AOL Reaches Out to Advertisers

NEW YORK America Online took out a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal yesterday in an attempt to impress prospective advertisers with results from its Super Bowl Ad Poll, which attracted an estimated 3 million voters.

The one-off ad, which recognized the winning commercials, encouraged, “Astute media professionals looking for a way to engage with an audience take note: AOL has its finger on the pulse.” It also included the contact information for Michael Barrett, AOL’s executive vice president of sales and partner marketing.

“We are hoping advertising decision makers see it. … [The poll] links us inextricably with the advertising industry in a new way,” said Barrett.

The print execution from independent Wieden + Kennedy in Porland, Ore., is the latest example of AOL trying to lure marketers to its online service. Last year, the Time Warner Internet unit posted a 5 percent overall revenue decline, due in large part to a 40 percent drop in ad revenue.

Competitor MSN is in the midst of a trade campaign that is promoting the latest version of its online service, which launched last month. Online ads, for instance, tell marketers to “Be noticed on the new MSN” and “Flexible rich media solutions on MSN deliver the experience your brand deserves.”

Yahoo!, meanwhile, largely uses an event-driven strategy. The Web portal sponsors events, like the One Show Interactive awards show, which connect its sales team to advertisers, according to a representative.