ivan's blog

Revamped categories

Reworked the categories of industries. We've got more of them, better named and they cover all the different products and services advertised. Most notably Food, Alcoholic Drinks and Non-alcoholic drinks are separated from each other.

The only thing I can't figure out yet is where services like DHL would fit? Professional services? But than education is professional service as well, isn't it? Hmm..

The next task will be to find a nice way to link campaigns together. Also, flickr style taging was suggested by readers. Let me know if you have any other suggestions.

The ad conceptor

Your brief: product+tone+target

Check out The ad conceptor. The site is a humorous take on the industry and raises some interesting questions about how much of the creative process can you automate. On this site you have to select from a limited choice of product categories, tone of voices and target groups. In return you get an instant concept. Some of the ideas you get are quite good I must say, but of course they are prerecorded.

What if we were to try to make a machine that gives you realtime creative solutions that aren't prerecorded? Very difficult task. Besides the clever algorithms, the system would reqire constant input of social communication to keep the ideas fresh and relevant.

I think good advertising is a very difficult task to automate. Creative solutions by default should be new, so automated processes would need to have an amazing complexity to be even remotely comparable to human ideas.

However, I can see how a sophisticated AI could help the idea generation.

As a first step we could identify the types of ideas that make up 90% of good creative concepts. For example let's take one common tool that used in advertising to dramatize concepts: exageration. See a good example of this practice below for Matchbox.

Matchbox fly

The input sentence for the AI would be something like this: small toy car. The AI would take 4 steps to give you a concept:

1. Take any adjectives and find their opposites. In this case small will generate big, huge, monster, etc.

2. Take any nouns and find related words at least two levels deep. Car will generate wheel, hood, wiper, windshield, etc. On the second round windshield will generate glass, rain, bug, etc. It would run the same query on all nouns.

3. Generate a list of output sentences using the words generated in step one and two. Such as: big teddybear car and huge toy rain that mostly make no sense whatsoever.

4. Put images and words together based on the random senteces that it generated.

Finally, I don't see how the AI would be able to sort out which concepts make sense. A human would have to go through several dozens of nonsensical concepts that the AI generated and pick the one which has an idea in it. He would have to find the visual concept: monster windshield bug and execute it.

We could further enchance such a system to a level where the output is seemingly intelligent, but don't be afraid that your creative job is in danger any time in the near future.

If we look at the level of intelligence chatbots can do at this moment in time, it will take another 50 years till advertising professionals would have to start worrying of AI creatives replacing them.

Unfortunately that's not true for all professions. For example aeroplanes today can fly fully automated. If I were a pilot I would feel a bit frustrated.

Email this page

I've added a function, so that you can easily send any page you think your friend or collegue may find interesting by clicking the email this page link at the bottom of any page. Hope you will this feature useful.

Thank you for helping to spread the word about Ads of the World.

WOW -Thanks!

Just wanted to say that I really appreciate all the kind comments and encouragement. Seems like many of us share the passion for quality ads. We've got more than 15 thousand unique hits in the first 5 days of operation.

I never expected such a positive response in such a short time. I'm very grateful for all the material that has been sent. Keep it coming. If you come accross a smart ad, think of AotW.

Pygmalion effect

You must have heard of the Million Dollar Home Page by now. A 21 year old English guy had an awesome idea to create a medium that is a venue in itself. He's simply selling space on a web page 1$/pixel as advertising space. He has got 1 million pixels to sell, therefore he is planning to make 1 million dollars of advertising money on his webpage. The novelty of the idea draws traffic. And, like an accident on the road - traffic drives more traffic. And, where there is traffic - advertising space can be sold. It's a self fulfilling prophecy.

If you were wondering if he can make it, well he already sold 4% of the space, which made him 40 thousand american dollars. His site made into several blogs and even C|net. As the ultimate sign of success - he got a copycats: The Zero Dollar Homepage, Twenty Thousand Dollar Homepage, The Million Dollar Web, Million Euro Homepage, One Million Pixels and Million Penny Homepage. The ball is rolling and money is flowing.

Moral of the story. You can indeed make one million dollars with a 500 USD investment in the advertising business. All you need is a BIG IDEA!

Squashing bugs

Thank you all for reporting bugs. I've managed to fix a few, but I still have 1 major thing to do:

1. The upload is limited to 2MB, which is obviously too small for movies. I have to bump it to 20MB. I'm not sure if this is a php or Apache issue.

The upload limit has been raised to 7MB.

2. Win/IE and Win/FF displays the front page incorrectly.

I got rid of the details on the front page and bring the thumbs closer to each other vertically. I feel you get a much better overview of many thumbs at the same time, so you get a quick idea of what's new. Hovering over the thumbs will give you a note with the title. Hope it works for you.

3. Right sidebar goes over images in narrow windows.

Removed the right sidebar to give more space for the images on screens at 800px wide.

4. In Windows IE on the front page the right sidebar sometimes overlaps the main content. Weird CSS bug. Thanks for all the help on how to fix it. Working on it.

Managed to fix this issue by adding a conditional CSS for IE only. The layout is fixed (not fluid) for IE, but at least it works. I feel this is a clean solution and will be easy to update once IE7 comes out.

If you find something else please let me know!

Welcome to AotW

Ivan

Ivan, that would be me.

Thank you for checking out Ads of the World. Let me say a few words about this project.

Why?

I always wanted a site that has an ever growing library of ads that is well organized and searchable by keywords. I really like and check out often the Lürzers Archive and read several Advertising blogs (I will post them all here later on). I also wanted to discuss ads, advertising trends and techniques with collegues around the world. I wanted a site that is free and community driven. There are many that can provide several of these things, but not any that has it all. So, I decided to try to set up a site like that myself.

Beta?

Yes. It's still in Beta, so feel free to report any bugs. I know IE doesn't play well with the front page. Will work on it, until then get yourself a decent modern browser such as Firefox or Safari.

Please check out the about page to read about what the different parts of the site are all about.

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