Are Banner Ads Poised for Creative Renaissance?


What that has left, many industry observers argue, is a dearth of creativity. The result: banners, always in plentiful supply, remain dominated by low-cost, mass-run direct-response campaigns. The chatter about Apple's "Mac vs PC" display units that communicated with each other was notable because it was the first time most could remember buzz about a banner execution.

"There's not a lot of innovation and there's generally not a lot of use of the simplest and most straightforward of tools in creating interactive advertising, which is the human mind," said Randall Rothenberg, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. "I don't have an enormous amount of tolerance for the argument this space is too small to be creative in."

Still, the palettes for digital ad creativity are getting larger. Apple recently began running larger ad units to showcase its green laptops on sites like and The placements are far larger than IAB standard units, pointing the way to a permanent change to make Web ads bigger.

The IAB has created an agency advisory board to provide input on future standards, meaning creative considerations will get more attention, Rothenberg said.

"My guess will be when we go through the next standard review the result will be some large unit standards that don't exist now," he said.