Copyranter: Let's make ads for the ad blockers

Mark Duffy has written the Copyranter blog for 10 years and is a freelancing copywriter with 20-plus years of experience. His hockey wrist shot is better than yours.

According to a recent worldwide survey, one in ten people downloaded an ad blocker in the last quarter of 2015. This trend has publishers scared shitless.


The whole fraudulent online advertising dynamic needs to change, because it sucks right now for all users and marketers (and agencies and ad creatives). The only people happy are the uncreative ad tech companies, but screw them.

Adblockers are free, so why would they need to advertise? Well, many people, especially over-40s, don’t fully understand ad blockers and what they do and they are scared of change. And this is a massive untapped demo. And one brand of adblocker is going to come out of this on top—the one that advertises the most (or at all).

OK, here are some rough layouts by a copywriter with zero design skills. I’ve used the blocker Adblock Plus for comping purposes:

photo via Duaij Allaho/Flickr.

Thanks to half-billion dollar ad budgets, the various insurance companies’ ad mascots/spokespeople are goddamn everywhere, all the time, online and off — try getting through a day without seeing one of them.


Despite being near bankruptcy, American Apparel is still one of the most ubiquitous online advertisers. Two years ago, this ad was everywhere. It started as a print ad in Vice, but when AA saw how much controversy it stirred up, they infected the Web with it. You can read their creative director’s dodgy rationale for the ad here.


The Lower My Bills troll face ads continue to be the most astonishingly idiotic and annoying online advertising ever created (See many of them here). This particular screaming psycho is my personal nightmare.


This iconic Cialis ad image has put a huge dent in outdoor tub sales (Ed.—please check if true). Even old people who take baths hate this image. And again, thanks to big ED pill ad budgets, women can’t help but stare at the crotches of handsome men of a certain age and wonder if their junk is broken.


You know what? Good for comedian/actress Stephanie Courtney getting her big break … but bad for the rest of the human race — though she doesn’t freak me out as much as Stepford Wife-like Toyota Jan.

Of course, all these concepts could be animated and turned into expandable banners, page takeovers, pre-rolls, etc., and placed on sites like Fox News, Huffington Post, New York Times, AARP, etc. But if you want to get serious about real growth, ad blockers, you must advertise.