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Brevity and alliteration are good teachers: had Marshall McLuhan said that "the channel by which one
communicates strongly influences the contents of the message," the Web might not be so clotted
with corporate additives right now. Instead, he uttered his famous, easy-to-assimilate phrase, and now, three
decades later, every "visionary" marketing executive trying to spot the dark face of the future through a
telescoped copy of Wired has taken it to heart. New mediums demand new approaches, because...
Say it all together now:
...the medium is the message.
And, thus, sites like www.kelloggs.com are born.
But do we really need such sites?
And perhaps more importantly, do the companies that create them need them?
After all, there's nothing very complicated about selling cereal. For years, the Kellogg Company has relied upon thirty-second blips of TV time and a sugar-amped menagerie of anthropomorphic pitch-creatures to do this for them. Given the company's financial success over the years, one can only conclude that this approach has been pretty effective.
The Web, however, is a new medium. An interactive, hyperlinked, information-rich medium. And so Kellogg's is now in the process of trying to infuse a previously simple message with these qualities. But while the company appears to have a nourishing, perhaps bottomless, pitcher of techno-dollars to pour on its site, there is just so much interactivity and information a corn flake can absorb.
As a result, www.kellogs.com exhibits a passable professionalism, but then again, so does an episode of TV's Saved by the Bell. Which is to say that while the site's slick cartoon graphics, simple Christmas tree light animations, and fledgling interactivity surely count for something, you certainly don't need a calculator to keep track of their cumulative effect.