Ad Agency Revamps Craigslist Ads

Ad Agency Revamps Craigslist Ads

Need to add some punch to your online listing? This fun-loving group of agency folks has your back

Rachel Pincus
  • 15 august 2014

Craigslist is infamous for its spare look. Founded by Craig Newmark in 1995 as an email list and then a web-based service in the San Francisco, it took until 2000 before it even started expanding to other cities. Now, it’s considered an essential service, especially for newcomers to many cities. But even today, the site doesn’t seem to be aiming to impress, and perhaps it doesn’t have to. Aside from the interface interventions many designers have attempted, there’s now a group of feisty advertising creatives aiming to prove what a little actual marketing can do for the users of the site. Classify Advertising is a free, brand-new service put together by three young advertising creatives that aims to illustrate just what a difference engaging and professional ads can make.


The easiest place for such an intervention to start is at the visual. Craigslist, after all, is infamous for its unappealing photos, memorialized on websites like “You Suck at Craigslist.” Many of the items cluttering the venerable website only sell through the sheer mass audience they reach; rather famously, some just don’t seem to be worth the hassle of meeting a stranger from the internet. Co-founder and art director Pedro Sampaio gives an example of a used toaster as the type of product that needed their help. “A new one is already so cheap so why would people buy a used one. Bikes… have so many options and competition so how can we make a bike stand out in that list?”. He also admits an attraction to the most useless-seeming items: “We’re basically looking for challenges.”


Classify’s growing portfolio of projects include a used Fisher-Price camera designed for babies, a used couch, a toaster, and a bike helmet. “Basically we want to show that good marketing and advertising matters, and we’re having fun with our skill set too,” said Sampaio. The stylish “idea cards” included with each project indicate the precise angle of satire they were aiming for, which might not come through in the ultimately sales-oriented final product. This allows the team to laugh a little bit during the process while still delivering an effective final product.


They have been busy “pitching” their idea to Craigslist users, but hopefully the web form for requesting their work will soon get some use. Want to develop your skills and join the team? Apparently, Classify is also “hiring.



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