If you’re like me and you check ESPN.com frequently for scores, you probably have encountered a new banner ad from Apple displaying the features of the iPod touch. It’s a creative, interactive ad that blends in with ESPN’s home page and is pretty hard to miss.
Brian Gainor of the Partnership Activation Blog called it “one of the most innovative and effective banner ad campaigns in the online sports space to date.”
While I love Brian’s blog, I have to say I kinda disagree with him on this one. Sure, maybe the ads get noticed and they are pretty creative, but I also find them incredibly intrusive and annoying when all I want to is catch some scores from the Big East Tournament. If you load ESPN’s home page, you will find that the ad actually prevents you from clicking on certain links for several seconds. To me, no web site should tolerate any banner ad that degrades the surfing experience for users. A banner ad like this one is no better than a pop-up ad, and may even be worse because there is no way to block it.