Published on .

MARKETER: Electric Library (

WHERE TO FIND IT: Reader's Digest, Rolling Stone and other sites

CRITIQUE: Will users, who tend not to click on ad banners, click on one just because it's clever? Probably not. Users like to know where they're going when they click, or sometimes out of curiosity they click on a mysterious ad.

The Electric Library has recently launched ads that aim for a disparate audience of business professionals and students. The ads' copy is related to current events. One reads, "Explore the Titanic without getting wet." Another says, "Explore the White House without . . . well . . . you know." The copy is revealed as a zipper unzips. Both ads then invite the consumer to explore the Electric Library.

Cute and clever, sure. Effective . . . well . . . you know. Banners need to be enticing or clearly establish the brand or product so that the banner builds awareness for the 98% of surfers who don't click on it.

These fall short of both. The Electric Library is a subscription-based storehouse of periodicals and other research resources. These banners don't communicate immense amounts of data or valuable research tools. They are light-hearted when the product really isn't. And, without offering any incentive for a surfer to click through, the ads don't optimize their space and time.

Which is a problem because with ad banners, it's sink or swim.

WHO CREATED IT: Power Design, ( Wayne, Pa.

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