The shelf-life for novelty in the digital space isn't very long. The shelf-life for novel marketing approaches is even shorter.
I was looking at pictures of really, really fat cats on neatorama when I saw an interesting banner ad for something called "Save Vegas", I clicked on it and was taken to a site that was supposedly set up to raise awareness of suspicious goings-on in Las Vegas.
It's purpose, it claims "is to alert elements of United States counter-terror forces, specifically the elite team that may be known as "Rainbow", to unusual events that I am monitoring in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is my belief that their help will be needed in the coming days."
I knew that it must be a marketing site for "something". Real sites like that don't use banner ads to promote themselves. I watched one of the clips on the site but my interest was diminishing pretty quickly so I googled "Save Vegas" to cut to the chase and find out what was what. Sure enough I found a site that confirmed that it's marketing for some video game that is coming out.
Besides the lazy use of bannner ads to drive traffic and destroy the concepts credibility and fun factor (it's not a hoax if no one is fooled) the other problem with the site is that the internet hoax approach is really wearing thin. It was cool when it was done for Beta 7 and Mini 2 or 3 years ago, but it's getting tired. So often it just isn't well done.
Lonleygirl is a good case in point. They videos were amusing and they had a good thing going but ultimately it didn't "go" anywhere. (They should have had her run off to have an abortion and never come back. That way people would have dug a little to uncover the truth. Instead they just came forward one day and said "guess what? we're wankers!) The anticlimactic ending to the Lonelygirl saga was a total let-down. It was just poor theater, I can't believe it garnered them deals.
The way that the creators of Lost have blurred the lines between reality and fantasy is great theater. There's your benchmark.
I did dig the way that the navigation device slide down the page as you scrolled, but that too is not in keeping with the kind of site it was supposed to be. (Poor theater once again.)
It's a little messed up that the most memorable parts of Save Vegas are the design of the banner ads (which do look cool) and the site navigation device.
Check out the fat cats on neatorama, they really are something to behold.