the AIM stor yBefore today’s 18-24 year-olds used social media or AIM, their campaign objectivescommunication was inherently personal — they either talked • Increase trial and grow usage offace-to-face or over the phone. Then, there was that pivotal AIM products by 15%afternoon when AIM entered their lives, providing them witha more comfortable, convenient way to communicate. Talking • Bridge the gap between AIMonline became their preferred way to keep in touch with close Messaging and AIM Social Mediafriends and acquaintances. • Increase AIM brand awarenessAs they grew older and their schedules became unpredictable,social media oﬀered 18-24 year-olds an eﬀortless way to stay • Enhance business-to-businessconnected. They spent more time scrolling through pictures, opportunities with companiesproﬁles, and blogs, and less time logged onto AIM. The personal, seeking to reach GenUsreal-time communication that 18-24 year-olds once enjoyed was Virginia Advertising created this fourthreplaced by passive commenting and proﬁle browsing. objective to achieve the underlying goal of increasing advertising revenueWhile AIM used to be a relatively impersonal way to talk, it is now through AIMas personal as online communication gets. In today’s saturatedsocial media landscape, this is a critical point of diﬀerentiation.AIM is a personal and approachable brand, and it has greatpotential to resume an active role in the lives of 18-24 year-olds. table of contents 2 ResearchVirginia Advertising developed a campaign that facilitates 3 Industryconnections through an integrated AIM product. The Now We’re 4 Key FindingsTalking Campaign positions AIM Messaging and Social Media as 5 GenUsthe most personal way to communicate online. This campaign 6 Strategywill rekindle the desire to talk online, keep in touch, and maintain 7 Productpersonal relationships, bringing 18-24 year-olds back to AIM. 9 ERICA 10 CreativeNow we’re talking. 22 Sweepstakes 23 PR 24 B2B 25 Media 29 Budget Virginia Advertising Presents: 30 31 Evaluation Five-Year Plan The Now We’re Talking Campaign 32 Pitch & Sources 1
research Virginia Advertising conducted extensive preliminary research to reach a comprehensive understanding of our target market and its thoughts on AIM, social media, and communication. We then determined a set of research objectives necessary for understanding the behavior of this target. research objectives 1. Analyze AIM’s current position in the social media industry 2. Determine how 18-24 year-olds use social media 3. Explore how the target uses AIM Messaging and Social Media 4. Understand the aspects of communication that 18-24 year-olds value primary research methods focus groups Virginia Advertising conducted 42 focus groups. Each group concentrated on one speciﬁc segment of our target market: including high school students, college students, graduate students, and 18-24 year-olds not pursuing higher education. Four to six respondents participated in each group. surveys In order to validate the key insights discovered during focus groups, Virginia Advertising created and distributed surveys to 1,134 members of the target market across America. The surveys reinforced focus group ﬁndings on the target market’s social networking use, online habits, and communication preferences. one-on-one Virginia Advertising conducted 30 individual ethnographic studies and 13 one-on-one interviews to gain insight into users’ day-to-day routines and their perceptions on communication. secondary research methods Secondary research methods focused on databases: e.g. comScore Media Metrix, The Nielsen Company, Simmons Market Research Bureau, and SRDS Media Solutions, as well as news articles, company websites and Census data. These resources provided raw demographic data and an objective view of the target market’s habits. 1,134 survey respondents 236 focus group participants 30 personal ethnographies + 13 one-on-one interviews 1,413 total participants2
what is social media? industr y The term “social media” deﬁnes a broad category of resources that allow people to share content, opinions, and media online. Social media sites can be used as entertainment outlets, communication tools, discussion forums, or platforms for personal expression.The social media industry is dynamic and competitive. New sites are continually emerging with innovative ideas thatchange the scope of the industry. Additionally, large companies such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN have all tried to gaininﬂuential positions in this industry. Through the development of new products as well as the purchasing of existingsites, these industry leaders continue to increase their share of the overall market.Like the others, AIM has attempted to penetrate multiple segments of the social media market. type AIM oﬀerings description competition Messaging AIM Instant Messenger Instant, real-time, online Yahoo! Messenger, communication Google Talk, Skype Websites where entries are Blogs AIM Comments, AIM frequently posted, usually Blogger.com, Polls providing commentary on a thesuperﬁcial.com particular subject Chat AIM Chat, Userplane Online group chatting Campﬁre, Paltalk Online communities of people Social Networking AIM Groups, AIM interested