Last week, IAB chief Randall Rothenberg promised to use a word with me that I probably never heard used in conjunction with online advertising: beauty. It's part of his effort to refocus the industry on creativity in digital marketing.
While I think creativity comes in many forms in digital media, I'm very interested in the future of display ads. On Monday, I wrote about an interesting effort by AKQA to pipe live video into banners -- and turn banners into actual utility. This kind of creative use of display units is admirable, yet I think we're entering into a time of more interruptive ads. Sure enough, NYTimes.com, ESPN.com and other top Web publishers are introducing bigger, "more impactful" units along the lines of the recent Apple executions. The idea: give advertisers more "share of voice." What this means in practicality is devoting more of the page to bigger, bolder ads. Nothing in life is free.
The solution to making display ads work better for brands is many things. Bigger and flashier is certainly going to be part of it. I wonder if people will be as open to these executions outside of Apple, which has led the charge in using display units in new ways. (Eric Reagan points to the iPod Touch integration with Pitchfork.) In addition to the live video, AKQA is doing some interesting stuff in making the display units actually helpful. The one area that will get a lot of attention soon, I think, is adding social media into the display space. Seth at SocialMedia is doing this and Mashable last week began an interesting experiment that is basically running brand Twitter feeds as as units.
As an aside, I sent a note to Crispin Porter + Bogusky asking if it had done any interesting banner creative recently. It got back to me too late for my story, but sent along a pretty smart creative media execution for the Alliance for Climate Protection that took over 404 pages. Clever.