The front page of most websites is packed to the gills with information. There are title graphics, menus, and navigation systems. If it’s a news site, there also are headlines and feature stories. If it’s a portal, there are links and featured items from all different content sections like news, music, and video that all converge on a single page. All that clutter can easily overwhelm a lonely banner ad vying for the user’s attention amidst all that content. That’s why a good creative can not only catch the user’s attention, but also communicate a message that may only be seen for a split-second as a user scans the sea of information.
It all starts with the message. PBS chose Viewpoint Creative, not the online marketing firm, but the creative agency that’s built campaigns for folks like HBO, the Sci Fi Channel, and Discovery, to develop rich media creatives for a campaign to promote the new show Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures. “What we first and foremost want to know is what the message is trying to convey for that particular show, the audience that they’re trying to reach,” says Viewpoint Creative Director Michael Middeleer. PBS’s message was clear: Cousteau is back. Visit the website, and tune in to the show.
The Cousteau name has been familiar to PBS viewers since 1977 when Jean Michel’s father, Jacques Cousteau, began exposing the mysteries of the world’s oceans to TV sets everywhere through the program Cousteau Odyssey. “I think PBS feels the Cousteau name would resonate,” says Middeleer. “They believe they have two generations of viewers who really knew that name, and so they were quite confident that that alone would speak volumes to their viewers.” Ocean Adventures follows ocean explorer Jean Michel Cousteau and his science team around the world as they examine some of the great mysteries of the ocean.
To emphasize the Cousteau name, Viewpoint designers placed the ‘Cousteau’ front and center. They also placed both the Cousteau name and all the rest of the important text against a deep ocean blue background to create the kind of eye-popping contrast that can get people’s attention.
Because most of the campaign consisted of rich media, the ads were able to move and expand, further drawing attention to themselves. “The challenge for any online advertising is to get the viewer’s eye to glaze over your ad and discover some sort of interest,” says Joseph Kiely, also a Viewpoint Creative Director and Designer. “With rich media and video playing, there’s a higher ratio of people interacting with those banners. More than likely, it’s all of the movement that’s going through the banners.”
The Cousteau rich media ads move and pulsate, and have a fluctuating waterline that drives the viewer’s attention. “The idea was first of all to get the messaging out there right away, but to do it with movement. And the contrast between the dark blue and then going to the bright white also is a wonderful way of grabbing attention,” adds Kiely.