Some years ago when Chopping Block was just a baby… about 95% of all the work we did was either Tor Books dust jacket designs or web banner ads for iTraffic. We would pretty much clear about 4-6 banner campaigns a week and some of the best feedback for revisions EVER would come from this work. It was eternally frustrating to work for the better part of your days on a single image that was about 468×60 and had to come in under 8k as a rule. Added to the mix was any given client’s insistence that you had to animate the shit out of every concept which would immediately bloat the file size to 9k with the addition of frame #2.
To better understand this request, I feel the need to explain the banner concept. It was for a pre-ebay auction site called “First Auction” and the idea was to get people to go to the site and buy things. I know that sounds unusual for a banner ad to try and sell you shit, but stay with me here… The concept was that any old “joe” could get online and compete for some item up for auction. Remember back around ’96, the only people who participated in auctions were those who drink tea with their pinky up. So in order to represent the “ordinary” people First Auction was targeting, iTraffic decided to introduce characters by occupation. The banner presented each person as virtually competing with one another for some item up for auction. To make them look like these stereotypical everymen, iTraffic asked that we place a hat upon each head to make their occupation clear. The list of regular folk they compiled was a cop, a fireman, a doctor and a landlord.
We drew up the characters and figured the respective hats their professions dictate they wear when in action are what makes them look like who they are supposed to be. The landlord, well… we just made him look “landlordy”: white, bald, there may have even been a cigar involved. We designed the banner, included the sell line and added the ever effective call to action, “click here”. We uploaded the comp to the client and were given one single revision:
“The banner looks great but the landlord isn’t clearly a landlord. Is there any way to make that more clear. Maybe can you put a landlord hat on the landlord?”
And with that, client feedback history was made. The line has even made its way around the web. If you do a search for “landlord hat” on google you get a few places that mention it.