Biggest Advert Online Draws Attention for More than just its Size

ACME Squares is the online advert that's so big, it needs 156 HD screens to view it.

Online PR News – 21-February-2011 – – ACME Squares is the online advert that's so big, it needs 156 HD screens to view it. Last week, UK designer Ryan Andrews completed the giant advert, where some pioneers had already arrived. The largest ad unit currently in use, was introduced 18 months ago by the Online Publishers Association. The 'XXL Box' measures 936 x 648 pixels. ACME Squares is a single continuous advertising space, of 24576 x 12288. That's over 300 megapixels. But it pushes boundaries far beyond great size.

This internet advert aspires to be internet art. And to be part of the experiment, Ryan is asking advertisers to take a small risk of $10…and a giant leap of faith to give up copyright over their ad creative. ACME Squares is published under the same Creative Commons licence as Wikipedia. This makes it free to copy and use for any purpose. For advertisers it's an unusual chance for self promotion, whilst enriching the creative commons.

“Content that's free from the copyright cage, naturally travels further and lives longer. For an advert that makes perfect yet perverse sense.” explained Ryan.

Anyone can enjoy the visual aspect, and many will appreciate the technical aspect too. Online advertising is typically opaque and proprietary. That's contrary to the strong web tradition of openness, and learning by example.

Visitors can bookmark and share 'deep links' to favourite locations on the page. Advertisers with interesting designs, will find visitors jumping to their advert directly, in turn promoting their brand and linked website.

The core technology in ACME Squares is Scaler Vector Graphics (SVG). An open format from the World Wide Web Consortium. Despite being around for a decade, it has been slow to enter mainstream use.
“Whilst researching the project, I encountered many vocal fans of SVG, though just as many had never heard of it. I love this web standard and it deserves to be used for something huge.”

The biggest advert online pushes technical boundaries, and development wasn't without setbacks.
“I hit technical problems immediately. Rendering vector graphics is mathematically intense, and the full advert is a browser crashing monster. Browser technology improves really fast these days, and I can improve ACME Squares as it does.”

“I have a confession to make. I really hate online advertising. Actually I block it so I don't have to hate it. It's conflicting that I ended up building a really big one.” admitted Ryan.

He concluded, “Ethical or altruistic advertising won't be the next big thing. It's a niche that's perhaps just big enough for the biggest advert online.”