AOL to Tout 9.0 Optimized in $10 Mil. Online Campaign

NEW YORK America Online will break an online effort Wednesday from AtmosphereBBDO to promote AOL 9.0 Optimized.

The initial rollout, slated to run through the end of the year on properties that include, MarketWatch and MapQuest, reinforces the “Life needs” offline campaign from Omnicom Group’s BBDO in New York. “It’s really important for AOL and 9.0 that everything has synergy with the positioning of ‘Life needs,’ and how it fits into people’s lives,” said Andreas Combuechen, chief creative officer and managing director of AtmosphereBBDO in New York.

In one execution, the running-man icon sprints across a red carpet to demonstrate that “life needs a big entrance.” Other ads proclaim that “life needs less aggravation” to promote spam filters and “life needs a personality” to plug SuperBuddy icons. Spending is expected to be close to $10 million, sources said.

“The challenge was to revitalize the brand and make it great again and make online as robust and thoughtful and strategic as all the other advertising coming out of the company,” said John Lane, vp of online marketing at AOL.

During the first two days of the campaign, AOL intends to reach more than 80 percent of the online population by blanketing the Web with rich-media executions. In that 48-hour period, the Dulles, Va.-based Time Warner Internet unit will be the exclusive advertiser on the home pages of several sites, including CBS, and The Wall Street Journal Online.

“We want our presence to be loud and proud,” said Lane, who joined AOL in the newly created position in September after spending seven years in various marketing posts at Charles Schwab.

AOL also will run contextually relevant ads. On The Weather Channel’s, for instance, clouds floating across the home page will form the running-man icon and 9.0 figure. The clouds then dissolve into an ad unit that proclaims, “Life needs a better outlook.” Doner Direct in Detroit handles online media buying and planning for AOL.

In addition to driving its business goals, AOL’s largest online campaign to date is meant to show support of the online-advertising industry, said Lane. “Hopefully, it will demonstrate a real commitment to the medium itself,” added Combuechen.