in passively exploring Facebook, MySpace, Proﬁles, People the interests and activities of LinkedIn Connection others Media Sharing Bluestring, AIM Share Websites where users can YouTube, Flickr upload, view, and share photos, videos, music, etc.implications of social mediaAs the social media industry continues to generate more applications, newer features, and larger networks, 18-24year-olds spend more time viewing content than communicating with each other. As a result, social networking sitesencourage passive forms of communication, allowing 18-24 year-olds to keep track of their friends without actuallytalking to them. This generation is losing active, personal, online communication.where does AIM ﬁt in?AIM has the most recognized and widely used instant messaging platform in the United States, but is struggling toextend this brand value to its social media products. AIM Social Media lags behind competitors because it has failed todiﬀerentiate itself within the industry. AIM Instant Messenger was the ﬁrst mover in its ﬁeld to introduce widespread,real-time communication online. However, AIM Social Media is a follower, imitating competitors’ platforms thatfocus on passive, indirect communication. AIM has unsuccessfully put itself in direct competition with social mediapowerhouses such as Google, MySpace, and Facebook. AIM needs to ﬁnd its niche in this market. 3
key findings social media usage 18-24 year-olds are driving the social media industry In the last year alone, the target’s usage increased by 14% to just under 122 million unique visitors 18-24 year-olds use social media to look, not to communicate personally 18-24 year-olds spend a third of their online time looking at social media 61.5% of 18-24 year-olds look at other people’s proﬁles more than they care to admit 18-24 year-olds use multiple social media sites 67.1% of the target audience visit both Facebook and MySpace They don’t use social media sites at the exclusion of others; Google is used most for searching, Facebook for photo sharing, and AIM for instant messaging messaging and social media on AIM 18-24 year-olds have decreased usage of AIM Since joining an online social network, the majority of IM users have decreased their time spent instant messaging 18-24 year-old % usage of 62% say their AIM usage has decreased since high school AIM products The target spends more time checking Away Messages and Buddy Info than they do actively talking with their Buddies 18-24 year-olds are unaware of AIM Social Media AIM Proﬁles, a branch of AIM Social Media, only reaches 0.3% of 18-24 year-olds online. In contrast, Facebook and MySpace currently dominate this portion of the social media market, with Facebook reaching 40.9% of 18-24 year-olds and MySpace reaching 56.8% 84.5% of survey respondents use AIM Instant Messenger, but only 6.3% use AIM Proﬁles 84% of 18-24 year-olds use only the basic instant messaging AIM Instant function of AIM and are unaware of other functions. In AIM Proﬁles Messenger contrast, 97% of Facebook users are aware of extra features such as mini-feeds and photo tagging4
GenUsconceptual target marketDubbed by many as Generation Y, Millennials, or Generation Me, 18-24 year olds are known for their individualisticand empowered attitudes. Yet, conventional labeling of this target focuses on their individualism and neglects theimportance they place on connecting with each other. Looking beyond this stereotype, Virginia Advertising foundthat 18-24 year olds strongly value the relationships they have with their friends. Hence, Virginia Advertising namedthem “Generation Us,” or GenUs, incorporating these overlooked values and emphasizing the fact that it takes morethan one person to communicate.GenUs values1. contact GenUs wants emotional closeness and personal bonds. 2. companionship GenUs needs strong connections and relationships. 3. community GenUs desires acceptance and membership. a need to be connected Members of GenUs are experiencing many signiﬁcant changes in their lives. From graduating high school to starting college or getting their ﬁrst jobs, they are linked together the test generation by shared experiences. They look to friends during these times of change and uncertainty. GenUs served as the test generation for online social media, since it was the ﬁrst Primary research, however, shows that GenUs generation to grow up with the Internet. struggles to maintain close friendships during They have embraced and supported social these transitions. As members of GenUs grow media since its inception. and move into new stages of their lives, they want to reconnect with friends from their past, Nonetheless, the social media industry does connect with those around them, and stay not currently fulﬁll this generation’s need connected with their friends into the future. for personal communication. Focus group participants noted that many “friends” on Facebook and MySpace were nothing more than acquaintances. GenUs desires closer friendships and needs a better outlet for personal communication. 5
