Online ads, creatively in your face

March 10, 2009

The Online Publishers Association got a bunch of Web publishers (including Reuters) to agree to test a new series of ad formats that it says will “stimulate a renaissance of creative advertising on the Internet.”

Renaissance? Indeed, says the OPA. The ads will:

  • Inspire creativity and high-quality advertising
  • Provide a greater share of voice for the advertisers
  • Introduce a measurement to capture impact
  • Enhance interactivity to build user engagement with brands

Or, roughly translated: The new online ad formats are supposed to work because there will be fewer of them, they will be larger, they theoretically could command a higher fee for advertisers who buy the space, and more people will buy stuff because of them.

Here are the formats:

  • The Fixed Panel (recommended dimension is 336 wide x 860 tall), which looks naturally embedded into the page layout and scrolls to the top and bottom of the page as a user scrolls.
  • The XXL Box (recommended dimension is 468 wide x 648 tall), which has page-turn functionality with video capability.
  • The Pushdown (recommended dimension is 970 wide x 418 tall), which opens to display the advertisement and then rolls up to the top of the page.

This is intended as a way to succeed the era of banner ads because who, after all, looks at them except as a prelude to irritation? (No one, according to lots of studies)

But wait! MediaMemo blog author Peter Kafka at All Things Digital raises an interesting point in his headline from earlier on Tuesday about the OPA ad formats:

Coming to a Web Site Near You: Bigger, More Obnoxious Ads

Kafka explains:

The key point is that the ads are going to be ginormous and gaudy-think monster trucks with sirens and flashing lights. … The reasonable thing to point out here is that there’s nothing that prohibits advertisers and publishers from doing interesting and creative stuff with these formats-just like Apple. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll find that the ads are even about stuff you’re interested in learning about. … But if the ads aren’t interesting and aren’t relevant to you? It’s the kind of thing that could drive a mild-mannered person to install ad-blocking software.

Here are the companies whose sites will start using the new ad formats:

BabyCenter, Bizjournals, Bloomberg, BusinessWeek, CBS Interactive, CNN, Condé Nast Digital, Discovery Communications, ESPN,, FOXNews Digital, IDG, iVillage Network, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Meredith Interactive,, MTV Networks, NBC Universal, New York Media, The New York Times, Reed Business Information, Reuters, Time Inc., USA Today, Wall Street Journal Digital Network and, with more OPA members to be announced.

(These photos, which show a G.I. Joe ad in “open” format above, and “closed’ format below, are courtesy of Online Publishers Association.)

One comment

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[…] thought it was all behind me, but it turns out that the Online Publishers Association has been hard at work trying to solve the underlying problem with online advertising – that is, that the basic unit of […]

Posted by New Online Ad Models | Sips from the Firehose | Report as abusive

Understandably, advertisements are needed to support the medium, but these in your face, flashing, spinning, obnoxious assaults demanding attention at every turn diminish the joy and satisfaction of reading. Presumably, we’re going to care more about the products for sale if the adds are larger and make more noise. I don’t think so; just going to make me navigate elsewhere –Newspapers are great, the adds are not animated and stay where they are, not jumping out of nowhere to annoy you. Too bad the internet is killing the local rag.

Posted by Simply Disgusted | Report as abusive