The truth is, half the digital advertising campaigns we see aren't very good. In fact, more than half. Most are terrible or senseless or both. But the new digital brochure for the Honda CR-Z is different: not only is it a thing of beauty, but it could signal the death of websites as we know them.
When we first heard about Honda's new piece, we weren't terribly excited. In fact, we groaned. We've seen similar stunts done for other cars, and they've all been fairly wishy-washy. (And "wishy-washy" is being kind.) Expecting the worst, we clicked over to the "CR-Z Experience" website to give it a whirl.
Things didn't look promising at the outset. The web version of the brochure loaded very slowly, and once it was up, we needed a moment or two to figure out how to navigate it. But once we began to side-scroll, we got it -- and how.
The digital brochure walks you through every available feature and option on the CR-Z, explaining what's so special about the sporty hybrid. And although it's a very meaty, thorough presentation, it's not an endless series of factoids and stats: it's well designed and interactive, and it keeps viewers engaged. When you're done with the walkthrough -- about 10 minutes from soup to nuts -- you can share the brochure with friends via Facebook, Twitter, and email. You can also visit the CR-Z Facebook page and contact a nearby Honda dealer.
The app-based versions for the iPhone and iPad are even better. On a laptop, side-scrolling is counterintuitive, but on Apple's touch screens, it's a piece of cake. Just as good: the experience is the same. Honda didn't water down the brochure for mobile devices.
In the end, we found this FAR more interesting than a paper brochure -- and more informative, too. We could very easily envision a future in which apps like this made brochures and promotional websites obsolete. We'd love to see other automakers give this approach a go -- though certain dealers might not be so enthusiastic.