Banners suck. Long live advertising.

I’m encouraged by some very recent news concerning online advertising. MSNBC (msnbc.msn.com) just rolled out a redesign of their site—Monday 6/28. Part of their redesign philosophy is that Web ads should be large and not relegated to the edges of the page. In other words, they’ve pretty much blown up the marginalized banner ad.

The simple idea of redefining the shape, layout, position and rotation of ads on a site’s page is to be applauded. It’s about time. I mean, c’mon, what idiot (definitely not an art-type) decided a good shape for messaging would be a very wide but extremely shallow rectangle wedged in above the title of a page or an extremely tall and extremely narrow oblong forcing the designer to make everything miniature like some kind of Lilliputian vertical billboard. Back in the day, when newspapers still existed (Wait, what? They’re still around?) it took some real craft and a smart idea to figure out how to creatively use a one column by full depth space. Which is why you only saw them every so often. Now, we routinely get forced to take a headline and break every word onto a line by itself…or squeeze an image down to the size of a postage stamp and expect it to have impact.

So good for you MSNBC designers—go ahead, poke a sharp stick in the eye of all the sameness of banners shoved to the edges of the page. Make that ad big and bold and right up front. Embrace the fact that advertising is an important part of making MONEY on the Web. And the better you make the space for advertising, the more innovative the work itself will get

— Chris Schlegel, Chief Creative Officer

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1 Comment

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One response to “Banners suck. Long live advertising.

  1. Eric Van Fossen

    It seems to me the banner, most often, is the epitome of ‘buying impressions’ gone amuck. Same with a NASCAR vehicle. Somehow a very significant chunk of marketing budgets goes whizzing by at high speed, virtually invisible, and it gets notched as making an impression. Perhaps we’re evolving into a cultural state of marketing awareness where all that matters is the logo. But I doubt it. Instead of auditing ‘impressions’ I’d like to suggest brands tally up the things that consumers/viewers regard as being ‘impressive.’ I wonder how that would change things?

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