4 Tactics to Disrupt “Banner Blindness”

I’ll admit it, I suffer from “banner blindness”. Maybe it’s because I’m a digital marketer. But traditional banner ads that line the perimeter of the page are easy to avoid, as are interstitials  that you can immediately X out of or tap “Close Ad”. So which advertisers are successfully combating this online illness? Those willing to up the ante on their creative and dig deeper into their pockets for disruptive rich media that seizes the user’s attention — but only for 10 seconds.

TACTIC #1: Surprise the User.

Last night, I logged on to YouTube’s homepage to search for a video. My head jolted back when it appeared I had a cute guy stuck under my computer screen. He was crawling around frantically, trying to get my attention. He did.


The fact that he could’ve been Channing Tatum drew me in closer. It is possible that Channing would look like that if he was stuck under the glass of my screen for a few hours. This auto-initiated ad loaded immediately, with this guy stretching himself across the unit for at least 5-6 seconds. Mission accomplished: Progressive broke through my banner blindness.


A video player then appeared behind him with the option to play a short commercial.

TACTIC #2: Provide a Bold Benefit.

“SNAPSHOT CAN SAVE YOU!” Ah, save me how? From having fish face?


So what’s Progressive selling? SNAPSHOT. Basically the better you drive, the more you save with Progressive’s “revolutionary usage-based insurance program”. They will send you a device you plug into your car that monitors your driving — how much you drive, how often you slam on your brakes and how often you drive after midnight. And Big Data continues to revolutionize price modeling. You can take a 30 day test drive first, without switching your insurance. Too bad, I don’t have a car. Nice job Progressive, I needed a break from the chatty brunette you’re always pushing!

Here’s another great example of disruptive online media on Cosmopolitan.com:


When logging on to the Cosmopolitan homepage, it immediately fell backwards to display a full-screen ad for Aussie Shampoo. And a few seconds later, the homepage popped right back up. This ad technology was created by CheckM8 for the Hearst Digital Group. (full disclosure: I have consulted for CheckM8, but did not participate in this campaign).

Tactic #3: Go Big or Don’t Advertise.

With today’s saturated web pages, you must at the very minimum display your message in a half page unit (300×600) or larger. It’s so easy to get lost in the clutter. And if possible, integrate a video component. This is what separates web from print — real movement, a mini-TV on your screen.

Tactic #4: It’s better to launch a small, impactful campaign than a long online presence that goes unnoticed.

Basically, you’ll have better results with two homepage takeovers than a month-long campaign of standard, boring banner ads.

Congrats Progressive, You’ve Made my DigiDay!