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Blogables

23

Jun13

Is “Beyond Infinity” a Good Goal, or Going Too Far?

Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) organized a 3-day Animation Masterclass in New York, NY: Story Development, Character Design & Animation. The event featured three brilliant creatives from Pixar Animation Studios, Story Supervisor Matthew Luhn, Lead Production Designer Ricky Nierva, and Directing Animator Andrew Gordon.
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05

May13

Better Banner Ads – Part 4: Awesome

mousetrap

A better banner/online ad is one that does something really flipping awesome incredible wow BINGO…with purpose.

Note: My definition of a “better” banner/online ad is one that’s more effective in really achieving its goal.

On Super Bowl Sunday, people intentionally watch commercials. Right or wrong, they believe they’re watching really, really good ones, so they actually watch them. Otherwise, it’s unusual for TV viewers to delay their bathroom breaks or mute button activation for commercials during regular viewing. Add a DVR to the mix and commercials = fast forward.

Wether we like it or not, banner/online ads are commercials. When a webpage loads, visitors are looking at the incoming content, not the ads, and if they do notice the ads, smooth animation with perfectly kerned text that matches the same ads they see on TV aren’t going to make much of an impression.

Something awesome, however, may make that impression.

(Also, here’s where my “the intersection of creativity and technology” tagline fits nicely.)
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22

Mar13

Have a Click and a Smile

coke

Computers can do so much when in the hands of creative people. For years this has challenged me because I always thought that advertising was a creative realm, yet most of the industry’s output seems misguided and flaccid.

This week I came across two campaigns that really embrace my ideals, not just to sell more shit to people who don’t need it, but also to play, and take the power of a brand to help spread some international goodwill.
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06

Mar13

Better Banner Ads – Part 3: Information

mousetrap

A better banner/online ad is one that offers free, immediate, up-to-date information in the ad.

Note: My definition of a “better” banner/online ad is one that’s more effective in really achieving its goal.

While working as Creative Director of Paragon Advertising in Buffalo, NY, one of the first banner ads I created was for the Buffalo Bisons, the city’s minor league baseball team.

Instead of a creative “go to a game” concept, I focused on when the games take place and the offers at each game (i.e. “free hats!”). So I created ads that started by checking the date and time. If there was a game that day and it hadn’t started yet, it promoted that game and the specific offer. If there was no game, or the game was well underway, a generic ad appeared.

So the ads told you there was a game TODAY, and that if you went, you might get a free hat!

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05

Mar13

Better Banner Ads – Part 2: Make It Easier

mousetrap

A better banner/online ad is one that will make it easier for a viewer to do something.

Note: My definition of a “better” banner/online ad is one that’s more effective in really achieving its goal.

One of the most successful ads I created while at Crisp Media was for Sam’s Club. It was a gallery of baby products with direct links to buy. It’s not fancy, but it is clear: Diapers at just $.19 each, and get them by tapping the big, obvious, green “BUY NOW” button. Tap, BOOM, and Papmers are on the way.

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02

Oct12

Better Banner Ads – Part 1: Research

mousetrap

The best place to start making more effective banner/online ads is to find out what works.

Note: My definition of a “better” banner/online ad is one that’s more effective in really achieving its goal.

One way is for an ad agency or production company that creates a lot of banner ads takes on a robust “A/B” testing program with live ads: Compare how one ad performs compared to a different version, rotated 50/50 in the media buy. Keeping everything but the ad the same will yield the most reliable results. Otherwise, statistics that compare different ad campaigns are anecdotal at best (i.e. the high number of clicks on a SHOE ad with animation running on a sports site can’t be compared to the low number of clicks on a static AIR FRESHENER ad hosted on a news site).

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25

Sep12

Better Banner Ads – Part 0: Preamble

mousetrap

I’m not a fan of banner/online ads.

Many of them are gratuitous, indulgent, ineffective, gimmicky, WAY too expensive, and miss their targets, despite a hearty belief in “throw enough mud at the wall and eventually some of it will stick.”

They’re the result of an obsession with details and changes, and an ignorance of how people surf the web. They’re neither TV spots not moving magazine ads, yet many “creatives” design and conceive of them within that limited paradigm. And I can say with experience that this is something that infects the mobile web space as well.

Sure, banner ads pump a lot of money into the web in an easy-to-justify system: Pay a lot, get a lot of clicks…”SUCCESS!”, right? I mean, even an accountant can see “this $1,000,000,000 ad campaign yielded 1000 clicks. HUZZAH!” yes? Well…

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20

Sep12

If I Worked at a Stock Photo House

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Stock photo sites must have some serious challenges. Between ever-shrinking budgets, armies of “free photo” sites, and a population armed with digital cameras in their phones, it must be tough.

If I worked at a stock photo house and I’d try these ideas to stay on top:

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15

Aug12

Marvin Hamlisch: Good Sport and a Gentleman

Marvin Hamlisch died.

While not a huge fan of all his work (his disco “Spy Who Loved Me” soundtrack is now cringe-inducing), he was quite a musical marvel, winning pretty much every major creative prize way before Tracy Morgan joked about EGOTs.

But what I will always remember about him is a wonderful stepping stone in my career that coincided with a huge moment in my person life. Short story: He was a gentlemen and a good sport, and for that I will always be grateful.

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13

Jul12

A Non-Eulogy – “Six Shades of Flash”

Flash is Dead... Long Live Flash?

I understand many of the issues people have with Flash, and even agree with a lot of them. But the there’s no other program out there that can do so much and reach so many. So in fairness, or as a list of what post-Flash-app developers may want to consider, I offer the following list of stuffs I still dig about Flash.

With all this bad press, you’d think Adobe Flash kills Kitten Memes.


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