Tattooed baby

Tattooed baby logo


Let’s face it, banners (a.k.a. online display advertising) are at a crossroads. Their reputation is in tatters and the numbers don’t look good either. It seems like the last twenty years has been one long downward spiral and with the advent of mobile marketing what will happen to the sidelined little flashing boxes that no one cares about any more?
Well, it’s time for a rethink, let’s rebrand them and in doing so take all their best bits, put them in a compendium, a helpful handbook if you will, and inject some creative motivation to help the Gen Y creatives coming through with the basics and the fundamentals. Let’s create a new ‘also known as’ alias to encapsulate all of this; The Tattooed Baby.

Tattooed Baby is all about the propagation of effective onscreen display advertising. It is a collection of 150 insights split across 15 process oriented chapters, at least 5 insights per chapter and every insight written under 140 characters because a Tattooed Baby should always be short and sweet for today’s short and sweet attention span.

This handbook is about sharing the discipline of using art and code and word economy to tell stories through tiny letterboxes smaller than the size of a classified newspaper ad. It’s about learning to do more with less. Less pixels, less frames, less words, less time, less k size. And these moments can be even more direct than direct mail. Fundamentally, the art of telling big stories in small spaces boils down to following Abram Games’ original philosophy of deriving “maximum meaning” from “minimum means”.

Art + story + way finding + teleportation = A Tattooed Baby

The aim of this book is to lift the overall quality of output for all. To try and rid the world of poor, forgettable advertising by sharing best practices learned over fifteen years of professional experience, one pixel at a time.

It’s a big, little handbook to help students, as well as professionals, who want to increase their success in onscreen display advertising throughout it’s lifecycle, as part of a wider digital or integrated marketing communications strategy. If you can tell a story in ODA you can tell it anywhere. Small will always scale up.

The Audience

Tattooed Baby can provide a comprehensive introduction to this aspect of digital marketing as an educational piece for an undergraduate, a graduate or intern studying or practicing advertising, marketing, even design or user experience. The strong educational aspect to this book is the result of sharing the fundamentals and common sense from 15 years of insider knowledge on how to create consistently effective work in this channel. It is as much about a creator’s deeper mindset and attitude as it is about knowing exactly why this channel exists and will always be a suitable and relevant means to reach a potential audience through outbound marketing.

Reading it will allow a young mind to avoid basic errors by knowing the right way to do things, how ideas work in this channel and how fast moving we turn them around. They’ll learn the key value add moments, even knowing when and where their lives will get harder and of course how to think their way out of any trouble they find themselves in.

For experienced professionals Tattooed Baby can still provide value and serve a real purpose, particularly in it’s format of 150 individual common sense reminders to keep their tools sharp and discover useful shortcuts to quicken up their processes. The insights are designed to release the seasoned professional from disruption and resistance to spend more time creating great work and less time managing the peripheral elements and bureaucracy.

Above all, Tattooed Baby is there as a reminder to us all to breed a motivated attitude in ourselves and inspire our teams to realign the perceived value of not just how creative we can be in these small spaces but how wonderful it feels to witness them and engage with them as an audience.

CHAPTER 1 - Why ODA is cool

Yes, ODA has small beginnings but never under estimate a live and connected shape shifter with intelligence. This chapter is a celebration of the combined value created by the infinite multifunctional qualities of ODA. It is a chance to learn integration from the perspective of it's smallest cog.

CHAPTER 2 - The responsibility of ODA

Because Tattooed Babies hold a unique position in connecting and even redirecting economic and social interest, they are ambassadors for the businesses who fund them. During their short lives in the limelight they walk a tightrope between the pressure to attract positive attention and the caution against over familiarity amongst their highly targeted audiences. This chapter aims to move our mentality forward away from the perception that ODA is just meaningless broadcast 'pollution' to the understanding that they are merely tiny beginnings in a more intimate dialogue-driven exchange between you and the brand.

CHAPTER 3 - Respect the audience

Respect is the greatest currency of all. Gaining trust and permission are the holy grail of online exchanges in outbound marketing. This chapter aims to help you avoid basic errors towards your audience by becoming aware they exist in the first place. You'll know where to focus your attention and especially where not to take things for granted. Above all don't waste people's precious time.

CHAPTER 4 - Where to begin

This chapter is about breeding a motivated attitude towards the creative potential of ODA from the initial briefing stage and taking that energy forwards into shaping the crucial embryonic stages of a Tattooed Baby's early life. It covers what integration on the ground looks like and the right way to do things to get the best results. From team structures to the optimum compositions in the formats you're working with. You'll know where to begin and how to begin.

CHAPTER 5 - The Media Agency

This chapter aims to help you realise the full potential of your Tattooed Baby when it's appropriately placed and effectively targeted. You'll find out how media intelligence can help you make key strategic decisions earlier in the process. You'll learn more than just the basics, you'll be more aware of where the possibilities can arise across the entire media spectrum.

