With Its First Campaign, Verizon’s Oath Promises Brand Safety and Scale

Tries to differientiate itself from Google and Facebook

Oath, the umbrella brand for AOL and Yahoo's properties, has a new campaign. Oath
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It’s been several months since Oath, the umbrella brand for all of AOL and Yahoo’s media and tech properties, was leaked to the public, prompting many to wonder where the name came from and what it stood for. Now, the Verizon-owned subsidiary is ready to pitch its promise on its own timeline.

Today, Oath is launching its first ad campaign, “#BuildYourBrand,” which will appear in nine global markets to show both the scale of the collection of brands and the scope of its data-heavy operation. The campaign includes broadcast, digital, print, social and out-of-home components and is running in the following countries: US, Canada, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Taiwan, Singapore & Hong Kong.

The main spot, which first ran during Tumblr’s livestream of the Concert for Charlottesville event on Sunday evening, focuses on the relationship brands have with consumers. According to Oath chief marketing officer Allie Kline, the company hopes advertisers will see how they can appear alongside safe content.

The launch comes as competitors such as Facebook and YouTube continue to grapple with how to clean up offensive user-generated content, fake news and ad fraud.

“I think the days of scale without trust, scale without brand are waning,” she said. “The notion that scale is the only thing that matters. It’s just not sellable anymore.”

Earlier this summer in Cannes, Oath CEO Tim Armstrong provided more detail about the company’s ambitious growth plans for Oath, executives hope will grow to reach 2 billion users by 2020—up from just 1.3 billion this year. However, companies not named Google or Facebook have had a difficult time growing their audiences in a rapid fashion.

That said, some advertisers say Oath has something Google and Facebook don’t: an alternative to the “walled gardens” that continue to leave marketers wanting more control over their data when running campaigns on the various platforms. Data transparency has certainly been a key part of Oath’s pitch to marketers. Even before AOL and Verizon officially closed on a deal to acquire Yahoo back in June, AOL has spent the last year pitching marketers on the massive amount of data it has accumulated through Verizon and all of its subsidiaries. According to Kline, Verizon now sees about 1 trillion data signals every month across its assets—data from search, content, mobile apps and mobile carrier relationships.

The videos themselves feel largely like stock video meshed together—of people being active with sports or in social settings—or of some graphics that showcase Oath’s properties in orbs. However, a key feature in the main 60-second TV ad is A Tribe Called Quest’s song “Can I Kick It,” covered for Oath by Public Enemy and Prophets of Rage frontman Chuck D.

“What we were really looking for is someone with deep roots,” Kline said of Chuck D. “He’s also just now joining another band and doing some incredible work around the state of our country and the sate of society, so we wanted to bring someone with that kind of edge to the table.”

@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.