www.match.com user database to present unique dating matches
• 14 months, 8 people

Comments by John Rich:
“Not surprisingly, women are an essential ingredient when it comes to online dating. Bring in the women and the men will follow—a whole lot of them. So that’s what match.com wanted: more women. The only problem is that many women find the whole idea, of meeting that special someone online, weird and creepy.

“Our solution was Margo. She’s a combination of that funny and outgoing best friend you wish you had, combined with the matchmaking powers of a prototypical yenta. All of it is packaged in a retro animation style to make it disarming and fun.

“First you find yourself watching, then you’re playing along and before you know it there are eight potential special someones, and they’re all living in your zip code. Then it’s only one more click to make the connection. Who could resist?

“Technically, the biggest challenge we faced was getting each person’s answers out to the massive match.com database and then bringing back just the bits and pieces of the results we wanted. This had to be done within fractions of a second and it had to be completely invisible to the user.

“Fortunately, to make sure it worked perfectly, the programmers were willing to spend many, many long hours testing and searching the database for women 18–24 living in their zip code.”


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