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Sep 19th 2013

The Wanamaker Place Project

John Wanamaker was a force to be reckoned with. He was a pious man of drive and purpose, devout about Christianity and the customer experience. He was intuitive about where the market was going. He was the first to put electricity in stores, the first to install phones and radios, the first to rise above the clamor of a bartering bazaar and establish price tags and a system of stated value and cost. He knew the value of a dollar and was wise to the inherent and still persistent questions around marketing and advertising - which part works?

Today, AOL is headquartered at 770 Broadway, an iconic structure stretching across 9th Street, from 4th Avenue to Broadway, above the original Wanamaker Department store, one of the greatest brands in the history of retail. It is in this spirit that our portfolio of premium ads, The Wanamaker Place Project, recognizes the legacy of John Wanamaker and his ability to provide real value to his customers while dazzling them with an exceptional experience.

The Wanamaker Place Project is our ad innovation platform and architecture, which encompasses our portfolio of ad products spanning rich media, native ads, mobile and multi-screen units. It is a comprehensive way of organizing and bringing our rich media and ad format innovation to market.

Like fashion and retail, advertising is about what's hot and what works. It's about being ahead of trends. It's about merchandising and branding as well as price and inventory. It's a global business built on pace, positioning and product. AOL's heritage, similar to John Wanamaker, is about the pursuit of innovation in the name of great customer experiences.

Our intention to beautify the Web via content and advertising began three years ago with the launch of Project Devil. It was then that we re-imagined what the web could look like. Today, we are launching a new set of premium ad products designed to further the potential, the impact, the nature and the beauty of advertising. They include:
  • Loft – This AOL original unit anchors itself to the top of the page as the user scrolls down, giving brands a unique and persistent presence. Built in HTML5 to create a uniform experience across desktop and tablet, the banner spawns out of traditional banner and anchors itself to the top of the page as the user scrolls down the page, creating an unobtrusive encouragement for users to interact with brand content. Users can expand the anchored banner to reveal rich functionality like mapping, videos and coupon downloads while staying on the page content.
  • Reactive Wallpaper – An exclusive offering that gives advertisers the ability to host subsequent, in-view brand messaging in the rails as a user scrolls down the page. Advertisers can also leverage additional assets and showcase video in a lightbox – so the user can watch without leaving the page.
  • Multi Screen/HTML5Pictela's new multi-screen applications travel seamlessly across desktop, tablet and mobile – essential to reaching a growing multi-screen audience.
  • Native – Through a guided process that relies heavily on analytics and experience, our team of editors and designers helps brands to craft seamless content that resonates with consumers, increases brand visibility and drives the social conversation.
  • IAB Mobile Rising Stars – AOL is one of the first mobile publishers to offer this variety of IAB rising star and innovative mobile formats - including Filmstrip, Pull, Adhesion and Full Page Flex plus an innovation of our own, Mobile Footnote – at scale across AOL's Mobile Web properties

The Wanamaker Place Project is a nod to the past with an eye on the fast-moving present and a belief in the future of premium and performance driving experiences made possible through content and advertising.

Oct 4th 2012

AOL & Lionsgate Scoop Gold At IAB MIXX Awards 2012


In August, AOL's Hunger Games Premium Format ad campaign was named a finalist in the prestigious 2012 International IAB MIXX Awards. The IAB MIXX Awards are the only interactive awards competition judged by the world's advertising and media industry leaders.

We are very proud to announce that last night, at IAB's eighth annual MIXX gala in New York City, AOL and Lionsgate brought home Gold in the 'IAB Standard Rich Media Display Ad' category. Congratulations go out to the Project Devil team and our colleagues at Lionsgate.

For the full scoop on the 2012 IAB MIXX Award Winners and their executions, visit the Winners Gallery.


Jun 27th 2012

AOL Launches Premium Formats for Smartphones and Tablets



Today AOL announced that we have expanded our Premium Formats suite to the smartphone and tablet. After launching Project Devil for desktop just eighteen months ago, the beautiful, engaging, content-rich ad formats that are powered by the award-winning Pictela technology will now be available on mobile devices. We are simplifying premium digital advertising and offering marketers the ability to serve the same brand content experience across multiple devices.

