Last year Alt Group sent out chocolate keyboards as Christmas gifts for its clients. Pffff, chocolate keyboards, Whittaker's probably said, because at the time it was in the middle of a lengthy mission to create the world's first 'chocolate website'.
Much like Special Group's award-winning 'Business Banner' for Orcon, online advertising—and in this case, website design—often seems to be at its best when a bit of art and quirkiness is combined with the interactive utility the digital realm offers. And this is exactly what Wellington digital design agency Salted Herring and Assignment Group have done with Andrew and Brian's new online home, which was launched a couple of weeks ago.
Salted Herring's Tim Anderson says the project has been a long time in the making (between seven and nine months) and to get it done they had to familiarise themselves with the technical challenges of designing chocolate with the help of the Whittaker’s experts. Their “web block”, which contains all the website interface elements—from main section headers to navigation buttons and social media icons—had to fit to standard block size and weight specifications, so it was a lengthy and detailed design process.
The block design was converted into a 3D model and sent off to specialist chocolate mould makers based in the Netherlands. And with these moulds, Whittaker’s hand-produced 20 blocks made from 72% Dark Ghana chocolate. The blocks were then broken into individual pieces, photographed and integrated into the design of the website (check out the whole process in the cool 'making of' video on the Whittaker’s website).
Even the audio effects used throughout the site as you click on the chocolate buttons sound like the snapping of a row of chocolate from a block.
The creation has obviously struck a chord with the digerati, with the new site reaching the previous site’s monthly average in only five days and users spending more than six minutes on the site on average.
Anderson says Whittaker's already uses social media very effectively (as evidenced by the almost 12,000 Facebook fans) and the comments have fallen somewhere between “I wanted to lick the screen”, “I have just nibbled my laptop” and “I’d eat the SHARE button first so no-one could find it”.
So far the web blocks have only been given away as prizes. But it seems chocolate-loving nerds everywhere are demanding a limited edition run of the interactive block.