Thomas and I were just talking about banner ads, after I read this Digiday post on swapping billboards for banners (a tactic I totally agree with by the way).
And it got me thinking about three instances in which really (intentionally) terrible banner ads, did something that well-designed ones almost always fail to do. They got people’s attention.
Instance #1 - This one is from a little while back, and involves a sloppy MS paint version of a banner, pitted against a properly designed version. Guess which one outperformed?
Instance #2 - Louis CK, who now aside from being my favorite comedian, is also my favorite media disruptor, is running this ad to promote some of his newest content.
Instance #3 - Back when I was helping get Pangea Media up and off the ground, we were literally doing everything ourselves, in house. Coding, writing, designing, media buying, everything. And as is often the case in a small company, I found myself outside of my comfort-zone, and designing a banner ad one day (which is not my forte). My masterpiece is below, and to this day it is the single best piece of content I have ever created in terms of performance. It drove nearly 65,000 SIGN-UPS in a single day. Not impressions, not clicks, but full registrations on a silly IQ test.
If stuff like this works, why then, do we bother pouring time into meticulously designing banner ads? Fussing with copy, and calls-to-action, and wasting piles of money on things that people have become trained to ignore?