CHAPTER 6 - The Process

There is a methodology to most creative arts and making Tattooed Babies is no different. Of course there is a spark, that bit of talent we can't describe but knowing the steps to take to produce effective work will give you and your story and advantage out there in front of the audience. This chapter points out key value add moments which allow you to know what's required of you and your work in those instances. It will cover off 'swerving' the obstacles in your path, how to understand a budget's breakdown, how to make it go further, being clear on interims and sign off, particularly getting work ready for a client to understand and sign off.

CHAPTER 7 - The Brand

There are three ways to deploy Tattooed Babies with regard to brand strategy. The first and most obvious one is to stimulate click through and then convert the prospect elsewhere in a more controlled environment. The second and more polite approach is to keep the audience where they are for a brief tactical experience inside the expanded unit. The third and final route in is to bow to the original purpose of the channel in expelling brand equity through great, short storytelling. This chapter shows how brands live and often thrive within the requirements of the channel when we realise the value of context and timing in relation to the placement and transmission of each targeted ad impression. There are also warnings with regard to how over-targeting can trigger privacy concerns and ways to be mindful to current cultural attitudes to privacy.

CHAPTER 8 - Your skills

Knowing why attention-to-detail and a sense of humour have the ability to be the difference between good and great are just two of the essential skills of an ODA marketer. This chapter aims to give you a broader understanding of all the skill sets required to make outstanding Tattooed Babies. You will learn how to consistently think up great ODA solutions and be articulate in the best suite of formats out there to manifest your ideas. It will show you how to innovate in this tight space by creating relevant work from the perspective of the audience which has powerful results.

CHAPTER 9 - Catch the eye

Catching someone's eye in amongst our information rich arenas requires a certain etiquette and consideration towards your audience. This chapter encourages a better understanding of the audience's mind state when either casually browsing or in a more direct seeking orientation. These insights will help you learn how different audiences are more receptive to certain executions and how best to match them up. Amongst other things, it also covers the role frequency plays in persuasion whilst consideration amongst your audience takes place over the longer term of a campaign's life.

CHAPTER 10 - Hold Attention

Once you get it you must hold the audience's attention long enough for your message to be read and understood. In this chapter you will learn techniques and functions within storytelling which keep an audience captive. Simple things like knowing the optimum amount of information to expose the audience to by respecting the lowering attention spans, slower readers and paying attention to accessibility as much as brand visual identity. It also covers more complex aspects such as planning the entire user journey against your audience's needs and goals so if you are running a click through campaign, the destination is as engaging as the Tattooed Baby was.

CHAPTER 11 - Encourage Interaction

This chapter is all about finding simple ways to increase interaction rates, open rates and of course click through rates. It's a collection of principles on how best to focus your attention and efforts in persuading an audience to take that first step towards becoming potential customers. It's all about how and why to avoid complexity at all levels.

CHAPTER 12 - Into Production

This comprehensive chapter will help you learn how to effectively mange a project successfully through the production stage and onto the live staging server. Know the right ways to organise the production team to get the job done to the appropriate standard. Have an organised approach to project management where production tasks are tamed and regimented. Know when and how to hold production catch ups, interims and sign offs with stakeholders. Discover who the key members of your production team are and find out the best ways to deploy them. Know how best to get the most out of the design phase and how best to manage change requests. Learn how to embed intelligence into your ODA and how to manage that data when it is reported back.

CHAPTER 13 - Watch Outs

This chapter will show how to maintain a high standard of work across your campaign from concept to delivery. Cold stark facts that really matter. Warnings about aiming too high and how to have healthy, realistic ambitions. Learn how to motivate and mobilise yourself and your team when there are tough moments. It also gives advice about what training to take to improve your skills and make better Tattooed Babies.

CHAPTER 14 - Best Practice

This chapter is all about fundamental basics and common sense. Following the right philosophy for an educated ODA audience of today. To really understand the flexibility and multifaceted qualities of the channel on its own and as part of a wider integrated campaign.

CHAPTER 15 - The Formats

This chapter will no longer present insights as previous chapters have, it will present the facts and the figures of the most popular formats approved by the IAB. It is essentially a simplified format dictionary with helpful comments beside each entry.

About The Author

Stuart Wilson was born in 1972 in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Educated at Cumbria College of Art & Design, Carlisle and University of Westminster, London, he started his career as a digital creative at the fledgling AKQA in Jermyn Street, London.

He went on from there, via US digital marketing agency Modemmedia, into the new media model of digital-direct at agency TBWA\GGT in London’s Soho.

Since then, the last ten years have been expressed as an Integrated Creative Lead, the most recent spell being as Creative Director inside the London office of global advertising network JWT, one of the world’s best-known marketing communications brands.

Tattooed Baby - The art of telling big stories in small spaces
© 2012 Stuart J Wilson -