There are only two forms of advert I like:
- Very short pieces of text – just enough info to decide if the source is the desired destination
- Visual beauties – and that doesn’t mean adverts involving women as objects
We have Google to thank for the former. And it’s a great example where amateurs trump experts when it comes to innovation – it took a technology company to change the advertising market. No advertising exec would ever have dared suggest using simple plain text adverts. What did the media experts come up with? Think banners, pop-ups, dynamic pop-ups that follow you around the page blocking the content you are trying to read, ‘welcome screens’ where you have to locate the small print offering ‘click here to skip this screen’… And in that playground also goes the latest annoying fad – mini pop-ups that appear when you accidentally move your mouse over a live link in a web page. Depressingly popular with some blogs and enough of a distraction to make you just want to leave the page. It’s like going into a shop and walking straight back out of the door when you realise trying to look at or buy anything is just going to be more effort than its worth.
Some companies invest in the second approach – create an advert that gets people wanting to watch it. The likes of Guiness, Levi’s, Playstation and Jaguar have been good at doing this. Now Sony has joined the party:
Final comment on ad formats to love and hate. I don’t mind the new ‘postage stamp’ boxes that are starting to appear instead of the simple text ad. Fixed size, no flashy graphics to send your eyeballs into a frenzy, parked over on the side out of the way of the page content but the colour and image can help build and maintain the brand in a way that is impossible with plain text.