WHERE TO FIND IT: Excite
CRITIQUE: We knew the time would come. After credit card applications started proliferating on search engines as well as in mailboxes, it was clear that the era of junk mail banners was approaching. And more power to it.
With the Alpha Project launch, Nike's creative has gone farther and farther off the beaten path, but its retail partners are sticking to low-risk ads -- at least online.
Foot Locker is running a straightforward ad on Excite (search for the keyword Nike) for the new Air Jordan shoes. Outside the realm of computer retailers, not many companies are doing the Sunday circular-type ads. This Foot Locker banner doesn't waste a moment of bandwidth but drills right to the point: Here is what's on sale today. It even has the "While supplies last" tag. Wonderful.
Why it's taking so long for traditional marketers to target consumers online is a mystery. Picture this: A consumer boots up a Web browser to a personalized Web page (My Yahoo!, etc.). On it is the weather for their city and a big banner telling them that oranges are on sale at the local grocery store. Seems like a no-brainer.
Next up: Blue-light banners from K-Mart.