Since splitting from Time Warner in 2009, AOL has become more visibly active with its marketing efforts, and the acquisition of TechCrunch and—more recently—the Huffington Post has provided the media company with more outlets to champion through events, including during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and at South by Southwest. As soon as AOL wrapped its Oasis Lounge for the New York City Wine & Food Festival on October 2, the brand set up a a five-day activation to reinforce its sponsorship of Advertising Week. The five-day conference, run by Matt Scheckner and his consultancy Stillwell Partners, kicked off October 3, bringing an estimated 60,000 key players in the ad industry to more than 200 events.
As with its involvement in other multiday outings, AOL leveraged its position as one of the week's lead partners to create more exposure for its products and content, including building out a lounge and gallery in the lobby of the TimesCenter—the conference's hub—distributing free grub from branded food trucks, and hosting a handful of private functions.
“AOL was excited to once again be a gold tier sponsor of Advertising Week—the world's premier gathering of marketing and communications leaders, celebrating its eighth year in New York City,” said Rachel Gross, AOL's New York-based vice president of corporate events and community relations. “Our theme for the week was 'We Get People.' Whether we're getting people engaged through AOL Premium Formats or getting people talking on the Huffington Post, AOL gets people. We had the opportunity to interact with conferencegoers through our interactive TimesCenter gallery, opening-night gala, special events, through-provoking panels, and workshops.”
Perhaps the biggest component was the gallery at the TimesCenter, an eye-catching space that underscored properties like hyper-local news site Patch.com, AOL Video, the Huffington Post iPad app, and Pictela, the technology behind the company's advertising platform AOL Premium Formats. Event designer Garin Baura was responsible for the look of the lounge, which employed simple white tables and wooden stools punctuated by signs splashed with brightly colored statistics, including “6x growth in video streams” for AOL Video and “100M+ user comments” for the Huffington Post. In addition to an information desk marked by five screens showing the day's schedule, video from panels, and more key marketing figures, the gallery had a dedicated area for Patch, promoting the two-year-old site, and an iPhone app with a bar covered with cell phones and lockers for attendees to charge their electronic devices.
Baura also designed the private dinner for key clients on October 3 at the Kitchen NYC, a private function with food from Rocco DiSpirito designed to highlight AOL's partnership with Feeding America, which followed the opening-night gala for 700 at Radio City Music Hall catered by Creative Edge.