UPDATED 14:45 EST / MARCH 10 2009

The OPA Wants a Renaissance, They Won’t Get It

The Online Publishers Association have released a new set of standards that they hope will not only supplant the banner ad, but will set into motion what they’re calling a “a renaissance of creative advertising on the Internet that meets the needs of marketers by better integrating their messages into the fabric of the Web.”

Moving past the marketing jargon, what they’re really hoping to defeat is the eternal ad blindness that users have developed and publishers, marketers and advertisers suffer from.

They’ve introduced three new ad types that The Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson showed off today.

Click through below the jump for more, and our angle.


It’s a pretty swell thought, and I applaud the effort, but I don’t think it’s going to have the long term lasting effect that they’re hoping for.

The problem goes beyond what is essentially the shape of the ad, and redefining those standards. They must engage the user in a conversation or significant activity. Not all ads, products or services are suited for that.

The publishers joining in on this initiative are of the size that they could already accomplish this with the ad unit sizes they’re already using, or engineering their site to be a little less one way.  CNN and MTV, two publishers on this list, are already doing interesting things with their content and experimenting with new ways to reach their audience. Most, though, aren’t looking for ways to engage their users with their content.

The New York Times, MSNBC, Bloomberg – these publications aren’t building communities, they’re just producing wholesale content. That’s still a valuable thing, but there needs to be an effort to grow a community which converses internally around that content.

If a publisher can accomplish that, it doesn’t matter what sort of dimensions an ad has – if it’s well targeted and geared towards engaging that community, the product will hit the mark.

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