Surplus Direct - Joystick Advertising Campaign


Design an advertising campaign that promotes a free product to generate increased traffic to the corporate website.


This Campaign was the first of many "give away" promotions. The soul purpose of this free promotion was to help build a consumer base in the internet market. The key to a successful marketing plan is to offer a product that appeals to a broad consumer base. In selecting a product this marketing guide line was attributed in the selection process. As a common hardware requirement for most computer users the joystick was a natural selection.

During the advertising campaign we advertised on yahoo, GALT shareware zone, infoseek,, excite, 100 hot,,,, Publisher's clearing house, net buyer, and starting point. Throughout the advertising campaign we rotated which sites we used on a weekly rotation. This gave a brief, but accurate assessment of the traffic and click-through rates of each advertising provider.


The advertising scheme was primarily developed to highlight the product. It soon became clear that a successful advertising banner had to get in touch with the user directly. So I used sexual metaphor to heighten the stakes and increase the click rate. The success of the promotion helped to heighten the recognition of the company (Surplus Direct) and as a result it generated a considerable amount of revenue!

Robert's Thoughts

I went through three rounds of advertising banners on this campaign. The first were horrible, and progressively improved in retention and click-through by playing on human nature and improving the marketing message. This campaign was the start of many campaigns and they each became more and more successful. Because internet advertising was so new there was not any standards or rules of thumb to follow. So I spent time researching traditional marketing and advertising theory. I also spend time researching psychology and sociology studies on color theory and billboards of the 1940es to the 1960es. The other advantage to improving advertising was the fact that we had great up to the minute tracking of user click through. Changing the marketing message on a banner or the color scheme had a dramatic impact on the click through. rate. (A technique that most major advertising firms seem to lack follow through on).

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