Friends Don’t Let Friends Click Banners

Can we make a better ad banner? Or would that be like making better liver and onions?
Microsoft-owned agency, Avenue A/Razorfish is betting on the former.
According to Brian Morrissey at Adweek, the agency is testing new Web display units that weave the social-media features popular on many sites directly into banner ads.

Shiv Singh of Avenue A/Razorfish said efforts like this are part of an industry-wide effort to solve a critical challenge: How to attract consumers’ attention at a time when display ads are ignored and customers rely more on what others say than advertisers.
“What’s driving this is the recognition that social influence has a big influence on purchases and brand affinity,” he said. “Customers listen to other customers more than anything else. It makes sense for the ad unit to carry customer voices.”

I can’t say I blame Avenue A/Razorfish for pursuing this. But I’m skeptical about the outcome. Sure, I might prefer to listen to “other customers,” but context plays a role here. Customers listen to other customers in forums, blogs, message boards, at the bar, etc. Not in a banner ad.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.