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executive decision

Can AOL Call Itself the Brand Company Without a Chief Marketing Officer?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 3, 2012 04:05 PM

AOL Inc. calls itself the "brand company, committed to continuously innovating, growing, and investing in brands and experiences that inform, entertain, and connect the world." Now the brand company is without a branding head.

Jolie Hunt, AOL's chief marketing officer and communications head since July, is leaving the company less than five months after being hired away from head marketer at Thomson Reuters. According to the Wall Street Journal, the travel-loving Hunt's departure comes one week before AOL unveils a $10 million branding campaign and marks the fourth top AOL marketing and communications executive to leave this year. The company announced back in February its intention to launch a branding campaign to get consumers to care about AOL again.

Hunt — who was responsible for "AOL’s global communications strategy, including internal and external communications; social media; corporate social responsibility and cause related initiatives; corporate events (and) AOL’s global brand development, partnerships and consumer marketing initiatives" — had previously served as SVP and global head of brand for Thomson Reuters.

In June, Maureen Sullivan, the SVP of brand, marketing and communications, was reassigned to GM of women's content and lifestyle brands. Instead of of filling the CMO role, AOL is now looking for a new chief communications officer, as AOL CEO Tim Armstrong told Ad Age today. Hunt's departure and the restructuring have yet to be announced, meanwhile; the only exec announcement was a new business development head for three of its tech properties.Continue reading...


White House Puts Turkey Pardon to the Facebook Test, With Nate Silver Shout-Out

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 21, 2012 03:02 PM

The White House today was the scene of the annual pre-Thanksgiving turkey pardon, with Cobbler and Gobbler getting a reprieve — along with a shout-out to New York Times stats-cruncher Nate Silver ("once again, Nate Silver completely nailed it") and Facebook, the platform on which (in a first this year) the turkey pardon was opened to public voting. Portlandia-ready infographics (below) gave more details on each turkey's background to help voters decide. The First Family then went to Martha's Table, a food pantry in Washington, D.C., to help assemble Thanksgiving meals to be distributed to the less fortunate this holiday.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Microsoft, LG, Samsung and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 13, 2012 09:01 AM

In the News

Microsoft announces the departure of Windows chief (and Ballmer's heir apparent) in wake of Windows 8 launch.

LG breaks through with new smartphone.

Hostess Brands starts closing plants as workers strike.

Acura brings Dr. Phil and Suze Orman into its Christmas promo campaign.

Apple finally gives in on employee perks.

Bojangles recruits American Idol winner Scotty McCreery for campaign.

Cadillac shows design chops in China.

Callaway Golf drives buzz on Twitter for new high-tech driver.Continue reading...

media meltdown

BBC in Crisis: A Media Giant Struggles to Regain Public Trust

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 12, 2012 05:05 PM

You know things are bad when the BBC is covering itself under the banner, "Crisis at the BBC." The British Broadcasting Corp. has fallen from its venerable pedestal, with its latest embarrassment triggering the resignation of senior executives, who are taking the fall for the corporation's newsgathering operation failing to maintain the ethical and journalistic standards at the heart of its brand promise.

BBC director-general George Entwistle resigned on Saturday, after only 55 days in the role, holding himself responsible for "unacceptable journalistic standards" on the BBC's flagship current-affairs program, Newsnight, after it failed to verify an accusation it aired against Lord McAlpine, a former Conservative Party treasurer, of child sex abuse in Wales. The BBC's director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, have also stepped down.

No wonder Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, is calling the network a "ghastly mess."Continue reading...

political season

Math We Can Believe In: Nate Silver Becomes a Household Name

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 7, 2012 09:21 AM

It’s a great day for President Obama, and a pretty good one for Nate Silver as well, the political prognosticator and statistician for the New York Times whose model proved accurate – where Gallup’s, among others, did not. As Buzzfeed quipped, "Nate Silver Wins the Election."

Here’s how right he was: correctly predicted the winner of all 50 states yesterday, predicted Obama winning Virginia and Florida by very small margins and projected Obama would win the popular vote by 2%. The only race he missed: Montana's senate race.

“The real loser last night, outside of Mitt Romney and Republicans of course, was the political pundit class,” notes the Examiner. “The pundits have lost credibility as they swear up and down on the eve of the election that the polls must be wrong. Anything can happen, but in 2016 readers would best put their confidence in hard poll numbers as opposed to the “gut feeling” of someone on a cable news network.”

Formerly a standalone website, Silver's data-crunching FiveThirtyEight blog drew huge traffic for the NYTimes.com, which licensed it for three years in 2010. Turns out the controversy his predictions engendered brought supporters and critics to his site – like moths to the light – a best-of-breed example on the power of personal branding.Continue reading...

social media watch

The Revolution (and the U.S. Election) Will Be Instagrammed

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 6, 2012 04:26 PM

Facebook is encouraging its U.S. users to share that they've voted for an interactive map, while Twitter has set up its election page to track the #Election2012 winds of change. But it's Facebook's more visual sub-brand, theonce niche mobile photo-sharing app Instagram, that's the darling of the digital world for the 2012 U.S. presidential election cycle.

Since being snapped up by Facebook for $1 billion in April, and following its launch of an Android version of its app, the brand has grown its user base from 15 million to 80 million since January 1st, with an astonishing 4 billion photos posted this year to date. Further proof, if any is needed, that photo-sharing is hot: Coca-Cola is getting in on the game with its Happy Places app, while Twitter and Facebook are racing to improve their photo filters.

The 2012 U.S. presidential election day represents Instagram’s coming out party. Its usual feed today is replaced by a stream of voter’s ballots and related political imagery, which could exceed half a million uploads by election day's end. While encouraging its users to share their election day photos with the tag #ivoted, they are being reminded to not snap a pic of their election ballot, which could render it void in certain states. In another first, the New York Times is also featuring voters' Instagram photos on their homepage election coverage.Continue reading...

brand news

In Non-Sandy News: Disney/LucasFilm, Apple Shakeup, BP Rises

Posted by Dale Buss on October 31, 2012 01:32 PM

Disney acquires Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, plans to restart Star Wars franchise.

Apple sees executive refuse to apologize for mapping flaw, so he and retail chief are to depart as design head Jony Ive takes on bigger role and Apple shares slip post-shakeup.BP returns to profitability and raises dividend.

BP returns to profitability and raises dividend.

Activision goes big for CoD: Black Ops 2.

Aldi revamps as German consumers reject austerity.

Bayer acquires Schiff for $1.2 billion.

Burger King boosts marketing and makes demographic inroads.

Ford profits reflect North American gains and European woes.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Amazon, Citi, Chanel and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 26, 2012 09:02 AM

In the News

Amazon swings to loss on aggressive spending on future growth, worries about Apple's iPad mini, while Apple disses Microsoft Surface tablet.

BBC sees dimensions of Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal grow.

Bank of America still dealing with fallout from collapse of Countrywide.

Chanel benefits from buzz created by Brad Pitt campaign.

Cheesecake Factory bucks casual-dining traffic decline.

Chipotle considers once-forbidden veer toward fast-food platform.

Citigroup CEO exit reportedly was planned for months.Continue reading...

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