Good-bye Platform-A, Hello AOL Advertising

AOL is renaming its Platform-A ad sales unit and absorbing some of the unit’s sub-brands in a bid to simplify its offering to marketers. The Advertising.com brand will remain, as will the AdTech ad management unit, a company rep confirmed. The fate of other products — including Quigo, Tacoda, and Third Screen Media — is still unclear.

In addition to the ad network units, AOL Advertising will handle premium ad sales for the company’s owned and operated properties, including AOL.com, Engadget, Games.com, TuVida, and TVSquad.

Jeff Levick, AOL’s president of global advertising and strategy, will head up AOL Advertising. He and CEO Tim Armstrong were colleagues at Google, where Levick held senior sales and marketing roles.

Separately, the company has set up a new unit called AOL Media to house its owned and operated properties. AOL Media will be led by Bill Wilson, previously president of the MediaGlow network of istes, and will house MediaGlow, its local and mapping products, and its three main communication products — AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, and e-mail.

Tim Armstrong announced the moves during an all-hands meeting today at the company’s Dulles, VA, headquarters, which was timed to coincide with the completion of his first 100 days at the company’s helm. Present at the event were AOL co-founder Steve Case, longtime employee Ted Leonsis, Martha Stewart, and Warren Buffet. An address was given by Eric Weihenmayer, the only blind man to have reached the summit of Mount Everest.

One major theme of Armstrong’s message to staff is that the company must recommit itself to the user experience, thereby re-equating the AOL brand with quality.

From an advertiser standpoint, the theme is better communication and earning higher spend through improved products.

“Harnessing the brand will help us better convey the power of what AOL has to offer advertisers with our premium content sites, third-party network and unique, data-driven consumer insights,” Levick said in a statement on the name change.

AOL has dropped numerous clues since Armstrong’s appointment that it might ditch the Platform-A name. When it hired Levick to replace Greg Coleman at the unit’s helm, his title didn’t mention the division. And again in early July, a European hire announcement didn’t touch on the division by name.

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