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Aug 30th 2012

AOL in the Running for Two Major Ad Awards

AOL's Hunger Games Premium Format ad campaign has been named a finalist in the 2012 international IAB MIXX Awards, sponsored by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The winners will be announced on October 2nd. The ad unit, launched in February to build momentum for the premiere of Hunger Games in March, is one of four finalists in the Single-IAB Standard Rich Media Display Ad and Single-Location-Based Advertising categories. The Devil ad showcases HD video assets, print-quality images and features the Moviefone showtime finder.

In addition, Live Better America, AOL's custom publishing platform built for General Mills that launched Aug. 2, has been nominated for a 2012 OMMA Award for Web Site Excellence in the Health & Wellness category. The OMMA Awards for Online Advertising Creativity recognize the year's most innovative and brilliant online advertising creative, campaigns and websites across 65 categories in three disciplines. Winners will be announced on October 1st.

The Live Better America brand lives across General Mills' www.livebetteramerica.com, AOL's LiveBetterAmerica.aol.com and Everyday Health's EveryDayHealth.com/LiveBetterAmerica and targets baby boomers. AOL's content taps into The Huffington Post's lifestyle content across multiple sections, including Travel, Healthy Living and HuffPost 50.

May the odds be ever in our favor!

Aug 2nd 2012

Three Powerhouses Unite Behind New Brand, Live Better America


Today three brand giants teamed up to launch Live Better America, a powerful new brand that will live across three platforms – General Mills, AOL and Everyday Health. Targeting one of the most powerful demographics in the world, Baby Boomers, Live Better America is a new lifestyle experience focused on helping them chart a course for the life they want.

For AOL, the launch showcases the power of our branded platform from a content, technology and audience perspective. With this launch we are showcasing our unique ability to move brands forward by delivering best-in-class content, and flawlessly syndicating that content across AOL and beyond via engaging editorial and advertising content, award-winning premium formats, our video network and even connected TV.

As this partnership has come to life our goal with General Mills and Everyday Health is to collectively deliver a highly compelling, consumer-centric experience. For AOL that means blending custom content, a community experience and social interaction in a way that creates an engaging consumer experience for Boomers. To that end, we will tap into The Huffington Post's vast array of lifestyle content across multiple sections, including Travel and Healthy Living. The program also takes full advantage of HuffPost's content management technology platform which will power the AOL experience, enabling us to publish branded content in real-time and maximize social engagement with the brand message. Huff Post 50 will also help build the right audience for the program.

And to Boomers who have searched far and wide for an online home - Live Better America is here to get you talking about your inspirations, passions, stories and the conversation will continue day after day!

(Janet Balis contributed to this blog post.)

Nov 4th 2011

Arianna Huffington Shares Her New Media Navigation Tips with General Mills


Arianna Huffington stopped by the General Mills offices to share her insights on the popularity of new media. During her presentation, Huffington discussed the importance of having an understanding of and appreciation for the motivations and desires of communicating in today's environment, and a deep awareness of your purpose.

Maerenn Jepsen, corporate public relations manager for General Mills, highlighted key takeaways from the presentation on General Mills' corporate blog, A Taste of General Mills:

"So what does it take to keep brands relevant in this evolving age of new media?

According to Huffington, it takes a keen understanding of and appreciation for the motivations and desires of communicating in today's environment, and a deep awareness of your purpose.

Among the many great insights during her remarks, here are the top five lessons that resonated the most with me:

1. Disconnect to reconnect.Huffington explained that as we embrace more and more technology, we run the risk of becoming too connected to new media and not connected enough to our own wisdom. She suggested finding time to disconnect with technology and getting enough sleep as critically important ways to keep your mind open and alert for great ideas. "When you are more connected to your own wisdom, you are more likely to see the things that need to be done in real time, verses in the rear view mirror," she said.

2. Self-expression = Today's entertainment. People today have unprecedented ways to express themselves online and many view digital self-expression as a form of entertainment. It's human nature to crave a reaction on what you are doing, feeling or thinking, she said, so it's natural that people are drawn to sites, tools and campaigns that allow them to receive an immediate reaction to their thoughts. Smart marketers will engage this desire for self-expression by inviting and encouraging conversations about topics that consumers are passionate about.

3. Blend the best of the old with the new. Huffington explained that Huffington Post is a "platform of tens of thousands of bloggers, but it's not a free-for-all. We wanted to bring together the best of the old with the best of the new. We wanted quality." For her, that meant having quality editors and journalists on staff, setting guidelines for content, and monitoring comments, but also encouraging rich conversations from passionate perspectives. She acknowledged General Mills' efforts to continue to tap into the strength of our iconic brands while developing new relationships through technology and said, "It's that combination [of blending old and new] that for me is the future."

4. Stay in the arena. While some marketers become concerned and remain silent after reading critical online conversations about their brands or opinions, Huffington emphasized the importance of staying in the arena and engaging your customers in a two-way conversation. "You cannot hide behind a glossy ad," she said. "It is no longer about presenting a certain appearance and moving on, because word of mouth is everywhere." She added that consumers don't just take news in, "we share it, we pass it on, we add to it, and that's one of the things we love. We love inviting people to participate."

5. Humor, humanity and purpose attract people. According to Huffington, people are drawn to content that hits on the trifecta of humor, humanity and purpose. They want to hear a funny, personal story. They want to share their thoughts on something about which they are passionate. They want to hear about the purpose behind a brand or a person, not see a graph of data. Huffington said that "inviting people to blog about whatever is their interest and their passion is the modern way of communicating."

To read more about Arianna's visit to General Mills, visit A Taste of General Mills.

(Photo courtesy of General Mills.)

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