“The concept of mind mapping is employed in an engaging way that communicates the message.” —juror Bryan Finke
“Great interface, great content. You can spend a long time on this site before running out of interesting stuff. Kudos!” —juror Grace Stanat
Overview: Companion site for anti-smoking campaign provides a wealth of information debunking myths and disinformation from the tobacco industry. The tone and feel of the site echoes the ad campaign that inspired it and goes further in its interactive format allowing visitors to act as sleuths uncovering the truth from the industry’s web of “conspiracy.”
• 19,000 visitors, 32,000 page views per day
• Page templates are static, while the data that they display is pulled dynamically from a database
• ColdFusion backend
• 4 load-balanced Web servers, 1 database server
• 3 months, 14 people site development, 8 people maintenance
Comments by Mike Howard:
“After years of spreading information about tobacco companies and their products, we felt like it was time to evolve truth and demonstrate how all that information, taken together, paints a bigger picture.
“In the world of Big Tobacco, every effect has a cause and each action, or inaction, sets off its own chain of reactions. That’s the idea at the center of the connect-truth campaign.
“Our goal for the online component was to organize a body of interrelated facts about tobacco in a way that would illustrate those interrelationships—to map out the tangled web. We wanted something that would work with the offline projects too—so a TV spot could connect to a magazine ad, which could connect to something online and then back again. The way we imagined it, the more confusing and complicated it got, the better it became. The problem: Building something that sounded confusing proved to be confusing.
“We began by coming up with some categorical ‘buckets’ for our facts. Then we plopped each of the facts into its appropriate bucket or buckets. The result was this completely ridiculous monster of a spreadsheet with tobacco facts and checkmarks and keywords all over the place. When we showed it to our creative director, Pete Favat, his eyes actually glazed over.
“From there, we handed the whole mess to our team of tremendously talented nerds. What we got in return was this neat little navigation device—a 3-D, rotating constellation of orange dots we affectionately call, ‘Marty’ (which may sound like a cool acronym with all sorts of esoteric, techie meaning, but the truth is, we had to call it something, and ‘Marty’ seemed like as nice a name as any). Powered by thousands of lines of ActionScript, XML and ColdFusion, Marty acts like a neural network. There are no dead-ends. You can access a related piece of information no matter where you are. And, by entering a keyword from an offline execution, you can continue to string together information.
“It was a whole lot of work, but we think it’s pretty nifty.”