MUYO: The New Beyond the Banner

Beyond the banner has never been exclusive to rich media and interstitials, but we often forget that there are other options. And, as online users become more sophisticated with their faster computers and broadband connections, the options continue to grow. However, as advertisers, we simply aren’t taking advantage of online’s full potential.

That’s where MUYO comes in. If it’s not already out there, or BECAUSE it’s not already out there, then MUYO (Make Up Your Own). We are not always limited only to what the sites offer, and yet this is something we all know but often forget.

So how does one go about implementing MUYO? It’s very simple: Create your own ad size and even add a little HTML, DHTML (my favorite), or just keep it at GIF. Then approach the sites that best reach your target audience and match your campaign strategy, and see what it will take to have them run your creation.

You’d be surprised at how accommodating many sites can be in this volatile market. Placement and cost of the MUYO are negotiated, and you’re good to go.

Some examples of MUYO:

  • Your MUYO doesn’t have to be big. For branding campaigns, we’ve used DHTML to create a logo golf ball sitting atop a golf tee. Once the page is loaded, the user sees a club hit the golf ball and then sees the ball fly across the screen to end up in the top corner, where it resides until the user clicks away. The response was enormous!

  • Have the sites run a small strip (say, 300×30 pixels) that includes a question your target audience would be interested in (e.g., “Who do you still need to shop for this Christmas?”). Equip the ad with an HTML pull-down that offers answers to the question (e.g., “mom, dad, brother, sister, niece”) and a final option that mentions the advertiser’s name (e.g., “Someone who would like a gift from CoolChristmasGifts.com”). Yes, this can be done in a traditional banner, but the key is to make it look like it’s NOT a banner. The odd size is less likely to be browsed over by a banner-jaded visitor, and the overall impact will be greater.
  • Ask to buy square buttons that run diagonally across the page. They can be any size, but you will need enough to house your message. For example, you could have three simple nonanimating GIF files at 150×80 pixels each. For the first button, you show a billboard on the side of the road that reads “Need Auto Insurance?” The second button shows a second billboard that asks “Or Just a Better Rate?” The final billboard offers the payoff: “Get it at NothinButInsurance.com.” This is an example that can easily be converted from an animated banner ad or vice versa.

The benefits of MUYO ads are obvious. They stand out amid the clutter. The novelty keeps them fresh. It gives the press something new to write about.

So how do you get sites to accept your MUYO?

  • Keep it simple. By asking the sites to run something that takes minimal effort on their end, you will increase your chances of acceptance.

  • Avoid complicated or difficult rich-media technologies. If the site charges a premium to run it in banner format, chances are the site will not want to run it for a MUYO.
  • Expect a premium. You are asking for something extra, so expect to pay for it.
  • Smaller is easier. The DHTML example is great because it requires minimal change to the existing page layout.
  • Offer to have your PR agency write up a press release on the unique ad and to have the site name appear prominently in the article.

Web advertising, like the Internet itself, is limited only to our imaginations. Additional opportunities abound if you know where to look, what to ask, and how to use a little imagination. And, you never know, maybe your MUYO will take off and become an industry standard!

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