July 26, 1999
Cartier's new Web site is cool, and that's the entire point it's aimed at impressing that upper tier of consumers who aren't easily impressed.
A visit to Cartier on-line is unlike most other Web experiences. In fact, the site plays like a video or interactive CD-ROM, drawing you in with music and animated images. After you watch the tiny movies of enchanted customers with their Cartier gifts, the screen fills with the bottom edge of the "A" in a giant Cartier script. At this point you choose your language (French or English) and enter a world where pastel squares grow and burst like bubbles, words move around the screen and an odd box of changing gemstone patterns follows your cursor around. Click on one of the headers above and watch lines of the table of contents slide easily from the sides of the screen as if they were waiting in the wings. You'll notice almost all the images and words are clickable and lead you to yet another animated demonstration; there's no end to the layers of the site.
Among the goodies for consumers here are the Cartier "magazine," news blurbs about recent projects and a clickable timeline of Cartier history. There's a colored gemstone "workshop" that teaches consumers about each gem's legend. Downloadable Cartier screensavers promote the brand even when the consumer is off-line.
Technically speaking: The Cartier site is not for the faint-of-heart. It uses Shockwave and Java and takes several minutes to load even on fast computers. The site is obviously aimed at consumers who appreciate technology and innovation and keep their computer equipment and software up-to-date.
- by Stacey King