Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Would you ask Wally?

Entertainment Rights have licenced Martin Handford's classic Where's Wally, apparently for use in branding a search engine aimed at pre-teenboys. According to chief executive Mike Heap, in the future the phrase 'I'm going to Wally it" will replace "Google it". I think this is not going to happen. The main reason why will already be apparent to my American readers, who are probably asking "Who's Wally?". For them, the series is called Where's Waldo? And the phrase "I'm going to Waldo it" just refuses to trip off the tongue.

The other problem is that the metaphor is all wrong. Jeeves famously had a solution to every scrape into which Bertie Wooster got himself. Therefore the branding of Ask Jeeves made a lot of sense. Wheareas Wally loses stuff. He always loses his key, and in the first book he loses all his possessions at a rate of one per double-page spread. This doesn't inspire confidence in the ability of a Wally-ified search engine to find anything. Of course, the apt metaphor of the Ask Jeeves brand counted for nothing against the uncluttered usability and freakishly useful results of Google. The Wally engine will need an interface which is not as cluttered as one of Handford's trademark scenes.


Blogger Justin said...

I'd suspect that "to Wally it" would never catch on because way too many people would immediately think of Dilbert. Between a Wally that is constantly losing his possessions and a Wally that is totally unmotivated to do anything, I'm not sure that this is a particularly confidence-inspiring branding.

25 January 2007 at 02:58:00 GMT-8  

Post a Comment

<< Home