|THE GLOBE AND MAIL||
THURSDAY MAY 9, 2002 / THURSDAY NOVEMBER 14, 2002
Challenging the Norms.
Games that Pay
In 1990, the James Gang started an ad agency specializing in print advertising. Their creativity and marketing savvy quickly earned them a reputation as innovative thinkers. In some cases they were considered a bit too innovative for current tastes. "We were never really 100 per cent accepted into the advertising world," says Bill James. "And when the Internet came along, with all its amazing possibilities, we were right on it."
Where many others were reluctant and skeptical of the Internet's value, the James Gang saw tremendous opportunities. "It's a total multimedia experience that let's you become a kind of Renaissance artist," says James.
In 1995, Canadian clothing retailer Roots hadn't even registered their website. The James Gang helped them secure Roots dot com and went on to launch the first website for the clothing giant. Next they convinced housewares retailer Umbra to do the first ever retail advergame on the web. Co-founder Franke James explained: "We came up with this idea of having a psychoanalysis based on your choice of specific Umbra products. The vast majority of product on the web is advertised through banner ads and frankly, they are such a boring way to engage the consumer."
The James Gang was quick to recognize that games account for a significant percentage of wireless Internet activity and, with imagination could become a practical tool to help clients market their services. The MyObsession Love Card Quiz, developed by Franke James, was created for TELUS Mobility's Pocket Web wireless Internet service, The Love Card Quiz helps tongue-tied users express their love through a delectable tongue-in-cheek "psychoanalysis", and then shoots off an appropriate e-card to that special someone. It is becoming clear that Pocket Web services, whether games, directories, online shopping or financial services, will continue to increase in popularity as more and more people realize that digital mobile phones can be used for more than just talking.
Their latest innovation is a game you can play on cell phones, on the web, at home, everywhere. It's called Office Politics. It's a game. It's advertising. It's a contest. The goal is to hire, fire and backstab your way to the top.
"We always want to challenge ourselves and push the envelope," says Franke James. "We don't want to do anything the same way twice and we're always asking ourselves 'is this the best way'? How can we push this farther and what does this new technology mean to this project? I guess that's innovation."
To find out more... Watch IT-Innovating Tomorrow On CTV: Sunday, May 12. Or click on www.innovatingtomorrow.com
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
The James Gang
excerpt from GLOBE AND MAIL, BUSINESS SECTION; MAY 9, 2002