View Full Version : Firebrand.com Goes TV Interactive

12-13-2007, 09:23 AM

Firebrand.com (http://www.firebrand.com) is the first true website that I have seen go tru-TV without losing it's form or function, and represents what I believe to be just the tip of the iceberg of how online enterprise (birthed website to spawn brick and mortar) is much more than the new genre of DotCom industry, but is also proving a threat to traditional business globally.

Introducing Firebrand, and the Firebrand Concept
Funded as a partnership of NBC/Universal, Microsoft, and GE's massive private development deep pocket Peacock Equity Fund, I believe it is of no real coincidence that the debut last night of Firebrand on the ION Network (typically broadcast on Discover Channel networks) follows so closely on the heels of Microsofts "hurried" partnership of their integrated wireless Sync with the Ford Motor Group and Google's triumph over AT&T for the largest footprint of the wireless market.....obviously Microsoft has to whitewash the failure of Vista and scramble to cover their bases to stay in the race with Google to preserve the lucrative advertising market potential being planned for every wireless product flooding our lives, from browser and desktop toolbars to cell phones, and from co-branding of printer dialogs to "wired autos."

What makes this so special?
There are actually two notable observations I can make, the first of which is pointed out in a lone review prior to mine (http://newteevee.com/2007/11/26/can-firebrand-make-commercials-hot/): Firebrand is bringing nothing new to TV since it is really a collection of very cool, neat, and entertaining commercials from global brands orginally broadcast around the world -- essentially what their own Manifesto calls "Superbowl Sunday TV", but Firebrand is using "breakthrough" perspective by relying on the model that there need not be any other specially developed Content for the website to become a success. In this sense, it is much more of a pure concept along the lines of the Dot Com startups in the early 80's and how singly focused they were in bringing their "main idea to the mainstream." It seems bent for success as well. It's no wonder, with the big money banking on the morphing of technological familiarity among the active consumer market to migrate to this new venue, and to easily accept and utilize the crossover of the "entertainment value" from websites to TV to **** to cell phone, and later (on the Netflix model) to direct downloads to your vehicle. It's no wonder NBC/Universal and Microsoft are the two main players in Firebrand.

Secondly, this means a lot to anyone who is developing websites and striving to weigh in with how much gimmickry to include on their site to best mimic the next level of consumer interaction, likely the next hot topic of internet development. (I mentioned it a while ago, with regard to conversion and eCommerce here in VodaTalk (http://www.vodahost.com/vodatalk/reviews-share-your-thoughts/13093-rich-media-ecommerce-do-pretty-carts-really-work.html)) Firebrand once again underscores the essential elements of web success, once thought to be archaic and rudimentary: focus on one "theme" and do it superbly. Nowadays, more websites and eBusinesses have allowed themselves to be genericized to near ubiquitousness in vain attempts of appeasing an ever-widening market, when really the opposite has always proven to be more lucrative. It is better to carve out a foothold in a niche market and to be the best in that niche than it is to be a very small frog in a much bigger pond.

Additionally, and very much a keener insight to the above, is what I believe will be the biggest encouragement for some and the threshold for many yet to meet: it is possible to create a million-dollar business "on the cheap" as an online presence first using superb visuals and precision crafted concepts, but it must in fact not be acomplished (nor can it be) by cutting corners, sloppy presentation, or over inflated self-serving ideas of granduer. It must be the result of careful planning, sound business modelling and best practices.

The "Point"?
I can see Firebrand.com becoming the second "firebrand" (pun intended) of how smaller internet businesses can propel themselves into the big time with the use of interactive technologies and good website building skills. For example, whether you are a travel agency experimenting with branding your own airplane pillows to sell to the general public beyond your own clients, following the example of Firebrand it is not too much to think that having an infomercial of your own to broaden your market penetration.

This is not to say that websites should depart from the Perfect Page Model in their construct to achieve minimum SE pre-optimization, on the contrary: this should only highlight how perfecting each step of a website is no longer limited to the page or what can be "published" with the click of a mouse. It is a call to re-focus on the very nature of websites, how they are built (and ultimately for whom they are built -- eCommerce or just ego?), how far they are allowed to become functionalized with appropriate technology, and what role they will play in our society as it evelves technologically.

It is more about "what next?"

If all goes as predicted, half of all website visits will be made via cell phones alone by the end of 2008. It is estimated that 70% of all consumer transactions will be made on the internet by the time Vienna rolls out to replace Vista. The government predicts that by the year 2010 fully a third of all education will be conducted via the computer, be it in the classrooms or online. The more our society learns how to optimally use this technology, the need to absorb more important information quickly will become critical, and websites will have to be capable of crunching the first impression from the current 5-11 seconds to a mere 2-4 within say, a year if hope of viitor conversion can be a reasonable expectation. Client interaction, not merely "engagement" or "entertainment" will be the key, and implementing the tools and technologies will be the new standard.

Are you ready?