from the book | page 134
As I mentioned in Chapter Twenty-Three, the 404 error page is an opportunity to show off your brand and impress upon your visitors exactly who you are. Here are some 404 pages that do just that. I’ve included a screenshot since there’s a good chance they will eventually change over time.
Obviously I need to start with Marvel. They’ve put their characters front and center on their 404 pages. That’s right, I said pages… as in plural. There are a bunch of versions that are displayed randomly to visitor, which is pretty cool. Even cooler is that every page includes some type of subtle (or not-so-subtle) animation.
Talk about being on brand! Most people visit dilbert.com to see the brilliant cartoons by Scott Adams. So, doesn’t it make sense that if you take a wrong turn, you should still get a Dilbert cartoon?
Besides entertaining you with a very funny take on the 404 error, Scott has a call to action to buy his latest book. Now that’s making use of an opportunity!
Here’s one of the 404 pages I referenced in the book. The UK-based web hosting company Kualo is so passionate about their core values, it’s in their name. Knowledge. Uptime. Accountability. Love. Originality. Are you seeing any of those core values in their 404 page?
Dogstudio’s brand personality comes through in 1.8 seconds. The moment you arrive at their 404 page you are either “in” or “out.” (Which makes it a prequalifying tool, too.) For those that are “in,” you can’t help explore the site and learn more about who they are.
Like Marvel, this page is animated and there are a number of different versions that are shown randomly.
Staying with the dog theme for a moment, Amazon has a major “dog culture.” Every day is bring-your-dog-to-work day at their Seattle headquarters. And their 404 page randomly displays the real dogs that “work” at Amazon.
The Jersey girl that built a socially conscious digital empire has a uniquely humorous personality. Her 404 page actually sounds like it’s her speaking, declaring that either she broke something or you can’t type.
She also offers an “entertaining video” that you can watch. If you like outtakes, then you should check it out.
Another page that I call out specifically in the book is the Internet Movie Database. IMDb has totally nailed it. It’s simple and effective, randomly showing a different (spoofed) movie quote every time you visit.
And, as you might have guessed, it’s one of my favorites.
Yes, I listen to NPR when I drive. Well, when I’m not listening to an audio book or podcast that is. (I get my music listening in at the gym, so don’t judge me). So, I was pleased to see that they, too, have embraced the opportunity to engage their audience on the 404 page.
And they do it with a bit of humor, inviting you to read stories about “other lost people,” (like me).
When I’m not writing books, I’m Vice President of Remodelers Advantage. Which means if anything breaks, the responsibility falls squarely on my shoulders. So our 404 page lets you vote to fire me if you so choose. Of course, I try to talk you out of it first.
(If you’re not familiar with new construction and remodeling, at the end of a project the contractor will have a blue tape walk through with the client. This is the process of putting little pieces of blue tape to mark any ‘issues’ that need attention.)
A follower from “down unda” sent me this one. Like IMDb, the Australian features spoofed quotes. These by Australian politicians. Apparently, they are very similar to actual quotes.
I don’t know any of these people, and it’s still funny as hell.
Sometimes short and sweet is all you need. I don’t think there’s anything more appropriate than throwing a flag on you for ending up on the NFL.com 404 page.
It’s even more appropriate (in my opinion) because sometimes it’s “a bad call.” I mean if I click a link on your website and it’s broken, how is that my fault? And yet you’re flagging me? Really ref? REALLY? That’s total B.S.
I love the Deadpool movies. So when I heard that Ryan Reynolds bought a majority stake in Mint Mobile, I had to check out their 404 page.
I wasn’t disappointed (nor surprised). Mint Mobile’s brand personality has definitely taken on that of it’s owner.
But it works here because “Ryan Reynolds” is an established brand in itself. So, it’s basically a merger of two brands. And as you know, (since you read my book) you can only have one brand personality.
Medium is an open platform where anyone can write. They proudly proclaim that “thought-leaders, journalists, experts, and individuals with unique perspectives share their thinking here.”
Their 404 page does a great job of reinforcing their message by declaring, “out of nothing, something,” and offering stories about how finding something you didn’t even know you were looking for will take you somewhere new.
Okay, the way I heard about this one is just as creative as the 404 page itself. Rival Digital posted the following on LinkedIn:
We just hit 404 followers here on LinkedIn! In honor of this milestone, we want to know what your favorite 404 page is. Let us know in the comment section!
What a cool post! And to kick it off, Rival digital’s president, Eric Thomas posted this Wendy’s 404 in the comments.
Wendy’s 404 is great. Like KUALO, they created a playable version of the classic video game “BurgerTime.” Naturally, instead of the chef, you control Wendy herself as you put together a value meal. Lot’s of fun.