Last month, Ben Louie from wrote about a case study where he pitted a typical-looking display ad against a poorly-drawn ad created in Microsoft Paint.


He found the results hilarious, and we did too.

The Microsoft Paint ad outperformed the standard one, scoring a 0.137% CTR versus only a 0.049% CTR, when tested against each other at 15k impressions each.

Even small experiments like this can lead to valuable insights when comparing numbers from one ad to the next. The beauty of display is the immediate access to the data you need to inspire and inform your campaigns.

Maybe the reason the MS Paint ad performed better was because it created a sense of fun and whimsy, and evoked some nostalgia from the viewer. Meanwhile, the more typical ad was either intentionally or unintentionally ignored.

Since a gimmick like making ironic ads in MS Paint could never translate into a lasting media strategy, it's more important to focus on what worked here: the MS Paint ad stands out. Bad ads are a tax on your audience, while relevant and interesting ones create value for consumers, and even when that value is silliness factor, it turns into better engagement rates and impressions.

In his Ted Talk on Standing Out, Seth Godin argues, “When consumers have too many choices and too little time, the obvious thing to do is just ignore stuff.” 

“The thing thats gonna decide what gets talked about, what gets done, what gets changed, what gets purchased, what get built, it remarkable?”

What do you think?