Banner ads are 20 years old today, meet its siblings astroturfing & vine-ads

Wow, time flies when you're watching ads. We were here for the banner ads tenth birthday, and we celebrated the 15th birthday as well, and now banners are all grown up, 20 years old today.

Otto Timmons told us this about the banner ad above, which was one of the first banner ads ever and ran on Hotwired in 1994.

Although we had the most popular ad on Hotwired (according to Brian and Matt...) there were at least five or six other banner ads that launched at the same time and they too should get credit for being "first". I can remember Club Med, AT&T, ZIMA. Last but not least, O'Reilly's Global Network Navigator, GNN, started accepting paid advertising at the same time (one banner ad on the home page, as I recall)

Zima? Oh my goodness, remember Zima ads? Rooftop BBQ, What if there was no beer?, evening of culture, that cheesy bar pickup? Banner ads have officially outlasted Zima, by the way.

These days online advertising has gotten sneakier, as the consumer has forever been in an arms race against spam and banners ads, with filters, whitelists and adblocks. Not to mention, astroturfers.

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Ben Hossel's picture

I can see the appeal of ads on Instagram, but not so much Vine. Too much comedic pollution, if that makes sense. Video has come a long way, though I think banner ads (high quality ones, like Abstract Banners from Airpush, etc.) have key advantages over video, especially when relevant and well-targeted.