Client: Castrol, Chevy, Speedstick, Codemasters etc.
My Role: Creative Director, Art Director
Budget: $10k - $500k+
Design Time: 1 Week - 2 Months+
Tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, PowerPoint & Visio
I loved the opportunity to create engaging ad campaigns for highly visible companies doing business in this fast-paced and competitive category.
During my tenure as Creative Director at CarDomain Network, we had the opportunity to function as a boutique advertising agency for some of the most visible auto-related companies in the world. We were engaged directly by the client as well as by their agencies of record.
My team also supplied creative solutions on a reduced scale for a whole host of smaller advertisers with commensurately smaller budgets, but we treated every single one with the same care and consideration.
My team worked with the Accounts Group and Engineering to identify and leverage revenue opportunties during a major redesign project for the site. It was also critically important to me that we did not compromise the user experience in pursuit of this goal and I think we were very successful.
Because we controlled all aspects of content and advertising on the site, we were able to craft innovative solutions that provided equal value to our community and our advertisers. On the most basic level, we might only create standard IAB ad units for display somewhere on the site. For bigger campaigns with greater time and budgets, we could create solutions that fully leveraged and integrated with the entire site and provided explicit rewards and value for our users. For example, we often came up with targeted contest campaigns that included destination micro-sites, custom groups, event sponsorships, blog entries, video uploads, rich media ad units both on and off site to drive traffic and many other mechanisms.
One of the most popular mechanisms we added to the site was a proprietary 990 pixel wide expandable ad unit near the top adjacent to an IAB standard 720x90px Leaderboard and 300x250 Medium Rectangle. When we combined this with background skinning on both sides of the site, we could create some very interesting peak-a-boo set-ups that enticed the user to find out what the complete image looked like when the top ad unit was fully expanded. It was like a puzzle and users loved opening the package to see what it all looked like.
When I started at CarDomain we seldom won RFPs worth more than $100k, but by the time I left when the company was sold, we regularly won campaigns with ad spends of half a million or more. We achieved this through creativity, innovation and effective alignment with strategic business objectives, brand positioning and market intelligence.
The CarDomain website served nearly half a billion ad units a month, but that only tells part of the success story. Our innovative campaigns leveraged all parts of the site, promoted discussions in the communiity and created many viral opportunities. We typically enjoyed click through (CTRs) and conversion rates well in excess of industry standard. Our CPM's were attractive and competitive across the board.