I’ve run into two sites lately, both who are warning of dangers while trying to increase sales. They take very different tacks in doing so. The comparison gets a little challenging, since one comes from a social welfare state and the other comes from an independent profit driven company.
The first is CrimeMedicine.com and comes from the Swedish Läkemedelsverket. It’s the equivalent of our FDA; they approve all medical products for sale in Sweden. “Aha!” you might say. “You can’t compare that with product marketing.” Well, yes and no. You see most, if not all, Swedes buy their medicines at state owned pharmacies. So their FDA has a clearly vested interest in driving sales through the state stores.
CrimeMedicine.com takes you behind the scenes of online pharmaceuticals sales. They do this through one of the best interactive video interfaces I’ve ever seen. At each step of the video story you can click through for more detail, including Google maps of illegal pill making in suburban apartments. It doesn’t look like there’s much there, but I was surprised at the depth of info. And it helps that the video feels right out of a solid investigative journalism tradition.
Of course, if you don’t know Swedish, it’s hard to keep up with the story. But it’s a pretty jarring site to drive home the point that there’s something dangerous out there, even if we don’t pay it much attention. I mean I’ve gotten so much of this type of spam, I’ve never really thought about the seedy underbelly of this stuff. Yuck.
And the intro screen is great. Not what you expect at all.
Seeing the CrimeMedicine site made me think of Seventh Generation’s new campaign at ShowWhatsInside.com. Seventh Gen makes environmentally safe household cleaners and they’ve been the leaders in this space for a while. Now that green is hot, all of the big guns, like P& G, are getting into the game. The new campaign wants people to take a critical look at what’s inside of the competitors’ products, because there are quite a few “green” household products that contain toxic material.
It’s a great idea to promote consumer activism in a way that helps consumers, and sells more products for Seventh Gen. But their approach is almost the opposite of the first site. No jarring realism here, but some very soft ideas, like build a tree, an ingredient widget and a fun customizable tee shirt with your own ingredients. Yes there is video, but it’s the kinder, gentler type.
Both sites have some pretty disturbing stories to tell. CrimeMedicine tells it in a hard-hitting way using some great interactivity. ShowWhatsInside does it through some user-generated content. Personally, I had a hard time quitting CrimeMedicine; it felt like there were a lot of good layers there. It certainly made me react more in my gut than the Show site.
Surprisingly enough, neither site did a great job in providing tools to spread the word.