AOL Begins Print, Billboard Waves in Portal Campaign

Share this content:
America Online this week breaks the print and billboard components of its ongoing multimedia campaign for the new portal that is free to use for anyone on the Internet.

One print ad shows a man drawing a stage curtain, with light streaming onto backstage. Other people crane to see through the parting. The headline says, "The New Now open to everyone."

Copy in that ad explains: "Now one portal delivers it all. The best free entertainment on the Web, on demand. The faster, easier way to find what you want. The resources to discover where to go, what to do and how to get there. More ways to communicate with more people. Welcome to the new Designed for broadband users. All on demand. Always free."

The ad, one of many, looks to attract new users to and encourage current AOL members to visit sites that collectively reached 112 million unique users in August, according to comScore Media Metrix. The ads also aim to resonate with consumers not online daily. print ads appear in parent Time Warner Inc.'s magazines including Entertainment Weekly, People, InStyle, Sports Illustrated and Real Simple. Ads run each week in the USA Today newspaper, too. And billboards in Los Angeles, New York and Washington are up.

In its latest iteration, has made free almost all of its programming previously limited to members of its Internet access service. The ad-supported offering includes free e-mail, new video and video search capabilities and access to several AOL features.

With this new format, competes with Yahoo, MSN, Google and other smaller players who center their online services on communication products like e-mail, chat and instant messenger as well as news and entertainment.'s campaign has four broad themes. The entertainment part pushes AOL Music, Moviefone, AOL Radio, AOL Sports and AOL Television. As for finding news and information, the ads promote AOL Search, video news, video on-demand and video search.

The other two prongs focus on convenience/getting things done and communications. The ads tout AOL CityGuide, AOL Living, inStore and MapQuest as well as e-mail, the AIM messenger service and AOL Pictures.

A sweepstakes from ad agency Hill Holliday and Marden Kane will support the campaign. Called "Win What You Want," the sweepstakes/instant win game is themed around the launch, focusing on the immediacy of on-demand programming and easy access.

"The strategy is basically to use multimedia, magazine and newspaper ads and billboards to tell the story -- is now open to everyone," said Ruth Sarfaty, AOL vice president of corporate communications.

Atmosphere BBDO handles online creative, OMD buys online media and Carat Fusion is responsible for search engine optimization and marketing. The Martin Agency works with Initiative on offline advertising.

The online ads run through year-end on 100-plus sites including CNET, eBay, and iFilm. The print ads run in selected Time Warner publications with the same year-end deadline.

Meanwhile, AOL renewed its marketing and advertising ties with Infinity Broadcasting. The deal includes integrations across at least 30 Infinity radio stations, produced programming spots for Moviefone and AOL CityGuide and high-frequency ads in the top metropolitan areas through year-end.

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting


Next Article in Digital Marketing

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

PAN Communications is an award-winning integrated marketing and public relations agency for B2B technology and healthcare brands. PAN's data-driven approach allows the firm to specialize in public relations, social media, content and influencer marketing, and data and analytics. PAN partners with brands to create unique, integrated campaigns that captivate audiences.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above