One small step for…everyone

June 4, 2009

Over the past several years I’ve ranted endlessly about the diminishing effectiveness of display advertising as an awareness and branding vehicle. The benefits that ad unit standardization has delivered, namely efficiency in both media buying and ad unit creative development, has also resulted in a significant downside: banner blindness and user indifference.

Our industry must reverse this tide through innovation, innovation that can only come through more collaboration between publishers and marketers. Today I ran across an ad that demonstrated innovation.

The ad below is a full page ad for Prius on the landing page for dictionary.com. But what’s truely innovative about this ad, is it doesn’t get in the way of goal oriented users, the exact mindset of users who visit dictionary.com.


Unlike page takeovers and interstitials, ads they have conditioned users to impulsively seek the “close” or “continue” button, this ad allows users to accomplish the task at hand without forcing another click. And unlike page takeovers, this ad is likely to actually gain the awareness of users.

Granted, ad formats like this can’t be easily replicated on other sites. And I’m not saying this is the greatest thing since Google, but it just goes to show advertisers that a little collaboration and creativity can result in something that pleases everyone – advertisers, publishers, and users.


  1. Definitely an interesting way to do advertising: making advertising the interface.

    But as you say… hard to replicate for other types of sites.

  2. “Banner blindness and user indifference” – bingo! I had not seen this one, but I do like it. But they could have gone further – what about an interesting definition for “Prius” lodged into the dictionary? As you say, it’s about creative collaboration. There should be more of it!

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