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The Magestic Splendor of Online Advertising! or some damn thing like that.

Random Whimsy: Successful Internet ventures
by Mark Woodruff, Special to

A lot of high-falootin', smarty-pants Internet minds are out there right now envisioning intricate combinations of technology, strategy and markets that -- when cooked properly -- ultimately will generate the next colossal Internet ventures certain to waggle the planet from its very axis. Ever heard of ebay? Yahoo!? Well, you should be made aware that each of the aforementioned Web sites likely has been visited by more than a handful of these brainy, renegade e-thinkers who I like to call: e-thinkers.

Early in the concepting phases of their Internet business ventures, these radical e-geniuses (a.k.a., e-thinkers) often are solitary in their profound understanding of how all the puzzle pieces will some day harmoniously fuse and form an exquisite and successful Internet business venture. Chatting amiably with one of them at the Friday cocktail hour, you try to listen intently as he gestures wildly with his hands and energetically spouts on and on about his unique little pet Internet business concoction.

But, even well before your third margarita kicks in and you begin to significantly embellish the high-jump record you set in eighth grade track, you are listening to his seriously involved story and begging your God to keep you from uttering an audible, "Huh?" You, yes you -- the one who used to be able to crack the first two rows (two rows!) of Rubik's Cube in fewer than 45 minutes -- are in waaay over your head trying to comprehend this conversation. "Befuddled" doesn't do justice to your complete stupefaction. Damn! You intended to pay close attention and now you can't even remember this guy's name. Like an idiot, there you are nodding thoughtfully, arms crossed and eyes squinting just the right amount to feign deep thought. But, what you're really thinking, is: "How in the HELL are the indiscriminate pieces of this guy's snarled Internet venture ever going to turn into a legitimate business? And when can I make it back to the buffet table to get some more of those little bitty egg roll thingies?"

Shame, shame. You should listen closely to what Mr. Internet Business Venture Man is telling you. He speaks a special language that, just your luck, I also happen to speak quite fluently. Oh yes, my little friends, don't be so naive to think that my not-altogether-unshabby noggin isn't also brewing up some pretty meaningful Internet business venture crap that will blow the entire online advertising industry onto its stunned little fanny.

Oh? I've captured your interest, have I? OK. Here's MY little idea. Try to stay with me on this one.

    - Let's start by creating a mega-portal site for venture capitalists exclusively seeking to fund extremely niche-market online publication startups. Still with me? Good.

    - Next, acquire a rock-solid Internet strategy consultancy firm, toss out the entire senior management team and hire the fresh, unspoiled, creative brilliance of junior-college sophomores. (Yes! Sophomores. Trust me on this ... they are like the super-smart king/gods of their respective campuses because they are no longer -- ugh! -- freshmen.) Are you following me? Great!

    - Finally, retain the services of a multi-lingual market research firm with strong ties to the American Canned Goods Association (everyone uses canned goods) and get them to organize a big-ass car wash and then use the proceeds to buy stock in phonographic needle companies and then blah, blah, blah.
OK, so that idea was going nowhere. Quite frankly, I honestly didn't think anyone would read this far. But, it does go to show how the creative process can be used to develop sizzling (Whoo! Ouch!) ideas for award-winning banners. Your mind is probably swimming with kooky images from reading all that zany, quirky stuff, am I right? Don't think about elephants. Again, DON'T THINK ABOUT ELEPHANTS! You're thinking about elephants, am I right? Ha!

Act quickly because you are in a unique metaphysical state right now (no, not Wisconsin). The blood flow to your brain is at a frighteningly unprecedented high. Use this opportunity to capture some fabulous ideas for ad banners that will change your career-dare I say, your life?-forever. Can't find a pen and paper? Dammit, grab your keys and scratch those ad banner treasures into the hood of your Ford Explorer. You'll thank me later. Your BOSS will thank YOU later, "Mr. vice-president-of-something- really-good-where-ever-the-hell-you-work." Ah, I can just see that title on your door right now.

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