Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands and AOL announced at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival 2010 a partnership to create online and technology solutions for both consumers and retail marketers. The goal of the partnership is to provide shoppers with an online approach to make informed store and brand choices, and provide retail marketers with advanced insights, allowing them to present optimal product selections to customers in customised formats.
To activate this partnership, Mediabrands and AOL plan to align collective resources and announce a Retail Advisory Board in the coming weeks. IPG is a key buyer of retail advertising in the US, and AOL is known for its engaged audience of more than 100 million users.
“Mediabrands partners with top retail and CPG brands, and we are committed to investing in resources to develop innovative retail solutions beyond what currently exist in the marketplace today,” said Bant Breen, President, Worldwide Digital Communications, Initiative. He added, “AOL has a substantial audience of engaged shoppers that can provide critical insights into what consumers need to enrich their online retail experience. Those same insights can also help marketers create a consistent consumer experience with the local retail store. By partnering with AOL, we can leverage our collective assets in retail, consumer insights and hyper-local to re-invent the category.”
There are two initial phases of the partnership. The first one is an advanced shopping influence study. Two initial findings of the customised retail research are that shoppers seek comparative pricing and feature comparison options, coupon integration, store locations, and more from their pre-shopping research. And shoppers are interested in an online product that blends the convenience of having all the deals, sales and special offers in one place, like the traditional insert, combined with the ability to cross-reference multiple sources.
Responding to these findings, Erin Clift, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at AOL, said, “Clearly, shoppers’ needs have evolved faster than the advertising technology. By utilising our collective resources, we can re-invent retail pre-shopping online and work to create a more efficient and effective solution for retailers. The new model for retail advertising will combine the best of digital and the best of traditional media into an online retail experience, addressing consumer wants such as comparative pricing, coupon integration, feature comparisons and more.”
The second phase includes new online marketing interface. AOL and Mediabrands will leverage research insights to create a new online pre-shopping program that will be tested with key retailers throughout Q3 and Q4 2010. The program will include five leading retail partners, and success will be measured against the creation of user training, in-store sales lift and the effectiveness of new advertising formats. Geomentum, the hyper-local division of Mediabrands, will help track sales results at the store level, and AOL will leverage its media properties to execute a consumer-driven experience throughout the summer.
The companies plan to expand the partnership to create new solutions in Hyper-Local Marketing by leveraging Mediabrands’ Geomentum, a $2 billion local advertising agency, and AOL’s hyper-local platform.