Making Ads the Content: AOL's Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Online Ads

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Writer John Brownlee’s article in Fast Company Design takes a look at the tough time online ads are having in the current environment of increased blocking capabilities. 

He writes, “While distracting web apps get a bad rap, they're not bad in their own right, says Seth Demsey, CTO of AOL Platforms. As an example, he points to Vogue. ‘Vogue has the highest percentage of ads-to-content of any magazine, because to a certain extent, the ads are the content,’ he says. If there was an analog ad blocker for Vogue, it wouldn't take off, because Vogue's readers are actually interested in its ads, because they are perfectly harmonious with the magazine's content.

"It's that sort of harmony, Demsey says, that every brand, every ad agency, and every publisher should be striving for. OneCreative is just a toolset designed to help unlock it. The idea is to make a platform that can empower ad creatives to dynamically tailor their ads to the viewer. Not just by device, but according to any of the other data ad networks can track or extrapolate: gender, age, location, you name it."

Generally, ads are tailored to a specific publication or site. But, he continues, "If you designed a Jeep ad using OneCreative, though, you'd have a lot more options. 'The idea is that instead of having a one-size-fits-most ad, you have a choose-your-own-adventure ad,' says Demsey. So if you were viewing the Jeep ad during winter in a city that gets a lot of snow, you might see an ad highlighting Jeep's performance on icy roads; if you viewed it the same time of year in Arizona, though, it might be all about Jeep's off-road capabilities. And ads designed using OneCreative can be granularly targeted from there: You could just as easily design a Jeep ad tailored specifically for dog lovers, a Jeep ad for seniors, or a Jeep ad for day traders.