I just came across a great microsite from Bugaboo, the company which makes those very fancy, very expensive strollers that seem a few years ahead of their time. I think if Gattaca was being filmed today, you'd probably see one in the background. Anywho, along the lines of Come Clean from method a few years back, this is one of those online experiences that I love to see. The ones that perfectly capture what a given brand is all about without sounding like a corporate mission statement.
The Bugaboo Daytrips site is simply a collection of cools things you can do and see with your kids in a variety of cities around the world. Each daytrip is short enough to walk in an afternoon while your little one enjoys the scenery from the comfort of a stroller. Not only is this a great insight by Bugaboo into what their customers might be interested in, and have a need for; this little gem of a site is beautifully designed, has an intuitive Flash interface, and just the right mix of content and functionality.
There are currently more than twenty cities on the site. When you select one of them, a module comes up showing that city's daytrip map marked with interesting things to check out along the way. Each map is downloadable as a two-page PDF with the map on one side and a brief description of each of the stops on the other. Every module also has a "guestbook" feature that allows you to either leave a comment or point out a local attraction that the daytrip might have left out.
One other cool idea is that each city's map is designed by a different artist. As a nice touch, every one of those artists gets a little write-up telling their story. A lovely gesture, in my opinion, seeing as there's probably a good chance that some of the people coming to this site might be in a position to hire a designer/illustrator somewhere down the road.
There are a couple of useful features on the small global nav as well. You can enter your email address and be notified when a new city is added to the site. You can also suggest a new daytrip by name a city along with a list of interesting things to check out. I hope they're committed to seeing this feature through because the result could be a great site that can evolve for years.
My favourite part, though, is the relative subtlety of this whole marketing exercise. At the end of the day, Bugaboo's goal is to sell more strollers, but nowhere on the site are you hit over the head with that message. There's minimal branding with links back to bugaboo.com, where you're greeted with the following objectives:
The nice thing is that the Bugaboo Daytrips site weaves all three of these into a brilliant (and useful) metaphor without having to explicitly mention a single one.