80 Penguins. 80 Personalities. Zero Web Presence

This summer, Boston has been plastered by the New England Aquarium’s latest ad campaign, which focuses on their most memorable asset: the penguins that captivate visitors at the entrance level of their facility.

It’s a perfect alignment of sass, cuteness, and the mission of an institution known for its meticulous caretaking of animals. The campaign has appeared in complete subway station buyouts, on billboards, and at bus stops. Only the most oblivious Boston residents have missed it.

However, pay a visit to the aquarium’s homepage, and there is zero carryover. Sure, the penguins have a presence, but the tone and imagery from the campaign are nowhere to be seen.

Sadly, I know this struggle all too well. In the non-profit environment, it’s a daily challenge to coordinate between the Web and more traditional forms of marketing. Third-party projects are the toughest of all to track, because only the primary agency contacts see the results before they hit the street. Even if the all parties are game for keeping up, they likely lack the bandwidth to handle a coordinated marketing campaign, no matter how brilliant.

However, imagine if they did? Maybe it doesn’t require additional resources so much as a plan that anticipates the need. With enough lead time (easier said than done in this world) and buy-in from the right parties (the all-too-rare synergy that we wish we had but traditionally lack), there could be a seamless brand experience, from the street to the Web, and back.

I wonder how often this is taken into consideration when creating a content strategy, to offer the nimbleness necessary to bring a homepage in line with each major ad campaign — and to have an ad campaign that considers the Web. Building it in from the beginning at least offers a fighting chance that online visitors seeking a continued experience will arrive delighted, rather than disappointed.

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