Kargo is mobile brand advertising company that translates big ideas to small screens. As Director of Ad Design & Innovation, I oversaw production of hundreds of mobile campaigns, ensuring that that each ad creative reflected Kargo’s commitment to “art in ad tech.”
director of ad design & innovation / kargo, 2013–2018
case study: spotlight ad format
In addition to executing mobile campaigns such as the ones featured above, I regularly collaborated with Kargo’s Ad Product team on ideation, prototyping, and development of new ad formats. “Spotlight” was one of my favorite projects, and continues to drive a significant amount of revenue for the company.
With Spotlight, we set out to achieve the following goals:
Reduce dependency on third party platforms.
Create demand for the excess supply of middle banner inventory.
Make the ad as templated as possible to automate production and drive scale.
Make the ad lightweight to reduce latency upon load.
The first iteration consisted of one full-screen image, masked by a cutout 250px in height. The viewport would move as the user scrolled, revealing segments of the larger image:
Spotlight 1.0 posed a couple of challenges. First, how do we lay out the elements so that the ad makes sense when revealed from the bottom up? (Should the CTA be positioned at the top of the ad, so it’s the last thing the user sees upon scrolling?) Second, how do we ensure that key elements, such as logo and legal copy, are always in view?
For the second iteration (left), we pulled out the messaging, logo and CTA as a transparent PNG to be layered over the full-screen image. This way, critical brand elements persist in the foreground; always in view regardless of user scrolling.
We launched Spotlight 2.0 and it was well-received by advertisers and publishers alike: publishers were pleased with its non-intrusive nature (perfect for an editorial environment), and advertisers liked that the format had a parallax-feel to it, without requiring any custom assets or animation.
About a year later, I had moved into management and was itching for some creative work. I decided to revisit Spotlight and experiment with more interesting, less templated executions:
By playing with positive and negative space using the foreground image, I was able to give the illusion of depth while still using only two static images. While this version of Spotlight was less turnkey than the previous, it created far more opportunities for delight. In an industry where everyone is obsessed with “scale,” I always found custom executions to be more compelling.
My self-initiated mocks rekindled sales of Spotlight units, and found their way into countless proposals.
When it comes to mobile advertising, it’s rare to have someone pause and appreciate an ad. So when that happens, you know you’re doing something right.