In an attempt to improve upon the paltry click-through rates on most banner ads, USA Network recently rolled out a banner promoting the show White Collar, asking users to play a game on The New York Times‘s home page (iPad only).
The ad, created by Glow Interactive, features a small “scanner” screen, which, when dragged over Times‘ homepage, revealed hidden ciphers and keywords. When all were found, the user was treated to a “bonus video” hyping the show’s second season premiere earlier this month.
This isn’t the first time that The New York Times has allowed its home page to be overrun with interactive banners. In 2009, the “Mac” and “PC” from Apple’s long-running campaign conversed with an actor in a fake ad across the page. Like the USA banner, it’s cute, but may be a bit off contextually. In the demo above, for instance, the game interacts with a story about suspected mass murderer Jared Loughner — hardly the sort of topic any brand wants to be seen making light of.