AOL takes great pride in being a company who's in the business of helping people and AOLer Janet Balis saw this first-hand when AOL stood behind her and Cycle for Survival, raising money for cancer research. Janet's close friend Jennifer Goodman Linn founded the charity in 2007 and in the years that followed, grew the effort to become one of the fastest growing non-profits in the country, raising over $18 million. As she writes on HuffPost Impact:
I wanted to introduce this important cause to my new home at AOL. The response was overwhelming and very touching, particularly in the year which would be our first time ever cycling without Jen, who lost her battle with a rare cancer called Sarcoma in July 2011. In that emotional moment, I suddenly felt like I was very much part of a team. The corporate cause team sprung into action to spread the word. An AOL sales executive decided that he not only wanted to start a team in Detroit, but that he would do it as a satellite experience since there was not even an Equinox location there for the spinning class. Across the company, I marveled as people sprung into action -- this truly was a place that did what it said.
AOL's Janet Balis with Cycle for Survival Founders Dave and Jennifer Linn
Team "AOL+HuffPost: Cycle for Impact" has a goal to double their impact from last year and raise $100,000. To help the team reach its goal, click here.
On Tuesday, AOL was excited to be part of our first-ever Digital Content NewFront. In front of a crowd of hundreds of guests including digital marketers, agency representatives and friends of AOL, we presented new offerings and original programming from AOL Video, and the latest innovations from The Huffington Postscheduled to debut later this year, including the launches of "Huffington.", a new iPad magazine app, the Huffington Post Streaming Network and "GPS For The Soul", an iPad app designed to sense your tension level and provide you the right content to lift your mood.
We wanted our NewFront experience to be unique, so we decided to do things a little differently. Splitting the audience into two groups, we created separate experiences for the first half hour, with each panel repeating for the other audience after the half hour was up and the groups switched.
Experience #1, kicked off by AOL's SVP and Head of Sales Jim Norton and led by Janet Balis, SVP & Head of Sales Strategy, was called Powering Ideas, and explored the ways that digital is at a crossroads, and AOL is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this opportunity. Janet shared how AOL builds valuable partnerships to drive results that can move clients' brands forward. Janet took a look back at the content behind Powering Ideas in a post from earlier this morning.
Experience #2 was called Powering Brands, and focused on how AOL is powered by its amazing collection of brands.
After an introduction by AOL Chief Revenue Officer and President of AOL Advertising Ned Brody, Jim Stengel, former Chief Marketing Officer of Procter and Gamble, member of the AOL Board of Directors, and author of "Grow", led a conversation about brand ideals that featured AOL and Huffington Post Editors Michael Hogan (Entertainment), Susan Kaplow (Life and Style), David Kiley (Autos), Christina Norman (Black Voices) and Tim Stevens (Engadget). The editors explained the power and value of brands created through their content.
Next up in Experience #2, Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post Media Group, gave an update on the growth of the Huffington Post, and highlighted 4 new Huffington Post product launches:
Huffington. - A new magazine app that takes the best of the Huffington Post and presents them in the perfect mobile setting.
HuffPost Streaming Network - a 24/7 livestreaming network that will combine Huffington Post's editorial philosophy and strong community into a uniquely social video experience
GPS for the Soul - an app that will measure your stress level and connect you to content that you need to "restore your balance".
Causes - connecting the Huffington Post community brands to help drive awareness of what really matters, through programs like Global Motherhood, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson.
In the final session, led by AOL CEO and Chairman, Tim Armstrong, we introduced The AOL On Network, a new video platform that offers premium content across 14 content channels including food, business, entertainment, style, tech, travel, health and others, and reaches nearly 57 million U.S. consumers.* Read more about The AOL On Network in our blog post from yesterday.
During Tim's session, we were joined by an amazing group of guests on stage:
Nina was joined on stage by fashion designers, and AOL On Style Curators, Erin Fetherston and Rachel Roy, who talked about what inspires them as they create their collections.
Vuguru founder and Chairman Michael Eisner, who spoke about the value of original web content.
The cast of Little Women Big Cars, a new series coming to AOL this summer, Julie Warner, Kristy Swanson, Amy Yasbeck and Romy Rosemont.
Amy Harris, writer of Sex and the City, joined us to talk about her new project called "Fetching", which stars a young woman who quit her job as a lawyer and ended her engagement in hopes of pursuing her dreams of opening a doggy daycare store.
We then capped off the event with a special surprise. Through our partners at Ford, we were able to give away a new Ford Mustang Convertible to a lucky attendee of the event, and pledged to donate $1 for every mile the winner drove in their car for the next 5 years on behalf of our friends at St Jude's Children's Research Hospital, for whom our friend Marlo Thomas is very passionate about.
All in all, it was a great day for AOL and we hope it was for our attendees as well. Read what the social web was saying in our Storify recap by clicking here or viewing it above.
