Sports, business & technology

Burn, BBQ, Burn

Last month, at one of the dozens of corporate hospitality lounges dotting Park City, Utah, during the Sundance Film Festival, a PUMA representative showed me the company’s DIY sneaker Web site. Titled Mongolian BBQ – the term used at Mongolian noodle bars where the diner chooses a number of ingredients, then waits for the chef to mix and cook everything together into a tasty noodle dish – PUMA set up a number of computer terminals for celebrities to custom-construct sneakers to auction off for charity at

Instead of being excited about whether Brittany Murphy or Sandra Oh would turn up at the computer next to me, I was actually excited about the Web site itself. 30 different precut materials to choose from? This was as close as I could get to being a fashion designer without having to purchase the goods and make the shoes myself.

Perhaps the single-digit temperatures had been wreaking havoc with my Web surfing abilities that day because the site wasn’t entirely intuitive. Today, I decided to return to the site, which appears to be built entirely in Flash. Once I chose the style, type and size of shoe, it wasn’t clear how I should proceed. If I went back more than one step in those same areas to make a change, my previous choices were all wiped out. Surfing through the site in a Firefox browser, I opted for the “Dine In – Full Experience” shopping method over the “Take Out – Express Experience” in order to learn about all the customizations. Instead, I got to a color swatch page that scrolled both horizontally and vertically, independent of the browser, and didn’t even show the color swatches in the seemingly empty bowls. A screenshot follows:


Does the “Thunder Waxy Leather” swatch that my tongs have picked up come even close in color to the bowls on the page?

The experience left me wanting the real Mongolian BBQ and opting for an equally sporty-looking pair of Onitsuka Tigers instead. But I’m curious: What do you think of the PUMA Mongolian BBQ site?


February 19, 2008 - Posted by | Web sites | , ,

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