Banner ads are definitely not the future of ads, but once you start to think outside the banner, you often don’t have to go far to come up with a good idea. For Jung von Matt, they only needed to go as far as the favicon before coming up with a fantastic campaign for Smart fortwo.
A favicon is the 16×16 pixel icon that sits next to the address bar in most browsers and serves as a visual identifier of a website. Typically it’s a logo or a letter or some other easily identifiable symbol, but few people realize the favicon can be much more than just that. In fact, it can be an entire Flash application that plays full motion video and even responds to user input. Sure, it’s not the most spacious of locations to fit a game into, and you’ve got to squint a little bit to make out all the details, but the necessary bits and pieces are all there to make it work, and with enough thought, planning and creativity, make it work well.
Since coding for a space the size of a favicon isn’t exactly a designers dream, Jung von Matt made the smart decision to go with the guy who created the idea, Mathieu ‘P01’ Henri, to code the favicons for them. Mathieu’s original favicon game was a Defender Clone, but for the Smart fortwo campaign, he also created a miniature version of Pac-Man, Outrun and Pong.
Then, Jung von Matt just did a few deals with top automotive sites, got them to place leaderboard ads on their site to point out the new and improved favicons, and then unleashed the campaign into the wild. With a unique concept, a smart and appropriate tag line and a fun game to play all rolled into one, I have no doubt the campaign was a success.
- Allows consumers to interact with the advertising.
- Using the original favicon game designer for the creative work gives credit where credit is due.
- Integration into high value sites taps into pre-existing communities of self-selected auto enthusiasts.
- Not compatible with all browsers.
- May be overlooked as just another banner.
- Unique and interactive banner ads, both in size and in content, get users to engage with the brand in new and fun ways.