AOL Uses Super Bowl To Put Top Spin on TopSpeed, Hires Rich LeFurgy As Strategy Chief
A series of four 14-second teaser ads broke last night on network prime time programming flagging AOL's sponsorship of the Super Bowl halftime show, AOL TopSpeed--a feature in AOL 9.0 that enables dial-up customers to surf the Web faster--and driving viewers to vote on classic Super Bowl ads. The teasers, as well as all the spots in the game, were produced by independent Wieden & Kennedy, based in Portland, Oregon. AOL is also driving football fans to vote on their favorite classic Super Bowl commercials on AOL.com and CBS.com. The results of the polling will be revealed on a CBS special on Jan. 31.
AOL's Super Bowl gambit began with a buy made during the upfront with CBS when it bought the second commercial pod in the first quarter of the game. The media buy was one part of a larger deal with the NFL and CBS. AOL is using the Super Bowl ad opportunity to promote the TopSpeed feature and to drive consumers to sample AOL.com.
On Sunday, AOL also sponsors the two-minute segment prior to kickoff and four network "bumpers" during the game, which Short says will promote content and the creative ad showcase on AOL.com. Three in-game spots promote TopSpeed.
"My own philosophy is that the tension builds throughout the game, the audience builds right through the game no matter if it's a good game or a bad game," said Len Short, AOL's executive-VP, brand management.
Separately, Short said AOL hired Rich LeFurgy, a former head of the Internet Advertising Bureau who was most recently with a venture capital firm, as senior-VP, brand strategy. "He'll feed the whole strategic development process primarily on broadband," Short said.
He also said that Feb. 9 and 10 are set for media agency finalists in AOL's estimated $300 million offline media review.