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 head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.