1994: First banner ad appears on hotwired.com

To celebrate the Ad Club of New York's 120th anniversary, The Drum is inviting readers to share their favorite marketing moments from the past 120 years.

Hotwire.com ad

Today we feature the first-ever banner ad, which appeared on Wired magazine’s website hotwired.com on October 27, 1994, as our marketing moment.

It was an ad for AT&T that asked users “Have you ever clicked your mouse right HERE?” with an arrow pointing to text that read “YOU WILL.”

According to Joe McCambley, who helped create the ad, it was part of a larger AT&T campaign that focused on “futuristic technological wonders” like being able to talk to a friend via video on a phone or being able to borrow books from libraries thousands of miles away.

Once viewers clicked on the banner ad, they were directed to a tour of some of the world’s greatest museums.

Three years ago, in the Harvard Business Review, McCambley wrote about his experience creating the first banner ad:

“That first banner that Modem Media, the fledgling digital agency where I worked, built for AT&T, was helpful, and it was useful. At a time when people wondered what the Web was all about, it connected visitors of hotwired.com to a tour of seven of the world’s finest art museums. It demonstrated how AT&T could transport people through space and time via the Internet — just as AT&T had done 100 years earlier with the first long distance network. Of those who saw the ad, 44% clicked.”

See the full 120 Marketing Moments in the dedicated online section and find out how to purchase the exclusive book.

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