Sep 20, 2010

Making Movies painful

Hoyts is one of the major cinema chains in Australia & New Zealand.  I've been sitting in their cinemas since I was a kid and intermissions still existed.  They form a huge part of some of my earliest cinema-going memories and helped fuel my ever growing passion for movies.

But I have a big problem with their website.

I dread every time I need to check a session time for one of their cinemas.  The navigation is painful, the site is completely cluttered, it doesn't use any type of smarts or autodetect, it ignores my profile information and the mobile site is next to impossible to find.  Yes, I'm going on a bit but let me qualify this a little more.

Firstly,lets talk about browser detection.  The design of the main site is the most mobile un-friendly site I've visited for a long time.  Surprising for a site that you'd think would have a lot of mobile traffic with people checking session times for a quick last minute decision to go see a movie.  There is a mobile site but good luck finding it.  Which brings me to my point - why do I have to go find the mobile site myself?  Why doesn't the site direct me to it automatically?  Who knows...

Next there's the fact that we're urged to 'buy tickets' wherever you look.  Now I know that selling tickets is almost the cinemas's number one reason for being (ripping you blind at the candy bar is their primary one), but do we need to have it shoved down our throats everywhere?  How about a softer sell?  How about 'session times' leading into a purchase funnel?

Correct me if I'm jumping to wild conclusions but I'm suspecting that most people that visit a cinema's website is to see what's on, when it's showing at their chosen location and finally, to buy tickets.  In that order.

So why flip the whole thing around?  Why make it hard for me to get to what I want?  I know where my local cinema is, I know what I want to see and I prefer to buy my tickets in person.  Just tell me when it's on please.  The irony is that the links to Bing in both the nav section and in the big ad sitting on the site both give you exactly what you want with quick well formed search string.  Session times in an easy to read format for my local cinema - heaven forbid.

I really hate it when I register on a site but every time I go there, I have to introduce myself all over again.  It's like a visit to old relative with alzheimers' - It's stuck in the past, technologically retarded and with no idea about who you are or why you're there.

To the point, how many people visit the site undecided about where they want to watch the movie?  I mean there's not exactly a cinema on every street corner.  You go to the Hoyts website pretty much knowing where your local screens are.

But the site has no idea.  And why should it really?  Well for a few reasons actually.  Firstly, it should know where I am and recommend my closest venue.  Secondly, if I've bought online before, this should be even easier for them to suggest.  Lastly, and more annoyingly, because I'm a Movie Club member!  They not only know where I live, but which cinemas I go to and what I see.  They even ask me for my preferred cinema!

Like sitting near a loud talker.  Like a mobile going off.  Like the frozen Coke machine being out of order.  Like not being able to open the choc-top pack (and having to deal with there being no banana flavour as advertised). ... You've failed me Hoyts.  :(

Sep 3, 2010

Of flying people and colourful things

Lately I've noticed a growing trend in TV advertising towards featuring people flying around in slow motion.  Throw in some motion blur, or even better, colour splashes of some sort and you seem to be on a winner.

Try to resist the urge to fill or empty yourself during the next ad break and pay attention to just how many times you see this type of creative.  The flying people thing seems to work for selling everything from cars to perfume,  televisions and clothing.

To date, every one I've seen of this type has been pretty clear in what it's advertising. Except for this latest effort for Van Heusen.  Check it out and let me know if you can figure out what they're flogging...  good luck.

BTW, their website doesn't make it any clearer - mainly cause most of us already know what these guys are famous for. Is this a clever marketing tactic or a massive oversight? There's a fine line between genius and... you know.