A Character Blog Comes a Little Closer

    May 7, 2005

The fact that I don’t object to the concept of a character blog doesn’t mean I’ve seen one yet that doesn’t suck.

Frank Willis’s blog comes a bit closer than the rest.

There is no Frank Willis, of course. He was invented for an advertising campaign for Ipswitch, maker of a collaboration suite for small and mid-sized businesses. You won’t see the ads in mainstream publications, but rather in the likes of Network World and other IT trade rags. Willis is a clueless IT manager who, in the space of a few months, gets hired by a fictional meat company, plays it safe instead of implementing the Ipswitch Collaboration Suite, and gets fired.

You can’t accuse Ipswitch of being entirely lueless by taking the character blog approach. After all, they have a “real” blog, although posts to it are few and far between. The Willis blog has an obvious goal: To tell a story over a short period of time that tracks with the print ads. It’s still lame for a number of reasons. It’s not well written (although at times it’s funny) and it looks terrible. But it does offer a hint of how a character blog could be used to better effect than Captain Morgan and its ilk.

And even though the Family Guy blog, written by real show staff, is better than a character blog by Stewie might be, I’d still read a Cartman blog. I’ve seen the South Park creators before, and Cartman’s funnier.

Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.