IBJOpinion

WEB REVIEW: Out of kid party ideas? How to skip Chuck E. Cheese

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Jim Cota

With four young kids at home, we’ve certainly thrown and attended our fair share of birthday parties. While my wife seems to have some sort of sixth sense for identifying a theme the kids will enjoy, I’d likely be at a total loss if left on my own. I suspect there are others like me out there, and this suspicion was confirmed this weekend at—you guessed it—a birthday party for a 5-year-old.

The theme was “puppy party.” All the attendees were to adopt and take home a small stuffed puppy. The invitation was classic: It mentioned that all the guests would have the opportunity to adopt a puppy, followed by a note to parents: “Don’t be alarmed, it’s not a real puppy.” Without that note, attendance would have surely suffered.

The hostess had prepared adoption papers for all, gave each puppy its own blanket, treats and housing to carry it home. She even had her husband, an animal lover in his own right, play the role of veterinarian, allowing each puppy to have a thorough checkup before its adoption was final.

It was a great idea, fairly simply accomplished, and it went over great with all the girls.

While we were there, I overheard a discussion about the idea for the party.

“I got the idea from a website,” she said, “called BirthdayPartyIdeas.com. It’s full of ideas for parties of all kinds, for all ages. And the best thing about it is that the ideas come from people who use the site, so no one is trying to sell you anything.”

Well, with an endorsement like that, I had to follow up.

The site certainly has some things going for it. Even a cursory glance will tell you there are thousands of party ideas here, ranging from little kids to adults, truly covering everything from cradle to octogenarians and beyond. The site was launched by Brad Maxwell in 1999 and has been built to become “the largest collection of party ideas in the world,” a statistic that would be exceedingly difficult to prove or disprove. The team solicits ideas from readers and compiles them into a growing database. The ideas are generally theme- or age-based, and the database contains ideas regarding format, activities, decorating, games, food and invitations. You can either submit brand new ideas (if there are any new ideas out there) or add your own twist to an existing idea.

Not all ideas are created equal, of course. So each month, the Birthday Party Ideas team selects a winner for the best idea submitted, an honor they’ve been bestowing every month for the last 10 years. Perhaps the easiest way to find a great idea is to just peruse this list of winners.

It doesn’t cost anything to search the database or use any of the site features, and it’s also free to submit your own ideas. The site appears to survive on revenue from advertising, including Google and banner ads, which is nice for anyone trying to find an idea fast without having to create an account or become a member.

As a result, however, the owners haven’t had much of an opportunity to devote resources to site design or usability. The party ideas are good, but reading through three pages of text that hasn’t been formatted and offers no line breaks can begin to feel like a word search. This deficiency leaves the door open to competitors. Even some small attention to detail could make dramatic improvements to the site design and make the whole thing easier to use.

Still, the success of this site rides on the strength of the database and the ability of parents to find workable ideas for successful parties. If those parents are as busy as we seem to be, they’re likely doing their searching at the last minute. Suffering through bad graphic design is a small price to pay to find a great idea and create a successful event.•
__________

Cota is creative director of Rare Bird Inc., a full-service advertising agency specializing in the use of new technologies. His column appears monthly. He can be reached at jim@rarebirdinc.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The $104K to CRC would go toward debts service on $486M of existing debt they already have from other things outside this project. Keystone buys the bonds for 3.8M from CRC, and CRC in turn pays for the parking and site work, and some time later CRC buys them back (with interest) from the projected annual property tax revenue from the entire TIF district (est. $415K / yr. from just this property, plus more from all the other property in the TIF district), which in theory would be about a 10-year term, give-or-take. CRC is basically betting on the future, that property values will increase, driving up the tax revenue to the limit of the annual increase cap on commercial property (I think that's 3%). It should be noted that Keystone can't print money (unlike the Federal Treasury) so commercial property tax can only come from consumers, in this case the apartment renters and consumers of the goods and services offered by the ground floor retailers, and employees in the form of lower non-mandatory compensation items, such as bonuses, benefits, 401K match, etc.

  2. $3B would hurt Lilly's bottom line if there were no insurance or Indemnity Agreement, but there is no way that large an award will be upheld on appeal. What's surprising is that the trial judge refused to reduce it. She must have thought there was evidence of a flagrant, unconscionable coverup and wanted to send a message.

  3. As a self-employed individual, I always saw outrageous price increases every year in a health insurance plan with preexisting condition costs -- something most employed groups never had to worry about. With spouse, I saw ALL Indiana "free market answer" plans' premiums raise 25%-45% each year.

  4. It's not who you chose to build it's how they build it. Architects and engineers decide how and what to use to build. builders just do the work. Architects & engineers still think the tarp over the escalators out at airport will hold for third time when it snows, ice storms.

  5. http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/duke-energy-customers-angry-about-money-for-nothing

ADVERTISEMENT