BBDO and Bombay Sapphire Will Replace Your Lame Banner Ads with Real Art

By Patrick Coffee 

Banner ads: how do they work? No, really. We are guessing at least 90 percent of the clicks they get are accidental. (We know it’s about impressions rather than clicks, whatever. It’s not controversial to say popular consensus holds that banners are necessary but also ineffective.)

Speaking as consumers, it’s still jarring to be reading some in-depth article on, say, The Washington Post and then have to scroll past a “how to lose 15 pounds” ad while trying really hard not to click on it.

So BBDO and client Bombay Sapphire took an interesting approach to that ever-present problem by creating a Chrome plug-in that automatically replaces all banner ads with something more pleasant: art! Like, art in the honest to god “you need to go to a gallery or museum to see it, and you probably can’t afford it” sense.

Here’s the case study.

Cool, so let’s see it in action on the old AgencySpy homepage.

This says “advertisement,” but it’s not that at all!

bombay 1

This one is a section of a painting by a blind artist.

bombay 2

Here’s another example from Adweek’s home page.

bombay 3

Each of these former ads now links to a page on which one can vote on the specific work of art, which is part of the Bombay Artisan contest sponsored by the client and created to highlight the work of emerging artists.

Winners will be announced at this year’s Art Basel event in Miami in December.

It’s fairly bold for an agency to come out so strongly against banner ads.

Unfortunately, this browser plug-in cannot do away with all the Taboola links at the bottom of this page. Who clicks on that stuff? Do we even really want to know?


Client: Bombay Sapphire
Agency: BBDO New York
Work: Artifier

Chief Creative Officer Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer New York: Greg Hahn
Executive Creative Director: Danilo Boer
Executive Creative Director: Marcos Kolthar
Creative Director – Art Director: Danny Adrain
Associate Creative Director – Copywriter: Roberto Danino
Senior Designer: Bhanu Arbuaratna
Motion Designer: Chris D’Andrea
Director of Digital Operations: Joe Croson
Interactive Producer: Sho Matsuzaki
Senior Account Director: Steven Panariello
Account Director: Alli Hunt
Account Executive: Cameron Cullman
Communications Planner: Alysha Lalji

Tech Lead: Konstantin Rozinov
Developer: Aaron Wyler
Sound Engineer: John Cabrera

Brand Managing Director: Ned Duggan
Senior Brand Manager: Stacy Belter-Saltiel
Brand Manager: Maria Dao
Marketing Assistant: Austin Kaye

Music: Andrew Knox Music Productions
Composer: Andrew Knox