Via Organic's ThreeMinds blog, a German car rental company found a way to make their text ads stand out by turning them into ASCII art - the old-school method of creating pictures based on standard text characters.
This is brilliant for its creativity. Three thoughts:
1) Google won't allow this for the long haul. This should be relatively easy to flag. It's one of those campaigns you can only get away with so often. Though I wouldn't be surprised if a florist tried the classic rose ---'--,--@ or something of the sort soon.
2) The case study on BannerBlog mentions a 47% increase in the click-through rate. Great, but what did it do for conversions?
3) This is an interesting precursor for when Google expectedly experiments with images in the search ads. It's a tricky situation to manage, but expect the engines to test this out soon.
One aside: ThreeMinds is one of my favorite blogs to find interesting examples that I don't see everywhere else. Great work.