New York, NY-- AOL unveiled the first round of brands that will use its new super-sized ad formats, reported here last week. Among them are General Mills brands Cheerios and Pillsbury Crescents, Columbia Pictures' "The Social Network," Lexus, Macy’s, Procter & Gamble’s Olay, Sprint, and Unilever’s Suave Professionals.
Jeff Levick, AOL's president of global advertising and strategy, took the stage at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's MIXX conference to promote the new ads (scroll for video), which take up half the real estate on a Web page, sharing the screen space almost equally with editorial content. They are visible today on two redesigned AOL sites: Moviefone.com and StyleList.com.
Websites, Levick said, are in need of a major redesign to allow for a better experience.
"It's about making the Web a more beautiful place for consumers to engage and connect," he said. "The majority of investment on the Web has been focusing on the plumbing – the data, insights, targeting. There has been little time and money spent on the aesthetics of the experience."
Wenda Harris Millard, chief operating officer at MediaLink, warned that marketers must adapt. "We going to lose the consumer…if the consumer is not front and center in the conversation [about advertising]," she said. "The reality is, the best media plan in the world with the most sophisticated targeting does not mean that much unless we produce commercial messaging that compels the reader to do something, feel something."
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Anna Maria Virzi, ClickZ's executive editor from 2007 until 2012, covered Internet business and technology since 1996. She was on the launch team for Ziff Davis Media's Baseline and also worked at Forbes.com, Web Week, Internet World, and the Connecticut Post.