An actually engaging banner ad? I’m all ears.

Last week I was Googling some movies to watch. I clicked on a search result that led me to IMDB. To my surprise, I was greeted by Dumbo, who flew around my screen overtop of the content I was trying to view. After falling out of frame, he reappeared in what seemed to be a static banner on the side.

What did I just witness? Did I just see an elephant fly? It was unexpected. It was irrelevant. But it was kinda cool. I then proceeded to engage with the banner, wondering if Dumbo knew any more tricks. After clicking on the “watch video” button, Dumbo came back to life, flew out of the ad and back across my screen, leaving behind a pop-up of the trailer.

Sorry, no video—I took one on my phone but it was too large to upload. Hoping to share live.

Why it’s hot:

Upon closer inspection, this AR-like experience was nothing more than a cleverly placed pop-up that interacted with another cleverly placed banner ad. And although this technology is nothing new, it got my attention. In fact, this is probably the first time I intentionally clicked on a banner…ever? Let alone the first time I engaged with a banner that had nothing to do with the content I was viewing, or even anything I was remotely interested in. It was a smart idea with smart execution, which led to a click. What more could you ask for?

I’ve been returning to IMDB to see if there were any other cool ads like this. So far there haven’t been, although there was a somewhat similar pop-up for the Lion King, but it wasn’t nearly as innovative.

Ultimately, I believe this experience can best be summarized by the words of a particularly talented murder of musical crows:

But I be done seen ’bout ev’rything
When I see a elephant fly

Did Google and Red Robin Just Make a Banner Ad That’s Actually Cool?

Red Robin just launched—through a partnership with Google—an interactive display campaign that could actually turn sci-fi fans into patrons of the fast-casual burger chain.

The brand worked with Google and its digital agency, Vitro, to create immersive video promos for Red Robin’s Terminator Genisys campaign, which also includes TV spots and signage in the company’s restaurants. The ads let viewers see Red Robin pitchwoman “Melanie” as a Terminator character would. They can use their smartphones to add another digital layer to the experience or watch on their desktops for a simpler view.

Check out the demo below and experience the banner yourself here.

Why It’s Hot

It’s rare that brands step outside of the box when it comes to their banner ads so anything that leverages new technology or creates an immersive experience to grab users attention should be shared.

For another noteworthy Terminator promo, check out my post from last week.

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3M Makes Retargeting Banner Ads Less Annoying

Retargeted banner ads are the sledgehammer of the web, bashing you again and again with the same random product you looked at once, whether you like it or not. But 3M figured it could use the retargeted banner’s weakness as a strength. If the same banner comes up again and again, the company figured, why not make it a Post-it note where you could jot down info that might be useful later—when the ad pops up again?

Why It’s Hot

This is such a unique way to leverage technology and banner ads in a way that provides value to users while also promoting your brand!

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The Place Where Your Dreaded Banner Ads Will Never Be The Same

With one click, step into “Famous New Media Artist” Jeremy Bailey’s next project: The You Museum.

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Some attentive Internet users might have noticed banner ads recently popping up in their browsers featuring a blonde-haired, bespectacled man wearing a white turtleneck and jean shorts, holding text that reads “The You Museum.” That would be “Famous New Media Artist” Jeremy Bailey. The ads are part of Bailey’s recently-launched art and commerce campaign, The You Museum, which he describes as “the world’s first and only personalized museum that’s with you wherever you go.”

Why Its Hot

Bailey wanted The You Museum to appear pervasive. He decided to organically place banner ads everywhere through Google’s Adwords display network, Facebook and Twitter. If you like your personalized artwork, you can buy it by simply clicking the banner, which takes you to an e-commerce website to complete the purchase. He only pays for the ads once users click on them. Baily uses retargeting to reach those people who have visited JeremyBailey.net and theyoumuseum.org. Ultimately, word of mouth has been his biggest source of traffic – people often tweet the funny juxtapositions of ad and content.

Once at The You Museum website, visitors fill out a short questionnaire about the type of art they prefer. Bailey selects the art and delivers it to customers through personalized banner ads. Museum-goers then have the option to purchase Bailey’s artwork.

Bailey stars in his ads, holding abstract expressionist-esque sculptures through which he stares at you, the viewer of the art. It is a little creepy. The sculptures are all digital creations. He prints his digital person and the sculpture on everyday products like pillows, tote bags, and mugs. The banner ads feature Bailey playing a character – an over the-top narcissist. He holds the personalized artwork “as if it were an upscale perfume bottle.” “My banners use retargeting to follow you around the Internet so the banner ads start to feel alive, like someone is stalking you,” he says. “Because of the satirical tone, people are willing to forgive the creepiness and laugh at the absurdity of it all — it’s a win win.”

The project came about when he was invited to do a residency at the Moving Museum in Istanbul.
Bailey believes he may be the only artist currently using traditional web-based marketing techniques to both inspire and sell the art.
(The You Museum features an informative Private Policy, following the laws and regulations that govern all advertisers.)