One of the first projects I worked on at Freestyle Interactive was for the Sims 3 launch earlier this year.
The client wanted a “big Facebook idea” for the launch of the Sims 3, but Facebook doesn’t allow things like page takeovers, skins, or expandable ad units. The only thing Facebook would offer was the use of their new “Engagement Ads,” and there’s just nothing exciting about that. It’s the exact opposite of a big idea.
I suggested that, instead, we should use Facebook as the destination. We could create a site that existed somewhere else and would act as a proxy to a user’s web experience. And that’s exactly what we ended up doing. We created the Sim Sidekick, an in-browser overlay that users could take to any site. The widget would react to the page by scraping it for keywords and returning an appropriate animation based on the underlying content. The result was a widget that people spent over 4-minutes with on average. Skittles, of course, did the same kind of thing when they relaunched Skittles.com back in March 2009.
I foresee more of these kinds of experiences in the future, where the brand can create proxies that allow you to view the web through the brands perspective. Well, at least the interesting brands. I’m not sure this is a concept I’d want to pitch to Tampax.