iPod Touch (2010)
While I'm not thrilled awarding the two slots on this list to the same advertiser, it's hard to brush off the innovation and creativity in these units. Ignoring the traditional limitations of a banner, these incorporated the top third of the page and turned the entire thing into a part of the ad, which was revealed through a little visual trickery.
When loaded, these iPod Touch ads appeared to be the new larger ad units recently introduced by some publishers like YouTube and Wired, and they replicated the product demonstration method most were familiar with from iPod and iPhone commercials. However, as the hands began interacting with the iPod, the action quickly moved beyond the borders of the banner, making the top of the entire site tilt, twist, flip, and react to the action going on below. The result was so seamless, smooth, and non-intrusive that it quickly achieved a result typically reserved for memorable video -- it went viral. And, as we all know, word of mouth is the best advertising of all.
Each one of these executions defined the era in which they ran. Almost all of them set the bar for what could be achieved at the time, and most inspired others to create examples that emulated their evolution.
The question now becomes, "What's next?" My belief is that, with the proliferation of new types of consumption in the form of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, we're on the precipice of an entirely new level of interactivity and stickiness. I, for one, can't wait to see where we go.
Martin Betoni is creative director at Centro.
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