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Using Tables Instead of Images for Emailed Logos

July 29th, 2010

I received an email today from Nike, and couldn’t work out why their logo was visible BEFORE I clicked “Accept Images”. I did a little poking around and someone over there is a genius. I’ve toyed with the idea of using an HTML table with cell background colors in place of simple images, but never actually implemented it in a commercial email. Nike pulled it off and it works like a charm. It took 11,034 characters to create, but that’s not really any more than a moderately sized JPEG. Here’s the HTML table image of the Nike logo:

I recommend poking around with Firebug to see the full glory of it. The outer div, and the <style> tag content is my own, to override the CSS style settings on this page.

For anyone who has absolutely what this is all about… Over half of all emails, when opened, do not display images by default. If you are a company, like Nike, and someone opens your email, you are forced into simply hoping that they will click a button or link labeled with something like “Display Images” in order for them to see the full glory of your emailed promotion, which may be a large photo of your new product, photos of sale items, or inspiring action shot of products in use. Simply having a recognizable (and presumably liked) logo visible when the email is first opened is probably enough to encourage a higher rate of people to select “Display Images”.

My hat is off to Nike’s email folks for this simple, but effective (and ingenious) little HTML hack. It made me click to see the images of the email, but I’m still not ready to pull the trigger and purchase a pair of Vaporjet cleats or a Hypercool athletic shirt.

Browsers, Web Code

  1. Bethany Garcia
    July 29th, 2010 at 11:33 | #1

    Nice to know our folks in NY are rock stars. As AOR for Nike, we were responsible for those emails, I believe.

  2. July 29th, 2010 at 12:10 | #2

    I hope it was RGA. Arch-frienemies of our former employer. Current employer of one Bethany Garcia, QA engineer extraordinaire.

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