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Banner Ads Are Still Kickin’

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

As I was looking through the coverage of Advertising Age’s Digital Conference 2010, I came across a presentation by Ashley Ringrose, co-founder of Soap Creative and curator of Bannerblog, that addresses his six rules for making great web ads. Since many in digital marketing are quick to consider banner ads an outdated tool (myself included), I thought it necessary to point out Ringrose’s best practices for those still venturing into the Internet’s first advertising medium.

The web ad must be:

1. Interactive. Reward the consumer for clicking; besides, interactivity increases brand recall 63% more than noninteractive ads.

2. Customizable.

3. Contextual.

4. Entertaining.

5. Playable. You can’t play with a TV ad for 5 minutes.

6. Useful. If nothing else, it should NOT be annoying to consumers.

There are still plenty of agencies keeping these best practices in mind, including the following:

– Crispin Porter + Bogusky for VW

– Bridge Worldwide for Pringles

– Glue UK for Coke Zero

– Grand Union for the UK’s National Health Service

So, for those (like myself), who are quick to think of banner ads as a digital wasteland, think again: there is still plenty of kick left in this ol’ horse.

To view Ringrose’s presentation and see samples of the work mentioned above, click here.

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The Future of Internet Search – Will Google Be There?

April 6, 2010 Leave a comment

I recently came across an interesting article in Advertising Age that predicts that the future of Internet search will come from the East, where the Korean companies Naver and Daum are already far-surpassing America’s beloved Google in terms of the capabilities and search format used.

Google has built a name for itself through its spearheading of an excessively simple, user-friendly search platform. In fact, most of us cannot even remember cyberspace without Google’s presence. However, in South Korea, where consumers have had high-speed broadband Internet from day one, the concept of a simple text search is pretty alien. Instead, Naver and Daum (its Google and Bing equivalents) act more like portal websites, where search results are fully integrated with images, video, music, and user Q&A’s, and appear more reminiscent of the Yahoo search portal, albeit a much more advanced and sophisticated one. In fact, this leap-frog of search capabilities is in large part the reason behind Google’s struggle in the East.

However, a similar shift is starting to be seen in the West as well, especially with the rise of mobile media, which is redefining the way people access the Internet through social media and smartphone apps. Coupled with the launch of Quick Response (QR) code and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) readers throughout 2010, cell phones will soon allow consumers to compare prices in real time, thereby transforming online purchasing habits. It is only a matter of time before these new technologies become mainstream, and begin to challenge the way we look at Internet search and online display capabilities. That being said, where does Google fit into this trend? The company has built an empire of sorts on its no-frills approach; how will it come to position itself once the world of search optimization becomes a little more “frilly?”

Here is a link to the Advertising Age article: http://adage.com/digitalnext/article?article_id=143057

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Volkswagon’s “The Fun Theory” Viral Campaign

March 30, 2010 Leave a comment

It seems that every company is determined to produce the next big viral video campaign, so much so that there are parodies out there poking fun at this obsession (enter the video we watched in class a few weeks ago). For every viral campaign that ends up making it, there are most likely hundreds that don’t. An example of a company that appears to be doing something right though, is VW. The company’s “The Fun Theory” viral campaign (brainchild of DDB’s Stockholm office) consists of a series of social experiments that are all aimed at one simple concept – is it possible to change people’s behavior for the better by introducing a “fun” element? How do you effectively get people to take the stairs instead of the escalator,properly dispose of their trash, and recycle their bottles? Well, each viral video shows that it’s entirely to do so by making the actions fun.

The top video, “Piano Stairs,” has over 11 million views on YouTube as of today, and the other two videos, “World’s Deepest Bin” and “Bottle Arcade” also boast significant numbers. So what kind of exposure is VW getting from this? The company’s branding within each video is very minimal, as it displays only its logo at the end. But, thanks to the viral nature of the videos, millions of people have now seen that logo, and come to associate the VW brand with the socially responsible – and, well, fun – cause that it is promoting. And, I would argue, the reason these videos have been so successful is probably because of the subtle branding they employ; they are not a blatant, “love this brand” move that so many consumers come to resent. So, it looks like the KISS principle really does ring true in this instance – sometimes it pays to keep it simple, stupid.

Here is a link to an article (with videos) on Mashable: http://mashable.com/2009/10/11/the-fun-theory/

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