GORDON Brown needs all the help he can get at present.
So a Huddersfield company has come to the rescue – by devising a website where visitors can help our hard-pressed Prime Minister rescue Britain’s embattled banks.
An online game, called Grabbing Gordon, invites players to use their keyboard spacebar to help the premier “save” four banks before they go bust – while Big Ben ticks down the time and the interest rate runs down to zero.
Once they have completed the light-hearted game, visitors can move to the website proper – which provides information on selling your old mobile phones.
The interactive site was developed by Common Agency, a web design company based at the Huddersfield Media Centre, for London-based fonebank.com, an online company specialising in buying second-hand mobiles.
Ben Childs, 34, managing director of Common Agency, said: “A lot of people are looking to sell their old mobiles to raise a bit of extra cash in the recession.
“Our client was looking for a quirky way to promote its business.
“The idea of the game was to provide five minutes of fun before people click onto the site proper to get their old mobiles valued.
“The client was happy to adopt this tongue-in-cheek tactic.”
The game was designed by senior designer Tom Morgan, 32, who joined Common Agency six months ago.
Ben, who studied product design at Huddersfield University, launched Common Agency three years ago at the Media Centre after running the design team for mobiles giant Orange in Leeds, where he worked alongside Tom.
Now Common Agency has four full-time employees as well as a number of contract workers – and numbers Orange and mobile phone designer and manufacturer HTC among its clients.
Common Agency also works with other firms in the Media Centre and in Leeds and Manchester.
The firm has worked on projects including interactive websites, multilingual websites and e-commerce websites.
Previous projects include devising an online game for children’s TV channel CBBC.
Despite its northern roots, at least half its customers are based in London and the south-east.
Said Ben: “It is not often big companies go looking for resources outside London, but in some ways the recession has provided us with an advantage because we can offer cheaper prices than agencies in the capital.
“There is also the fact that some London-based businesses, perhaps, don’t have such high expectations of suppliers in the north – so they are pleasantly surprised when they find what we can do.”
Ben said Common Agency was weathering the current climate – after a seasonal slowdown in business towards the end of last year..
He said: “Since February, we have been as busy as we have ever been – and there has been a lot more interactive work along the lines of ‘Grabbing Gordon’.”
Projects under way include interactive sites for a housing scheme in Rochdale and a community radio in Leeds.