Can banner ads be beautiful? On their own, maybe not. But what happens if you smush 15,000 of them together…
If you use the internet (seems likely if you’re reading this) you probably fall into one of a few camps:
- you hate online ads and have escaped their constant barrage by downloading an adblocker
- you tolerate their unpleasantness because you want to support the web you depend on
- you don’t realize you have a say in the matter
- you don’t realize that most of what you see online is actually an ad.
(If the latter, please know that when ad execs daydream, it is mainly of you.)
The one commonality among the aforementioned groups is that they can agree that the brightly colored, bold texted, shrunken billboard looking-things that live on the side of the BuzzFeed article you’re reading seem to be made with a lot less care than the article itself (which at times doesn’t even seem like that much). Given the beauty and richness of the internet in so many other respects, the ugliness of the average ad is, well….
It’s time for internet ads to focus on quality, not quantity
Look no further than your television to understand why beautiful ads are not only possible but inevitable. Advertisers on TV spend the money and time to make ads that are widely enjoyable, funny, and beautiful (we have a whole blog dedicated to the most beautiful, clever, funny ads out there). The fact that the internet hasn’t gone through the same transformation has nothing to do with the potential return on an investment in a beautiful ad (hint: there are 3B internet users) and everything to do with an antiquated revenue model that rewards impressions over positive interactions.
We’re going to fix that, and we’re going to do it in a way that satisfies everyone, no matter how they feel about ads right now (we’ll get to that in a second). But first we are going to take the wealth of ugly banner ads we block and turn them into something beautiful.
Ads can be beautiful. Here’s 15,000 blocked banner ads made into something stunning.
Ads can be funny. Here’s 15,000 blocked banner ads made into something amusing.
Ads can be cute. Here’s 15,000 blocked banner ads made into a heart melter.
Ads can be impactful. Here’s 15,000 banner ads to all of you who’ve helped make donating to charity as easy as surfing the web.
Adblockers allow users to take back control
Does turning banner ads into beautiful images really solve the problem with online ads? Of course not. Doing that will take cooperation between publishers, advertisers, and users. The problem in the past has been that the latter group is targeted, mined, but never heard. Adblockers have risen as a reaction to the privileged conversation that happens between publishers and advertisers concerned only with revenue and not with experience.
We’re giving users control over their online experience not because we want to deplete the internet of money or rob the publishers that fill it with amazing things. Our goal is exactly the opposite. Goodblock allows people to choose when they see an ad, when and if they share data to get more targeted ads, and where the revenue from that ad is directed.
Advertising doesn’t have to feel like a necessary evil
What happens when you choose to see an ad that is beautiful and allows you to donate money to a charity you care about? We’ve seen through Tab for a Cause and now Goodblock that the answer is that you actually enjoy seeing it. You’re part of the conversation that is online advertising, which makes sense because the conversation is and always has been about you.
For years, advertisers and publishers have been standing awkwardly in the corner of the party, looking at you, listening in, and guessing what you might like. Occasionally they throw something your way, mostly while you are in the middle of doing something else. Adblockers aren’t the long-term solution, but they offer the opportunity to walk over to these two well intentioned parties and say:
“I don’t hate you for wanting to show me things I might like, and I understand that ads fund this whole wonderful party. I’d simply like to tell you what I want, because your eavesdropping gives me the heebie jeebies and because I’m tired of what you’re offering. I want beautiful ads that are relevant to me, make me laugh or smile or wonder, and I want them on my terms. Otherwise I will continue to block, ignore, minimize and avoid whatever you throw my way.”
We’re not saying there is an easy solution, or that Goodblock is the magic bullet the internet needs (yet). We’re asking you to join us and share your thoughts, experiences, and criticism. We want to empower people to control their online experience because we believe it is the only way. The people across the room failed at making ads enjoyable precisely because they didn’t involve you, and they’ll fail at solving the problem for the same reason. You, the users, must have a voice, and Gladly’s goal is to make it the loudest in the room.
Written by Joey DeBruin @joey_debruin