Thursday, January 17, 2008

Anatomy of a web ad.

NY Times is running Apple's famous "Mac vs. PC" ads on its front page. Unlike the normal ads which are normally contained within a single rectangular region or an iFrame, these consist of TWO images - one in a horizontal banner on top of the page, and the other is in the rectangular block on the right side.

None of this would of course be worth writing about, except for the fact that the animated figure moves from the lower right box into the upper banner.

I was puzzled how one might do it, given the content isolation principles that guide web pages - a content of one frame has no access to the content of another frame, nor to the content of the parent. So I started poking around the content of the page.

The answer becomes obvious if you right-click inside the banner, around the middle, and select Zoom In, while the ad is playing.

The ad LOOKS like this, of course:

But the real composition is this, with the borders of the banner simply being just drawn on the right part of the ad:

Clever. I remember people were saying that Apple lost the PC wars not because MSFT had a superior product, but because Microsoft had better marketing. Bollocks! as Creedy used to say...

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