As a reader of the Los Angeles Times, I read a refreshing piece Online Advertisers are Monkeying Around Less that satisfies both Greg Imlay as consumer and Greg Imlay as marketing communications pro.

Dan Neal on October 27, 2009, indicates that web properties are increasingly saying “back to the jungle” to ads featuring dancing monkeys, pop-up moles and other annoying graphics.

“Premium publishers are becoming a lot more discriminating about the quality of ads allowed on their sites,” says Nicole Jordan, spokeswoman for the Rubicon Project, which handles about 45 billion ads per month as part of its ad optimization service. (“Premium” publishers are name-equity operations such as the New York Times,, Wall Street Journal, Esquire, etc.)

Thank God! I have been wondering to myself how those ads could possibly help the image of an on-line publication. I seriously doubt that they paid off well, either. In a pay-per-click world, the fact that publishers weren’t willing to keep these questionable abominations flashing over their quality content hints that they weren’t getting much for them anyway – except complaints!

Good Creative Counts

Neal continues:

Another factor: the growing recognition that “creative” — shorthand for the imaginative and entertaining part of advertising — actually counts for something.

A recent study by online ad researchers Dynamic Logic suggests that despite all the frantic metricizing of ad performance — the eyeballs, the click-throughs, the behavioral marketing that drives ads for, say, coffin nails to the coffin makers — the most effective ads are entertaining, memorable, engaging and well-crafted.

Does this Apply at a Local Level?

Going from the world wide web, to the gritty streets of LA’s San Fernando Valley, a different battle of obnoxious ads is being played out. In this, small, portable billboards mounted on trailers better used for fishing boats are parked on any open stretch of road. The problem is, residents hate them. Councilman Dennis Zine claims these garner more complaints from constituents than graffiti and cracked sidewalks – and that’s saying alot! The Los Angeles City Council contends that the billboards violate local codes, but one of the most aggressive advertisers argues the opposite.

The Daily News, chronicles the latest twist in the legal wrangling while also reflecting the anger of residents who object to the signs obstructing the view of drivers and thrusting cheesy graphics into the already chaotic jumble that is the “street scene” of LA suburbia.

Given the grief that these street-level advertisers are suffering – not to mention the graffiti on the ads themselves – the fact that businesses are pushing so hard to hold on to their stretch of road must mean some measure of ROI. I’ll bet a pet money that they are losing any chance of gaining the potential customers aggravated by their chosen medium.

I say, enough with the monkeys and rolling billboards. Explain your key selling point in marketing that grabs attention, and gains a share of your audience’s memory for good reasons, not for groans.