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Microsoft’s Carolyn Everson “Banner Ads Stink”; Looks to Reinvent Display Ads

Microsoft’s Carolyn Everson has reached this conclusion: “banner ads stink.” With this in mind, she’s planning to reach out to a partner less familiar to software/media giant — the creative community — for help.

“We’ve to completely reinvent display advertising,” she said. “The digital industry faces [the] challenge [of convincing advertisers] that the Internet is a good place to build a brand. That’s why I want to reach out to creative community. That’s priority No. 1.”

She plans to bring up Kinect when her teams meet with creative execs. Not to simply suggest they advertise in Xbox games (though that’s certainly an option) — but to get creatives thinking about the possibilities of interactive media beyond static banners. “Kinect could influence what display is,” she said. “I want to create that same sort of enthusiasm.”

Besides display ads, Everson has identified several other areas of focus following her three-months-plus tour of Microsoft’s offices across the globe. First, research needs to improve. Second, video needs to be sorted out, in terms of how it’s sold. “Video is one of the fastest ways to get brands on board with Web,” she said. “But there’s a lack of clarity about how video fits in.”

Everson also wants to use Bing to further enhance MSN — by having users’ searches better inform what content they see featured on the site. “When a portal gets more relevant to you…that’s a power that we need to tap,” she said.


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