6 foundations of great digital creative

Stumbled across this succinct presentation from Ashley Ringrose from BannerBlog, on The 6 Foundations Of Great Digital Creative.  It was presented at the AdAge Digital Conference a couple of years ago but still acts as a useful reminder to anyone who spends their working day trying to come up with engaging banner ads!

via digitalbuzz

Is social targeting the future?

I had an interesting meeting with a company called Tamtam Media this week who are the UK agents for Media6degrees, an ad serving company in the US who are pioneers in a new media targeting concept called social targeting.  I’m curious to see how this develops over the next 12 months or so as I imagine this will be the next big thing in digital media targeting.

Let me try to explain why.

For decades, demographic, psychographic, contextual and behavioural targeting have been the primary tools used by marketers and media buyers to reach specific audiences. But now there’s a new kid on the block called sociographics. By that I mean targeting criteria based on connections via social media sites.

What Media6 have done is build a sophisticated social graph which effectively maps the social connections of millions of people across a multitude of different social media sites, including flickr, facebook, bebo, myspace and any number of influential blogs.  Don’t ask me how they do it, let alone without contravening privacy issues – they just do!  All I know is that it involves placing 20 billion pixels across the web and tracking browser IDs. What this means though is that they can then serve banner ads via their ad network to anyone who may be socially associated or connected to one of your brand loyalists.

An example of how it works

So let’s say someone visits your website and orders a brochure or buys a product online.  Using pixels placed on your website and across the social web, Media6 can track the online behaviour of one of your brand loyalists to build up a picture of their social connections.  They also measure things like frequency and reciprocity to identify only the strongest connections.

Now the clever bit. If one of those close connections then visits one of the many media publishing sites within Media6’s ad servicing network – which includes the likes of MSN, Yahoo, Times Online, Facebook or Myspace – they bid for it and serve them one of your ads.  Not only that but if that person subsequently clicks on your banner to visit your website the cycle continues.

Clever stuff indeedy.

Why is this better than traditional targeting methods?

The reason this is such a powerful form of targeting is because it’s based on the simple premise that the people you know and regularly interact with are more likely to demonstrate similar brand affinities than those who simply share the same demographic or psychographic profile.  And according to Media6, the results appear to validate this theory, out-performing other traditional ad targeting methods by some considerable margin.

It’s a tricky one to get your head around I know, especially as I’m no media planner and probably haven’t explained it that well at all! But if I’ve whet your appetite, this interview with the CEO of Media6degrees might do it more justice!

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more about “Sociolgraphics and social targeting“, posted with vodpod

Creating banner ads on the fly

I’ve heard of branded sheep before but branded flies must go down as one of the craziest, most inventive ambient stunts I’ve heard in a while. But this is exactly what a German book company called Eichborn did at the recent 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair – they attached little banners to a number of flies and then released them onto the unsuspecting public.

Flies are a nuisance at the best of times so strapping branded advertising messages to them could arguably be perceived as the most irritating form of advertising ever conceived.  However, as a one-off stunt it’s a superb idea and seems an inspired way to get noticed in such a competitive environment where every exhibitor is vying for consumer attention. Pure genius.

via mashable

Exploiting the Zeigarnik Effect in banner ads


This marvellous banner campaign by Pringles may have done the rounds already but I have to admit I discovered it only recently. What I like about it though is the fact that it takes advantage of what is known as the Zeigarnik Effect, a form of cognitive behaviour where you feel compelled to finish what you’ve started.  I’ve written about this human trait before in a previous post about maximising email communications but it’s interesting to see it applied here in a simple banner ad.

The ad begins all fairly innocuously by inviting the viewer to click on the call out button.  However, what ensues is a light-hearted dialogue which you feel compelled to maintain by clicking the button again and again and again! I don’t know about you but I just had to keep clicking until it reached its eventual conclusion.

I can’t think of another banner campaign which has held my attention for so long – and all because of that human instinct to want to finish what you’ve started.  Very clever, very original and very entertaining.

Watch this home page morph into a banner ad


Interactive ad technology company Eyewonder have launched PageMorph™, a new advertising unit, which essentially morphs a publisher’s home page into a full page banner ad or landing page.

As a consumer clicks onto a homepage, a screenshot of the page begins to shrink and crumple away to reveal the banner ad behind. You can watch a demo of the ad unit here.



Eyewonder claim publishers are looking for premium placements to sell to advertisers whilst keeping ad clutter on their home page to a minimum.  This format certainly fulfils that requirement.  From an advertiser’s perspective, it’s certainly eye-catching and engaging and I’m sure brands will enjoy the larger real estate to present brand messages.   The new ad units also return a higher than average total interaction time apparently which is something not to be scoffed at.

However,  I do think marketers need to strike a careful balance between capturing consumer attention and disrupting the online experience to such an extent that the consumer is virtually coerced into interacting with the ad campaign.  I also question what relevance a shrinking home page has unless you link it to the concept in the way BMW have done here, otherwise it’s just an eye-catching gimmmick.   I’m not saying this technology doesn’t have a role – in fact in some instances this could be extremely compelling –  I just think there are wider factors to consider beyond who can shout the loudest.

Orange Spot the Bull digital campaign


This latest banner campaign by Orange is interesting as it boasts a number of creative innovations which sets this apart from your run-of-the-mill banner campaign.  The ad is a basic competition mechanic to win tickets to Glastonbury but the way they have executed this is particularly intriguing. They’ve created a 3D banner which hosts a variety of technical wizardry including Papervision3D, Flash AS3, a live two-way data feed & even GPS tracking of the bull which is relayed back into the ad. The ad has been created by Poke and Unit 9 with media planned & bought by Mediaedge CIA.

I’m almost tempted to say this campaign takes digital banner advertising into a completely new field!

Of course, Orange is not alone when it comes to using music to attract a younger demographic. O2 run the Blueroom for priority access to music events and T-mobile created Street Gigs a while back, not to mention the well documented karaoke flashmob which I reviewed recently.  What I find interesting is that whilst they are all aligning themselves to music to connect with the younger generation, they’ve all adopted vastly different marketing strategies in an attempt to differentiate themselves. As the ‘Spot the Bull’ campaign illustrates, it’s not necessarily what you say that’s important as how you say it.

Mega big banners with live Twitter feeds

The technology to stream live content via banners has been around for a few years but it’s only now that a brand has realised the potential of incorporating live updates from Twitter.

As part of the launch for the new Volvo XC60, the car brand has used Double Click’s rich media dynamic data feed capability to create a banner campaign which hosts live Twitter updates. The ad was displayed on YouTube’s home page.


Because this is a media first, the campaign has been well documented within the marketing press. However, few have picked up on the fact that the Twitter updates are only from ad agency professionals rather than the general public, resulting in tweets which feel rather too contrived and self indulgent in my view. So top marks for being the first to integrate a social media platform into display advertising but unfortuantely it drops a few points due to lack of authenticity and not fully capitalising on the true potential of social communities.

But incorporating Twitter feeds is not the only thing different about this campaign. The expandable masthead measures a mega 950 x 250 pixels when rolled over, filling half the page. This might feel too in your face for some consumers but for any potential car buyer within the consideration phase it provides a rich source of information including photo galleries, videos, 360 views and an advergame which demonstrates the new automatic braking features of the XC60.


Google has only been offering this media space since last year apparently and it’s not hosted on the home page every day unlike Yahoo or MSN, so in theory there’s less risk of the audience becoming desensitized. One thing’s for certain, Volvo has shown that with a bigger canvas it’s possible to deliver a very rich online brand experience without having to drag consumers kicking and screaming to another microsite!