Relevance Is Cool

AOL marketing execs will increasingly be making their way to 35 West Wacker Drive for advice on resurrecting their languishing brand.
Ad Age characterizes the account win as Burnett’s “first (new) major brand assignment in years.”

AOL is calling on Leo Burnett USA to help reinvent the brand and give the internet giant a new corporate identity as it prepares to spin off from Time Warner and emerge as an independent, publicly traded firm later this year.
The chance to be associated with dusting off the AOL brand and reintroducing it as a public company is one that few shops would pass up. That it called upon Leo Burnett — perceived in the ad circles as old-school and conventional — indicates that AOL, an internet company with a 25-year history, has no intentions of trying to be cool.

While it appears that Ad Age intended to deliver a slap, I hope the trade mag is correct about AOL’s intentions. The last thing anyone needs is another brand “trying to be cool.”
The objective for AOL is to be relevant. And it’s a goal that appears to be within reach thanks to a growing cadre of popular sites like TMZ, WalletPop and Engadget.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.