Website Innovation Recognized at MITX Awards

New England’s Web design and advertising community—a much larger and rowdier crowd than I had realized—piled into the grand ballroom at Boston’s Marriott Copley hotel last night for the MITX Awards, an annual ceremony recognizing the coolest examples of online design, marketing, and media.

The high-tech event, sponsored by the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange, came complete with a comedian MC (Jeff Caldwell), giant multimedia screens, and even a rock band. As the winners were announced, the companies’ names showed up on the monitors in the form of tattoos on the arms and backs of videotaped actors, and, rounding out the rock-and-roll theme, the evening’s program was designed to look like Rolling Stone magazine. It was about the closest you can get to being at the Emmys or the Oscars without leaving Boston.

MITX Awards CeremonyNominated agencies and companies competed for awards in 28 categories, from biotechnology to real estate, healthcare, government, travel, and “best use of social media.” In this last category, the winner was OTOi, a part of One to One Interactive, a digital marketing agency in Charlestown. The company won for its project with Comcast to build Comcastic Island, a virtual amusement part inside Second Life featuring jet-ski and rocket-backpack races. The island is apparently part of Comcast’s effort to raise awareness of its home broadband cable Internet service.

OTOi also won in the biotechnology/pharmaceuticals category for its website Start the Talk, an informational “direct to consumer” site about genital herpes. The site is sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, which markets a genital herpes drug called Valtrex.

Comcastic Island on Second LifeOn the less serious side, another of the evening’s winners was Wenham, MA, advertising firm Mullen, for its amusing website on the Stanley Fubar, a truly nasty-looking demolition tool with enough claws, edges, and striker faces to be a prop in a Mad Max movie. At the website, visitors can direct a macho demolition crew to “Break Stuff” including a toilet, a sink, a piano, an armoire, and a bunny rabbit. (Actually, if you click on the bunny rabbit, the crew demurs and calls you a “sicko.”) The Fubar site (and yes, it stands for what you think it does) was also the evening’s winner in the category of Best User Experience. Go figure.

Canton, MA-based Reebok was also one of the evening’s big winners. At least five agencies were nominated in various categories for their contributions Reebok’s big “Run Easy” campaign, and Carat Interactive won in the Best Integrated Campaign category for creating the Reebok Custom website.

ADDENDUM 11/14/07: MITX has posted photos and videos of the award ceremony as well as a complete list of the winners, with links to the winning sites.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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