12 Types of TV Ads, and 8 Types of Web Banners

As it turns out, according to Donald Gunn, the creative director at Leo Burnett advertising agency, there are 12 types of ads.

  1. Demo. Example: Apple iPhone commercials
  2. Show Need or Problem. Example: Those annoying Cingular ads where the voice drops out making what would have been a normal conversation terribly awkward.
  3. Symbol, Analogy, Exaggeration. The product solves a problem. Example: Theraflu ogre ad.
  4. Comparison. Example: Charles Schwab posterized ads.
  5. Exemplary Story. Example: The VW commercials where the people in the car are just chatting it up and, then out of nowhere, boom! Crash.
  6. Benefit Causes Story. Example: the Lynx ad. Probably the funnies ad of the lot, both for men and women – it’s so far fetched. It’s amazing what one can get away with in the name of comedy. Watch this one if nothing else.
  7. Tell it. Example: UPS ad with man who needs a haircut drawing on a whiteboard.
  8. On Going Characters and Celebrities. Example: Subway, Mercury, Geico, Energizer Bunny, etc.
  9. Symbol, Analogy, Exaggeration. This time, instead of showing how the product solves a problem, the technique demonstrates a benefit of the product. Example: Starbucks, Metamucil, etc.
  10. Associated User Imagery. This is all about connecting the product to the type of person the advertiser thinks would be using the product. Hoping for identification. Example: Nike.
  11. Unique Personality Property. Example: Dyson Vacuums.
  12. Parody of Borrowed Format. I love this format. Basically, make fun of something popular and then stick your logo at the end. Brilliant. Example: Reality TV – Geico.

That was fun, I am sure many of you enjoyed it as much as the next person. I can think of a couple of other types that were missed. Such as the ones that leave you hanging and puzzled with out a concrete message or a call to action. What are those called?

Anyway, what’s the overlap between these formats and online advertising?

While we all know that there are many forms of online advertising, such as pay-per-lead, email, search engine keywords, adwords, etc – this next part only includes banner advertising.

Banner Advertising Classification:

  1. Irritate the Hell Out of People by Making the Screen Shake. You’ve seen it. Mortgage companies love this tactic. Think right-hand column empire ads in Hotmail.
  2. Whack-a-mole. Enough said. The point is to get people to click, right?
  3. TV ad on the web. Very popular on sites like Yahoo! and Literally, the ad space looks like a mini made-for-television ad.
  4. Full Page Takeover. Where the entire background of the website is leased out to an advertiser. If you want to check this out, go to and keep refreshing the screen until you see it.
  5. Traditional. Simple typography, imagery, message, and call to action. An all time classic.
  6. “Whoa, did you see that?” rich media. Very amazing, high impact ads that stay contained in their space until the user mouse over them – at which point, the ad “unfolds” on the page overtop the page’s content, and a rich media experience is delivered. They are expensive to produce and expensive to run. But effective as hell.
  7. Chameleon. The ads that look like content on the site. Trickery!
  8. Buttons. These I don’t understand. The space is sold, and people click on them, otherwise they wouldn’t exist, right? Come on!

Ok, that’s all I have time for. I know I am missing some obvious ones, so please help me complete this list.

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