On Tuesday at the AOL Newfront, along with Jim Norton, SVP of Sales, AOL Advertising, I was delighted to talk about Powering Ideas. It was an extraordinary moment to think about powering ideas through digital. We are now at a tipping point for digital where:
Audiences for online video are starting to have similar critical mass to top tier cable television networks
Original programming for digital is produced, directed, and starring Emmy- and Academy-Award winning talent – the highest quality of content is materializing
Given the importance of this moment, yesterday presented an incredible opportunity to talk about how we build compelling content for consumers and results-focused solutions for our clients. We expressed our deep commitment to using our content, its influence with key audiences, and the scale of our distribution as a means to build powerful and strategic marketing platforms.
Here are highlights of some of the programs we brought to life in our session at the NewFront:
Moms pick the very best – one town at a time. Powered by Patch sites in towns across the country, Mom's Favorites enables Moms to give their seal of approval to the things they love most in their communities – from playgrounds to restaurants to toy stores. With this program, Patch will shine a light on Moms' favorites everywhere.
Entertainment fans battle it out to create an all-star celebrity team. Fantasy sports meet celebrity fans in a social, high-stakes game that rewards our consumers' obsession with pop culture. Real-time celebrity news from sites like Moviefone, AOL Music and HuffPost Celebrity will determine who's hot and who's not as players pick their dream teams and vie for a star-studded prize event. Real-time celebrity news from sites like Moviefone, AOL Music and HuffPost Celebrity will determine who's hot and who's not as players pick their dream teams. Lucky participants in the related Instant Win game can win a trip to a star-studded prize event.
Influencers and Innovation
In-depth coverage of the people and ideas changing our world. A first-hand look at innovation in technology, finance, entertainment, science, business and design. From interviews with thought leaders, including an original video series with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, to profiles of new inventions, to coverage of global forums where ideas are shared, this experience will look at the people and ideas shaping our future.
New Hollywood Films
Young Hollywood directs and stars in original short films. Killer Digital and Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-Award winning Producer Christine Vachon will produce original shorts, directed by and starring young Hollywood talent. Fans will also have the chance to enter a user-generated short film contest. Airing on the Cambio Network, a top destination for young people online.
CSI for the internet age. An original video series and weekly reality show that follows tech-driven forensic investigations, "Digital Justice" will tell the stories behind the stories of crimes solved and criminals thwarted. Starring Terry Schappert of the US Army Reserve Special Forces.
We hope these programs give marketers a sense of the possibilities. We look forward to working with our clients and agencies to shape these ideas together to embrace brand goals and build powerful content in partnership.
Where's the one place that journalists, advertisers and hilarious Internet memes gather each Spring? Internet Week New York, of course! This year's conference will be held May 14-21, and in the spirit of the open web, IWNY is putting the power in the hands of the people.
As part of their extensive schedule of programming, IWNY has held 8 panel slots open allowing industry experts to Make The Stage by submitting their own panel ideas in the following areas: Advertising, Entertainment, Fashion & The Arts, Impact, Mobile, Social Media, Start Ups and Technology.
This year, AOL has submitted two panels that are up for voting:
"Building Social Content & Taking It Places" - A look at how AOL is uniquely positioned to create social content by mixing premium content and conversation with AOL's Senior Vice President and Head of Sales Strategy, Marketing and Partnerships Janet Balis.
"True Tales From The Interest Graph: Big brand perspectives on how to leverage what people like" – Join AOL's Social Media Director Matthew Knell, along with Katie Richman from ESPN, Katie Morse from Billboard Magazine and Katy Kelley, VP at Cohn and Wolfe, for a panel called focused on how big brands are starting to use the new generation of interest graph sites (such as Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram) to focus their communications on things people like.
Now, we'd love YOUR help to make these panels happen! The panels that receive the most votes will secure spots on the Stage at Internet Week NY.
To vote for "Building Social Content & Taking It Places", click here.
To vote for "True Tales From The Internet Graph", click here.
Please note, you will be required to create a login/password and users are allowed to vote only once.
Learn more about Make the Stage and Internet Week 2012 here, and stay tuned for more news about AOL at Internet Week NY in coming weeks.
Today AOL announced it has joined forces with Digitas, Hulu, MSN, Yahoo! and YouTube to bring the first-ever Digital Content Newfronts (DCNFs) to the market April 19-May 2, 2012. This incredible partnership has been formed by the marketplace leaders and will showcase online content for consumers, brands and their investments, and agencies. It's no secret that online advertising spend is on an upward trajectory and expected to grow 23% in 2012 to $39.5 billion in the US, surpassing print*. With this in mind, six titans on the Web are partnering to create a meaningful marketplace between brands and native digital content.
For brands and advertisers there is an urgency to invest in quality content at scale, and the power of the AOL network is three-pronged: we enable them to tell stories, we take those stories places by distributing them across our network, and we get people talking. Given our range of branded, premium, social and video-centric programming, we expect to deliver a rich experience to our audience and while continuing to differentiate our value in the advertising marketplace.
Following AOL's showcase on April 24 we are confident brands will truly be energized by the quality and depth of our offerings, and the level of differentiation we offer in the marketplace.