I’ve seen a couple of sites lately with mascots that have something to say and say it with an attitude. I guess whether you think their comments are clever depends on your point of view. Or your age. Or what you expect from a business Web site. Or your mood. Or something.
Here are some examples.
MailChimp is an email marketing service. Their mascot is a chimp, and he’s got a lot to say. Sometimes it’s clever, sometimes it’s, well, odd.
Notice that the middle one has a link. It goes to a YouTube video: “The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody”. They link to many clever things around the Web.
You’ve probably heard about Groupon: an online service that offers coupons for businesses in your area. Each day’s coupon comes via email, with a picture of Groupon the cat and the saying of the day. They’re funny, silly or just a little strange. Here are some examples:
If you click on the arrow in the email they send, you go to a Web page describing the offer, and more detail about the saying. See what you get by clicking on the one about children and matches.
This one doesn’t have a mascot, but…
This one doesn’t have a mascot. But the business name and the domain name are a bit unusual:
Note the the logo: they have the paddle.
And they have the right attitude for the name. Here’s part of the description: Smug? You bet your ass we’re smug. We won’t waste your time and all we ask is that you don’t waste ours with your indecision. Call us if and when you are serious.
Well, that’s a good question. Does having an attitude like this matter? Does it reflect a big change on the Web or in business? Or is it just a few companies pushing the boundaries?
I observed a usability study where some people were put off by an attitude like these examples. And I have to say that some of these comments surprised me. I have to guess, though, that they know what they’re doing. Maybe they don’t want customers who offend easily, or who expect a pin-stripe-suit attitude. Or maybe times have just changed.
You’d certainly want to know your users before doing this. And you’d want to carefully develop good personas for your development team to clarify the boundaries.
What do you think?
What have you seen? What do you think when you see a site with an attitude like this? Send me a note or write a comment below. If you have other examples, include a link.