Mobile Premium Formats are built using applications similar to those currently available for the desktop. Each ad unit includes three apps. At launch, the applications for an advertiser to choose from are:

  • Photo Gallery – Allows advertisers to tell their brand story through beautiful, high-quality images of products or messages. Up to nine images can be featured in a carousel that can be swiped through to see the next image.
  • Video Gallery - Displays stunning HD content and provides advertisers with another platform to utilize TV spots and other video content that has already been produced.
  • Content feed – Advertisers can include proprietary feeds to highlight company news and updates for consumers.
  • Facebook feed - Displays content from a brand's Facebook page in a scrollable-list to provide real-time conversation updates.
  • Twitter feed - Displays content from a brand's account or a chosen hash-tag in a scrollable-list to provide real-time conversation updates.


Additional apps will be incorporated into this mobile offering in the coming weeks. Similar to the desktop browser experience, every high-definition experience within the ad unit can be navigated without leaving the page. The functionality takes into account the tactile nature of mobile devices, and allows users to swipe and tap to see more content which can be updated instantly during a campaign.

Advertising inventory will be available across AOL's Owned & Operated mobile web properties and apps, as well as across third party mobile inventory through Advertising.com. This technology is available for iOS 4.0+ and Android 2.2+ in the U.S. and Canada.

Jun 4th 2012

Project Devil Featured in Top Retail Trade Publication


AOL's Project Devil ad format was featured in this month's issue of Internet Retailer, the largest monthly magazine in e-retailing, in a piece on the future of display advertising. Premium Formats SVP Greg Rogers' thoughts were highlighted on the look of new ads and why it is important to have high-quality advertisements next to high-quality content. The feature includes a Zappos Devil ad, a list of apps available for the units, as well as a list of other clients who have run Devil across AOL.

Visit Internet Retailer online to read the full article and check our trade site to learn more about Project Devil.

Dec 16th 2011

AOL at the Digiday Target Conference


Over 150 media insiders gathered together on December 15th for the DigiDay Target Conference in LA. Speakers and panelists discussed issues around current targeting solutions and measurement capabilities. Brand marketers spoke to challenges with managing messaging across platforms and efforts to improve communication between all players involved. There was also a new focus on utilizing data across mobile and video platforms with exciting new developments such as addressable TV creeping further into the digital conversation.

AOL's Willis Duran sat on the Targeting for Brands panel with leaders from Saaatchi & Saatchi, Ignited, and BatesHook to debate how brand marketers can strike a balance between identifying specific audiences while delivering messages at scale. AOL is leading the charge with leveraging data for brand marketers, not solely to drive incremental sales lift, but also to drive branding metrics such as brand awareness and market share shifts.

With offerings like Super Channels and Devil Ad units, advertisers can utilize data in a brand-friendly environment. In addition, through AOL's capability to leverage an eAddressable audience, it provides digital marketers with an edge to reach consumers on a household level while alleviating certain concerns around cookie degradation.

"The digital ecosystem continues to be packed with intermediaries and new data providers. While most would agree key players may get acquired or consolidate, growing ad budgets and evolving technologies provides ample opportunity for niche businesses to continually enter into the space so the shakeout, if any – will likely be cyclical. Still, amidst the complexity, there are few companies such as AOL who have made it easy to buy media at scale across platforms – complete with self-service implementation and reporting tools. The panel allowed us to affirm our position in leveraging data to provide additional value in insights and in satisfying multi-pronged marketing objectives that extend far beyond a CTR metric. Our ability to leverage data within brand-safe environments is also an incredible differentiator in the data space," said Duran, Director of Targeting Strategy.

Advertising.com's Doug Boccia, VP of Platform Solutions, also participated in a Q&A chat on accelerating performance solutions. In the session, he announced that Advertising.com is creating a new platform for sophisticated marketers to control all aspects of their media buy. Leveraging Advertising.com's technology and algorithm, AdLearn Open Platform will provide strategic partners with access to real-time bidded Advertising.com and AOL's non-reserved inventory.

"I was excited to finally announce and discuss AdLearn Open Platform by Advertising.com. Based on the multiple conversations that occurred throughout the day, I believe we are well positioned to create a valuable new solution for the marketplace," said Boccia.

With the new product set to launch in early 2012, keep your eyes on www.AdLearnOP.com.

(This post originally ran on the AOL Advertising Blog.)

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