There’s no such thing as a banner campaign

(As published by Digiday August 13th, 2012)

We refer to campaigns so often in advertising that it’s easy to forget that presidential elections and, before that, war owned the term. It ties together, usage-wise. War, politics, advertising. A campaign is about beating someone. It is waged. Right there you know it’s special.

We don’t [...]

Brands should move banner money into spam and junk mail

The average response rate for junk mail is 1.38%.

The average click-through rate for marketing email is 6.64%

The average open rate for a thirty-second television commercial is…oh, right, we don’t measure TV spots that way.  Yet.

But that’s precisely how we assign value to ads on humankinds’ most immersive and engaging medium to date.

The average [...]

Why brands don’t buy banner ads

I love coffee.  I drink it everyday.

I especially like strong, freshly-brewed coffee.  I seek it out and pay extra for it.  I have a favorite kind, but I generally consume a mix over the course of a week.  A different brand here, an espresso there, a cappucino after dinner.

But flavored coffee [...]

8th graders know why brand money isn’t online; surely website publishers can figure it out

Every March I teach five 30-minute classes to 8th graders during career day for the Fresh Air Fund in NYC.  I always start the same way:  tell me about your favorite ads.  Hands shoot up.  This year:

“Geico!” (sexy grandpa)  “Doritos!”  (finger licking good)  “Sun Drop!” (drop it like it’s hot).

Then I ask what [...]

You Can’t Measure Everything — Data is Killing Desire (and Big Brand Spending) on the Internet

Where there’s magic, there’s margin.  I learned this from Mitch Kurz, the one-time head of measurement-maniacal Wunderman before he left Y&R a wealthy man about a decade ago.

We were talking about technology.  The internet was upon us.  He recounted how technology innovators command premiums for a moment and then, as the invention gets [...]

Publishers dug the banner hole. Time to dig themselves out.

Photo Credit:

About a thousand of us watched a digital ad presentation recently, giant screen looming behind the speaker featuring that day’s Yahoo! home page.  “Who was the advertiser on that page?” the speaker asked as the slide faded a minute later.  Dead silence.  Nobody had noticed.

Whose fault is that?

I’ve heard [...]

So Easy Even a Caveman, I Mean Algorithm, Could Do It

If only creating great advertising were as easy as matching the right color tops with bottoms.

Google announced last week their intent to buy Teracent (below), which claims to make better banner ads by swapping ad elements (words, pictures, that sort of thing) based on various factors like [...]

It’s Official: the Creative Matters

Shocker:? better creative drives better results in digital advertising — this from a new Dynamic Logic study ( You know we’ve taken our eye off the ball when only an “analysis of over 170,000 online creative executions” keeps us from cramming next year’s marketing platform into a six-frame banner ad.

The gazillion-dollar question is, [...]

Welcome the “Macrostitial” — Because the Real Money is in Emotion

Purists may hate this one but advertisers and publishers should love it:? an online ad that is really a mini website right on the page — letting people engage deeply with brands/products without ever leaving the ad.? I believe this is the future, and we will eventually see this type of advertising in [...]

Bigger Banners Are Inevitable (and Good), Part 2

(see? the above at:?

The real untapped opportunity for digital is persuasion.? That magical, hard-to-measure ability to get someone to FEEL something great about a product or brand.? It’s emotional.? Traditional media rules in this regard, thus far.? We can all think of a great TV spot.? You see the ad and, to [...]