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. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT