Aol, Yahoo and the Devil that is Advertising.

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It’s Advertising Week In NYC and Aol has launched a campaign (Product? Movement?) it hopes will make it more relevant.  I love their idea to have an idea. 

Aol’s declaimed strategy is to become a content leader on the web. Easily said. This campaign suggests they are serious.  Loosely called ProjectDevil, it is based on an insight that one-third of the web is advertising.  And poorly curated advertising at that.   A print ad in The New York Times today shows a side-by-side comparison of an old school website and a new school website.  Old is covered in ads and links, while new is elegant, clean and surprisingly magazine like.

If you go to the ProjectDevil site, which has been nicely cobbled together and targeted to an advertising audience, you get the sense that Aol is spending money, currying favor with smart digital people (a bit of a pander) and focusing on the presentation of content.  Compared to Yahoo, its closest competitor in the “content strategy’ strategy, this is a refreshing first down.

The “one third insight’ is a strong one.  The content strategy is a strong one.  If Aol gets better content and innovates with the delivery of that content, next year at Advertising Week you’ll see a very different company. Peace.

PS.  Last year I was walking around Advertising Week talking to Yahoo people who were oblivious to the awful Ogilvy work passing them by on the sides of buses.  Within weeks the account had moved to Goody Silverstein and Gareth Kay.  Yahoo is with a good shop, but their idea is still percolating.