Genuine Juice

Sip on our thoughts about the age of digital engagement.

Effective Copywriting for Banner Ads and Cavities

I read a creative brief for a banner ad campaign recently that had three subsets under the “Messaging” heading. 1) Primary Message, 2) Secondary Message and 3) Tertiary Message. That doesn’t include the fourth main section of the brief which was “Call To Action” which had further subsets of 1) Primary Call to Action and 2) Secondary Call to Action.

A standard Flash banner for most online campaigns have a kb limit of about 30 (not much) and a 7-10 second animation limit (short). Forget about banners for a minute – let’s think about this in regards to a television commercial – 1/3 of a television commercial. That gives us about 2 seconds per message. So let’s start writing a :30 TV spot for Mint-a-Rama Toothpaste.

Billy: “Mommy I hate brushing my teeth!”

Mom: “Oh Billy, if you don’t brush your teeth the cavity creeps will get you!”

Cut to Cavity Creep Animation

Cavity Creep: Mmmm…kiddie teeth! I love to eat enamel and cause cavities! Grrrrr.

Mom: “You don’t want to go to the dentist do you? We should brush with Mint-a-Rama – it will keep the cavity creeps away. And there’s Fluoride in there to help protect your teeth!

Billy: You’re right mom I’m going to brush with Mint-a-Rama every night!

V.O.: Go to your local drugstore for Mint-a-Rama or if you want to learn more – go to

Now let’s put consolidate those objectives in a 10 second TV spot.

Billy: Mom! No Brush!

Mom: Billy, Yes Brush!

Creep: I wanna put a cavity in you. Grr.

Mom: See? Dumb Billy.

Billy: Mint-a-Rama! Dot Com. Billy!

Ok so the above example sucks but it makes me laugh. My point is that getting people to actually notice a banner is hard enough without trying to get them to understand, process and react-to multiple messages in a 7-10 second time frame and with 30kb to work with.

Our Analytics, AB testing and post campaing analysis consistently show that the simpler and clearer the message, the better both the CTR’s (Click Through Rates) and the better the Brand Recall is of the campaign, brand or message.

Start with establishing your objective for the campaign. Is it Brand Recall or Click Through’s. It is not both. Once your establish that – create a single message and if Click Through’s is the objective, establish the reason to Click Through.

That single message can then drive the creative process. So get creative but stay focused on the single, primary message.

“Here’s the problem, Billy, you have too many calls-to-action in there.”


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