A regular client was the pre-ebay auction site called “First Auction”. The ad concept was supposed to be that any old “joe” could get online and compete for some item up for auction. In order to represent the “ordinary” people First Auction was targeting, iTraffic decided to introduce characters by occupation. The banner presented each person as virtually competing with one another for some item up for auction. They each needed to look like a stereotypical everyman, and to do this iTraffic asked that we place a hat upon each head to make their occupation clear. The list of regular folk they compiled was a cop, a fireman, a doctor and… a landlord.
We drew up the characters and figured the respective hats their professions dictate they wear when in action are what makes them look like who they are supposed to be. The landlord, well… we just made him look “landlordy”: white, bald, there may have even been a cigar involved. We designed the banner, uploaded the comp to the client and were given one single revision:
“The banner looks great but the landlord isn’t clearly a landlord. Is there any way to make that more clear. Maybe can you put a landlord hat on the landlord?”
At that time, that made so sense as there was no such thing as a landlord hat. But apparently in the 25 years since… these are now landlord hats.