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Jun 25th 2012

AOL Connects with Ad Industry in Cannes

More than 12,000 people gathered in France for seven days to discuss, debate and celebrate the best in creative advertising during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Among those attendees were creative agencies from around the world including Crispin Porter Bogusky, BBDO, Leo Burnett and the global leadership teams from brands such as Coca-Cola, Hyundai and Visa. AOL was on the scene, both on the ground and online, highlighting our thought leadership in online advertising and creativity through stage presentations, panels, events and activations.

During the "Engaging Generation Social" presentation, Rene Rechtman head of AOL Advertising International and CEO of GoViral, spoke about "high impact formats and how brands should concentrate on creating a peer-to-peer environment." Meanwhile, Arianna Huffington and Roy Sekoff presented "Tapping the Zeitgeist: The Participation Revolution, Unplugging to Recharge, and Tweeting Our Way to Compassion," a session about building a more human Internet. They also previewed HuffPost Live (formerly called Huffington Post Streaming Network) on a global stage for the first time. Video highlights from both sessions are available here and here.

AOL Agency Development, a small strategic team dedicated to building and strengthening our relationships and business across the four largest holding companies, held numerous meetings and events designed to dig deeper into the challenges, opportunities and successes in the agency business. During AOL and Interpublic Group (IPG)'s panel discussion on "Why Brands Matter," panelists from AOL, IPG, Initiative North America and Purpose spoke about the unique role advertising and creativity can play in building a better world. AOLer, David Shing also sat down with WPP's GroupM CEO Rob Norman and Y&R CEO David Sable for a discussion about the year's biggest trends, prior to a dinner for 40 WPP clients at the AOL suite.

AOL spent a full day with Publicis hosting two panel discussions, the first, made up of six senior creatives from across VivaKi and Leo Burnett, explored the best work of 2012 for an audience of 100 clients. Publicis ad agency Digitas also brought the highly successful Digital Content NewFronts, of which AOL is a founding partner, to their global clients in Cannes. During a private panel for 50 attendees, Karen Cahn represented AOL speaking about great partnerships and moving brands forward through AOL's Branded Experiences.

On AOL's last day in Cannes, we hosted a panel on the hottest topics and biggest stories emerging from this year's Cannes Lions. Led by David Shing and Jonathan Haber, Chief Innovation Officer of Omnicom's OMD, our closing event provided an excellent summary of all that was seen, celebrated and debated during the week.Check out more highlights from our trip to Cannes by reading our Storify recap below.

Jun 6th 2012

AOL Boston WOWs with Citizen School

After mentoring a group of eager sixth graders for the past 10 weeks, several Boston AOLers got the chance last week to see our students shine.Through the Citizen Schools program, which partners with middle schools in low-income communities to extend the learning day and provide students with new learning opportunities and experiences, we've worked with the kids to teach them all about business networking.

At last week's "6 Degrees of Boston WOW!" event, we saw our young apprentices test their skills shaking hands, making small talk, asking career-related questions and politely transitioning between conversations. Other Boston AOLers joined us at the event to staff an AOL booth, trade-show-style. Our team exchanged business cards and career information with the students and socialized with future engineers, doctors, pianists, and basketball players.

The event culminated the second consecutive semester the Boston office has participated in the Citizen Schools program, with which AOL has partnered for the past three years. Our colleagues in New York have also mentored groups of kids twice yearly, culminating in "WOW" events hosted in the New York office. In addition, Tim Armstrong and Arianna Huffington taught a Citizen Schools class about local journalism last year.

Learn more about AOL's community initiatives here.

Apr 26th 2012

A Look Back at Our NewFront



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 Post scheduled 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:


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.

* comScore March 2012; total U.S. viewers

Jan 11th 2012

VivaKi and AOL "Tech-tails" at CES 2012


During this week's CES festivities, AOL was invited to participate in VivaKi's week of "Bright Lights, Big Ideas."

More than 200 VivaKi employees, clients and guests were treated to a packed content program. The evening was kicked off by Joshua Fruhlinger, editorial director for AOL Tech, who shared his perspectives on the first day of CES. From "LTE everything" to OLED to the age of superlatives: subtablets, superphones, and ultrabooks, Fruhlinger talked about the latest trends at the show. "Everything is mobile, everyone wants to show that what they have can run an app," he observed. "Angry Birds will be on everything from car dashboards to washing machines." Home networking will also be a big trend, as devices connect to the living room TV. For more of what's happening at the show, check out Engadget's complete CES coverage.

Next, Christian Kugel, AOL VP of Consumer Analytics and Research, took the stage. In anticipation of CES, Engadget identified ten trends – from inductive charging to electric motorcycles – that would impact 2012. Kugel's team then surveyed AOL Tech audiences to capture their interest and excitement of those trends. Readers ranked their top 3 game-changers as cloud computing, device convergence and the emergence of tablets as content creation devices. The audience roared at revelations that nearly half of AOL Tech readers would give up their pet rather than sacrifice their favorite gadget.

The evening concluded with lively conversation between Maurice Levy, Global CEO, Publicis Groupe, and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. Praising Publicis Groupe as "the most game-changing holding company," Armstrong stated that no one else "took more of a risk" on digital media. Levy quipped: "Ah, we didn't know it was a risk." Levy agreed that convergence was one of the most important trends he was seeing at CES, and when Armstrong asked what advice he had for companies struggling with making the right decisions in a swiftly shifting business climate, Levy parried with a quick "Come see us!" They discussed how brands – not just products – need to be differentiators, and how the new digital landscape has the potential to be an "infinite world of possibility and creativity." Levy turned the tables on Armstrong and quizzed him on AOL's ultimate objectives – and where the company was in its journey. "AOL is about building content brands that matter, at scale," Armstrong responded. "I'd say we are in Inning Two on what we want to achieve."

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