Consider Embedding Ads in Online Cartoons

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of taking part in the Professional Cartoonists' Organisation's biannual meeting. Like most content creators, cartoonists are struggling to adapt to how the Web is changing their livelihoods -- while also finding themselves increasingly marginalised by publishers focused on what they see as their core product: news.

As I've written previously, I think cartoons are massively overlooked in online news production. They have potential international appeal, are unique and -- importantly -- unlike text, when people redistribute it you can keep the advertising with it. So why don't newspapers embed advertising in cartoons?

They embed ads in video and audio, after all -- and video advertising is proving to be particularly successful for many newspapers.

Of course, there are obvious editorial and branding issues. I can't imagine an advert for high-class perfume next to an over-corpulent caricature of Gordon Brown. But that doesn't mean there aren't possibilities.

As one of the cartoonists pointed out, imagine the advertising potential next to golf cartoons. Now, imagine you positively encourage users to share that cartoon; help them embed it elsewhere, or personalise it.

Isn't that a market advertisers would want?

  • Paul Bradshaw

    Paul Bradshaw writes the Online Journalism Blog, and is a Senior Lecturer in Online Journalism, Magazines and New Media at Birmingham City University (formerly the University of Central England) Media Department (


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