BEHOLD: The First Banner Ad Ever — From 1994

Joe McCambley

Photo: YouTube / Warren Meyer

Joe McCambley, co-founder of The Wonderfactory, a New York digital branding firm, reminded us this week in the Harvard Business Review that he was responsible for the best — and worst — online ad invention the internet has ever seen: The first ever banner ad.Since it first appeared in October 1994 to promote seven art museums, sponsored by AT&T, to the readers of, the banner ad has earned publishers billions of dollars in revenues.

Its ubiquity has also driven ad prices down to levels that have bankrupted dozens of old media companies, and web users largely revile them

Indeed, there’s an entire industry of digital agencies currently devoted to dreaming up ways of marketing on the net that don’t involve banners.

And yet it persists. (Business Insider = guilty!)

The first banner ad was made by Modem Media, a digital agency where McCambley worked, that was later acquired and folded into Digitas.

Of those who saw the ad, 44 per cent clicked, McCambley remembers. Here it is:

AT&T first banner ad Hotwired

Photo: HotWired

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