For the past couple of years creative people have delighted in
kicking the banner in the bollocks and proclaiming it 'dead'. Lynch-mobs
of designers, art directors and copywriters can always be found lurking
in the dark corners of the trade press, baying for the blood of those
villainous little rectangles.
The same old war cries can be heard wheezing out from behind every Mac
in the land. Come on lads, thump the oblong bastards!
Kick 'em in the pixels! Go on - knock 12k out of 'em!
Enough. This constant mewing about whether or not the 'banner is dead'
is now quite boring and not a little tedious. Why do people insist on
blaming the canvas?
It's meant to be what's displayed on it that matters.
When TV commercials were only available in black and white, did they
come rubber-stamped with an apology stating that they would work better
if they were in colour?
Granted, with banners there are plenty of constraints. But this should
be seen as a good thing. There's nothing to hide behind, no sanctuary
for execution-driven creatives. In the absence of high production
values, it's the quality of the creative idea that makes the
I think this infatuation with slagging off banners is due to three
First, it's currently a fashionable opinion to have; denounce banner ads
and you instantly become a nappy jean-wearing web guru.
Second, it's a convenient excuse for the conceptually challenged and/or
prima donnas - 'Sorry, darling, but I simply don't DO banners. My art
only manifests itself in formats that are so of the now they've not even
been invented yet.' And third, it's a knee-jerk reaction to the
apparently low click-through rates of banner ads in general.
But, of course, average click-through rates are low.
This is simply due to the fact that such a large proportion of banner
ads are dull, uninspiring, invisible and written by people with no
interest or experience in advertising, which drags down the
The truth is this: if an idea for an ad is good enough, if it's
attention-grabbing, emphatic and persuasive, then it'll probably work in
any shape and in any size.
And don't even think about giving me that
But-Nobody-Notices-Banners-Anyway sob story with your bottom lip
dragging all over the floor. That whole angle, that whole universe, is
Any good creative knows that even a single word on a white background
has the potential to stand out from the noise. It just has to try hard
All in all blaming the banner is, well, a dead concept. Did someone say
concept? Now there's an idea.