NEW YORK AOL is doubling down on its brand by dropping the name Platform-A, which it had used as a catchall for its various ad networks.
The move is part of a shift in how AOL presents itself to the market. Rather than Platform-A, the company will use the name AOL Advertising for its display advertising and ad network business. AOL Media will encompass its consumer product and services.
"This is an acknowledgment of the real strength of the AOL brand," said Jeff Levick, AOL's president of global advertising and strategy. "I think we were bringing more confusion than solutions to the marketplace. One of our goals is to very clear with the companies who they're doing business with."
The change means AOL will do away with the brands of most of the separate companies it acquired in recent years to build out its ad platform, but the company said it has yet to make a final decision about which brands will stay and go. Some of the key sub-brands at present include mobile provider Third Screen Media, ad network Advertising.com and ad server Adtech.
"It brings everything up to a level of much greater simplicity," said Levick, who sees the brand emphasis as part of AOL's drive to "focus on solutions, not products."
Levick leads AOL Advertising; Bill Wilson heads AOL Media.
AOL plans to make the changeover in branding Sept. 1. The shift was announced at an all-company meeting new CEO Tim Armstrong held today.
AOL introduced the Platform-A brand under its previous executive leadership of Randy Falco and Ron Grant in September 2007. The unit was designed to differentiate AOL's third-party ad network offerings centered on Advertising.com from its portal ad sales. It suffered through a series of management upheavals, with original leader Curt Viebranz giving way to Lynda Clarizio; she was replaced by Greg Coleman, who in turn was succeeded by Levick.
Armstrong has made it clear that he sees the AOL brand as an undervalued asset, with near total consumer recognition. AOL has undergone a series of internal reshuffling in the past that has at times distanced itself from the brand. For instance, it named its content network of sites, most of which do not include the AOL name, MediaGlow. Now, as the company prepares to be an independent entity from parent Time Warner, AOL is returning to its roots.