Animated web banner ads operate on the same principles commercial cartoons were based upon: human eye is attracted to movement. But it can be taken beyond that. A well-balanced blend of design, content and performance can transform a bland banner into something memorable. Yet, somehow, the idea of a timeless web banner somehow defies our preconception. It’s never been done before. Many designers have tried to infuse these banners with something worth to remember laced with the message they’re trying to convey. It is probably a bit too early to talk about lingering online ads, probably due to the nature of the media and the way people use it.
However, the Internet is becoming a part of every home. Families share contents with each other and, although it’s mostly used for quick searches, users make the most of the web and enjoy movies, tv shows, radio programs and newer media formats like podcasts. Could it be that we’re facing the dawn of a new (and improved) Idiot Box? If so, the smartes thing to do is to shift from a pragmatic mindset that tries to deliever information ASAP to a kinder, mellower consciousness that makes space for iconic, valuable content. People spend more time in front of their computers and they dedicate a bigger part of that time to entertainment.
With that in mind, is it possible to think that animated banners are ready to encompass contents that can be… fun?
It’s been seen throughout the entire history of advertisement: the constant rise and fall of not-so-memorable characters that, somehow, never hit the spot. Lame and generic designs made in haste live their tragically short lives and then they march into oblivion. To top it all, cutting corners drastically and aimlessly reduced quality and everything (design, animation, contents) turns to an unbearable blur.
Human eye is attracted towards movement, but the human mind (and, why not, the human heart) is attracted to characters they can relate to. We read the comic strips for healthy doses of wit and we watch cartoons because they takes us back to simpler times. Nostalgia is a mother load many agencies tried to tap but, due to the lack of know-how or technology, they failed.
We might never be able to revive the Golden Age of Cartoons, but we can learn from it and create banner that not only increase the clicks on your site but are memorable and fun to watch:
1. A simple design will take you places.
A design bloated with details is hard to follow and to remember. Hanna-Barbera cartoons are legendary because they made the most of a short budget and gave birth to some of the most enticing characters from basic principles of composition and proportion.
2. Don’t forget to be funny.
Don’t you just HATE these 90′s cartoons with the word “extreme” written all over them? Nobody wants to see skateboarding jiu-jitsu adolescent marsupials anymore! A fad will come and go, but a good pun will linger. If you can balance the timelessness of older cartoons with today’s conventions, people will remember you and anchor their memories to the images you’re delivering.
3. Think of your audience.
Some people have their PC speakers off when they’re at the office, so there’s no point on relying on witty writing if no one’s going to hear it. Don’t use obnoxious or surprise audio and try to rely on visual gags.
Probably we are a million light years away from having such sophistication on web banners. But we can always look into the future as long as we learn from the past.