Blackberry and M&S first to sign to AOL’s ‘Project Devil’ display ad format


AOL UK has launched its new Project Devil display advertising format, with RIM promoting their new BlackBerry TorchM and M&S, advertising their summer fashion range on a three paneled creative canvas. The Project Devil unit is displayed as a large creative canvas, divided into three panels, which allow advertisers to customise the content and functionality within one interface. The functionality of each panel includes media streams and applications such as video, slideshows, mapping, 3-D rotation, quizzes, polls and text messaging.



The new format is live on AOL’s celebrity channel Eleven ( from today.
Every ad is fully interactive, eliminating the need for consumers to navigate away from the page to explore its features.

With only one ad per page, the advertiser is afforded 100% share of voice and all distractions and clutter are eliminated.

Project Devil extends AOL’s current suite of advertising products, which includes ad publishing network, and newly acquired video distribution business, goviral.

Through these services, AOL is providing brands with a range of creative and innovative advertising solutions wrapped around rich content experiences.

“Traditional online display advertising has not progressed a great deal in a decade,” said Rob Blake, VP Advertising, AOL Europe. “Project Devil addresses the shortcomings of traditional display and brings a new, high impact and interactive format to advertisers, allowing them to deliver engaging digital marketing experiences across the Web.

“Project Devil treats advertising as content, giving brands the chance to build creative that complements the editorial on the page, instead of competing with it, something which is central to AOL’s strategy,” he said.

First campaigns

In a deal lead by Starcom Mediavest, Project Devil partner RIM launched its campaign around the new BlackBerry Torch. The bespoke panels feature an interactive product mini-site, an in-ad video component with music producer Diplo, and an invitation to users to join Blackberry on Facebook and Twitter.

John Baylon, Digital Trading Director, Starcom Mediavest commented; “The display landscape hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years and we believe that Project Devil is the beginning of an exciting new era for the online advertising industry. Creativity, interactivity and advertisements that ‘wow’ are imperative to engaging our consumers online. We couldn’t turn down this unique opportunity to work alongside a trusted brand like AOL to engage with our customers in a new way.”

M&S has partnered directly with AOL to drive awareness of its latest fashion TV advertising campaign. Shot in Miami, the summer fashion campaign stars the M&S girls, Twiggy, Lisa Snowdon, VV Brown, Dannii Minogue and Ana Beatriz Barros. The Project Devil format invites users to view a fashion slide show within the ad unit, watch a behind the scenes video of the shoot in Miami and avail of an online discount.

“With an increase in focus on quality premium content on the Internet it’s only right that advertising should advance and work to complement it, offering just as much engagement and interactivity as the content itself,” said Nicky Fouhy, CRM Online Marketing Manager. “We’re excited to be working with AOL on rolling-out this wonderful new format in the UK.”

Project Devil was developed in partnership with a Creative Consortium, a group of top innovators from leading digital and creative agencies across the industry, guided by the shared desire to create a new aesthetic standard for online advertising. AOL incorporated the Consortium's feedback and ideas into the design and development of Project Devil, which will continue to evolve as a new system for display advertising.

The new format was introduced in the US in September 2010.

Following its introduction on Eleven (, the Project Devil format will be rolled out across the AOL Network throughout the second quarter of 2011.

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