I’m not a fan of creepy goth music, but I’ve been a big fan of the band Johnny Hollow’s web site for years. Band member Vincent Marcone heads up the production crew for My Pet Skeleton Productions, the label under which they produce their flash content. The original Johnny Hollow site debuted in 2003 and is just as visually stunning today as it was then. Recently they have revamped their new site along with the release of their second album, Dirty Hands.
What’s most interesting about this site is a tightly integrated flash game titled “Scuttle Buggary“. The interface is intuitive, and allows you to discover rather than direct. You easily notice the familiar arrow keys meshed into the design. If you click on them you are told to use your keys to control a beetle on the screen. As you navigate to the game entrance, you receive tips on how to play the game. Game play is simple, use your bug to push globs of goo into a drain. But is enough to keep you from getting bored too quick.
What’s so impressive isn’t so much the game as the game’s commitment to the theme of the site. Most adver-games tend to be a rehash of some existing game, themed with the product, and slapped on to the product site with a link; Scuttle Buggary is part of the whole experience. The game uses tracks from the album both as the soundtrack and the timer for the game. Each level is a new song, and you must complete the level before the song is over. Winning a level unlocks the song on the home page, where you can listen to it in full. Throughout all of this you are never for a moment taken away from that grunge goth mood of the Johnny Hollow music.
I love to use Johnny Hollow as an example of solid web marketing. Their original site was one of the first to offer a complete play list when most offered a 30 second sample. Their new site makes my argument even stronger. Creating a full experience on the web is key to success as radio and television and print become less and less relevant; especially if your target audience is under the age of 20. I suspect that this philosophy of “the complete experience” will become mandatory. Those that are successful will have embraced this philosophy whole hearted.