Visa Launches Crippled Olympic Advergame


For some inexplicable reason, some marketers and their agencies still think it's OK to create a website, in this case, an advergame, that only works with Internet Explorer on a PC. Given the horrid user experience Internet Explorer provides with it's gaping holes through which scumware of all forms permeates to the proliferation of far superior browsers such as Firefox, let alone a cadre of Mac users, it's just plain shortsighted idiocy to create anything limited only to IE.

This time the idiocy comes courtesy of VISA and its agency Wild Tangent who created some kind of promotional advergame for the Torino 2006 Olympic Games. That's all we can tell you about the game because, yes, we gave up IE years ago and have avidly used Firefox ever since. And this time, we aren't even going to fire up our stale copy of IE so we can perform our journalistic duty and describe the game's merits or demerits to you. Suffice to say, based on the marketer's ignorance of a huge audience segment, it's safe to say all the effort is worthy of is a giant pile of demerits.

by Steve Hall    Oct-10-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Brands, Games, Online, Opinion   

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As tough as it may be to swallow IE still accounts for an overwhelming majority of web browsers used. Can't fault them for designing it around a mass audience.

Posted by: Nigel on October 11, 2005 10:39 AM

I heard that Fuel Industries advergames, some of which are viewable at, work in all browsers! Not that I'm biased. Sorry I couldn't resist.

Posted by: Sean MacPhedran on October 11, 2005 2:49 PM

Good Idea - as soon as you create a real-time 3d engine that allows you to undress characters in Flash - let me know.

Many of us have been developing in Flash since version 2 - when adoption was much lower than Shockwave is now. It was because of companies like Fuel pushing new technology that has helped progress Flash to where it is today!

Shockwave was a smart and logical choice for this kind of execution.

Considering the success of something like Watchmechange - 55% penetration with shockwave(318 million of 574 million web users) still accounts for a massive piece of the market that a mediocre TV spot or online media buy could not deliver.

Also - look at the massive success of QuickTime for viewing viral videos and it only has a 64% penetration rate according to the following Macromedia Census.

Dave, is that really you?

Posted by: mike on October 11, 2005 5:24 PM

That's just dandy - awesome numbers. But where are the stats for all the potential people you turned off using Shockwave versus Flash? You could have easily created a holding site in HTML/Flash that launched Watch Me Change in a separate window. I just find it ironic that you're bagging on Wild Tangent when your company is equally at fault in not considering audience compatibility. 55% penentration? That's great - how much of that still required people to install the Shockwave plug-in (upgrade or clean install) that takes on average 5X longer than Flash (which btw has something to the effect of 98% penetration) Not to mention processor issues. Not to mention the dreaded restart. Not to mention the site itself which was pretty weak in terms of overall usability - 3D real time engine or not...frankly and this is my opinion but the game really sucked. Don't get me wrong though - you guys do some great stuff - I just think this was a very subpar effort....

Posted by: Best Practices Guru on October 11, 2005 5:49 PM

I couldn't get it to work on IE either!

Posted by: mark on October 11, 2005 6:55 PM

Are you so bitter about your experience iwth IE that you are calling everyone who develops software for it idiots? That sounds kind of idiotic...

Do you understand that..

-- The vast majority of people use IE, or at least HAVE it even if they don't use it all the time.

-- Software development is very expensive, and to make something as complicated as a game work in all browsers would be very expensive.

-- If there was a law that you had to support every browser and platform, there wouldnt' be the internet as we know it. It would have been too expensive to develop anything if everyone with a blog could dictate software requirements whenever they wished.

-- Also, due to how closely IE is tied to the operating system, there are things you can do with IE that you can't do with other browsers.

-- I'm a Mac user at home, and we are used to not being able to do everything on the internet, and we get along just fine.

So, if you want to complain about IE and Microsoft, fine. If you want to play this video game and perhaps win a trip to Torino if you are any good at it, open IE and play it.

But, until you have something to say about the game itself, leave the people who made the game out of it. They are just dealing with the realities of what it takes to create something like this. If you really think of yourself as a journalist, you should at least have a basic understanding of the reality of software development on the internet in 2005.

Posted by: mark on October 11, 2005 6:56 PM


I'm fully aware of IE's penetration and am sensitive to the cost issues surrounding development. It's just that so many other marketers have been able to developed wonderfully engaging online games without having to ignore segments of the audience as this game does. I understand it's a choice the marketer has to make but one would think a marketer would not willingly wish to limit it's reach because of a technology issue.

Posted by: Steve Hall on October 11, 2005 9:06 PM

No matter how big is the market for just one browser, designing just for it is a stupid mistake. The market for the other browsers may look small, but even a single-digit percent may be millions of users. I don't buy that Visa can't cough up the money to develop a multi-browser compatible Web site.

Posted by: Anonymous on October 13, 2005 11:37 AM

Mark, you'd be right except for the fact that the "agency" in this case is also the technology developer. WildTangent developed the Wild Tangent plugin and that's what they used to develop this game.

I'm not sure who you can actually blame except maybe the client for falling for WT's sales pitch that IE users are the only ones that matter.

If it were developed by any agency other than WT then I'd agree that we should blame the agency, in this case it's just a poor tech decision by the brand, and one that they will hopefully learn from.

As it is this is just one more way for Wild Tangent to get paid to distribute their limited plugin to more users.

Posted by: Brian Robbins on October 15, 2005 3:40 PM