strategy Based on GenUs’ current beliefs about AIM Social Media, Virginia Advertising pinpointed ﬁve key insights that prevent GenUs from viewing AIM as a cohesive social media platform. The Now We’re Talking Campaign solves these problems by developing a strategy that brings personal communication to the forefront of AIM Social Media. problems solutions ineﬀective positioning reposition AIM While AIM is the leading instant messenger, all Highlight AIM’s ability to enable real-time, other AIM products are struggling to attract personal communication online. Position AIM users. Rather than using innovation to garner as a complement to, rather than a competitor users, AIM products simply imitate industry of, industry giants such as Facebook or leaders. MySpace. no clear purpose unify products AIM Social Media lacks a clear, uniﬁed Center all products around the purpose purpose. Users are not willing to spend the of enabling personal communication. time to discover the potential beneﬁts of AIM Oﬀer features that facilitate meaningful products. connections in the lives of GenUs. lack of connectivity integrate and simplify aim.com AIM Social Media products are unconnected Use aim.com as the hub that connects all of and scattered across the web, making them AIM’s features into one central, easy-to-use diﬃcult to ﬁnd. website. lack of awareness educate GenUs The variety of product features is so daunting Employ an integrated marketing campaign to that the useful aspects of AIM Social Media inform GenUs of the features available on remain undiscovered by GenUs. aim.com. passive communication prioritize real-time communication GenUs uses AIM as a force of habit to check Capitalize on this generation’s untapped away messages or make quick plans with desire for personal and active online friends. They have stopped actively engaging communication. in conversations online. positioning statement In the Now We’re Talking Campaign, Virginia Advertising highlights AIM’s ability to facilitate personal communication. The campaign also relocates AIM Social Media products to the newly simpliﬁed aim. com. By providing GenUs with an outlet for personal communication, AIM will capture an unclaimed niche in the social media spectrum.6
produc tthe new aim.comThe new aim.com combines elements of AIM Proﬁles, Userplane, People Connection, Chat, Comments, Polls, andGroups. This cohesive product can be reached from the Buddy List, thereby establishing a connection between AIM’spopular instant messenger and its new website. User-speciﬁc proﬁles, content, and chat rooms make aim.com apersonalized outlet for communication.The groups feature on aim.com oﬀers users unprecedented levels of personal interaction. This new product is acomplete departure from AIM Groups as they are now. The new groups feature uniﬁes all the most interactive AIMfeatures in a purposeful way. In these user-created groups, AIM members can talk in private chat rooms, plan events,save ﬁles, and share opinions. They oﬀer a beneﬁt that cannot be found on other social media — an interconnectedcommunity based on talking rather than looking. These groups present an opportunity for GenUs to connect to oldfriends, co-workers, family members, classmates, and more. Target research singled out this feature as the reasonGenUs would use AIM’s new website — it is applicable to diverse groups like student organizations, intimate friends,and study groups. With this new focus on community and communication, AIM emerges as the social social network. splash page aim.com The simple and clean splash page allows users AIM Instant Messenger to access their AIM homepage when they are users can reach their not on their home computer. Additionally, the aim.com homepage log-in requirement gives a sense of exclusivity by clicking this button and privacy that appeals to GenUs. on the buddy list, eliminating the need to log in. share my screen Share My Screen takes advantage of remote access technology to allow users to treat their individual monitors (screens) as one space to share photos, documents and any other content. 7
produc t a look inside the new aim.com time warner today The site leverages Time Warner polls Provides users with Media by allowing users to select, view, Based on group personalized updates and share programming interests, users on group events and generate relevant polls relevant content. Users to spark discussion tailor what news they receive ﬁlebox Bluestring technology my groups allows A forum for individuals andgroups to actively groups to store communicate photos, videos online and documentscity spotlight A reﬂection of AOL City Guide that mobile connects online Users can networks to send and receive events in their text message city alerts about group events and updates my events advertisements CircaVie technology provides an active Space for advertising borders the timeline of personal or group events website, providing an improved8 advertising layout
ERICA ERICA (Eye-gaze Response Interface Computer Aid) is patented visual software technology that tracks a participant’s eye as it scans a website and records the AREA length of time an individual spends on each section of A that site. Virginia Advertising used this software to test AIM’s current site and the proposed homepage. To test information retention and preference, a questionnaire was then given to each participant. Virginia Advertising concluded the following: current aim.com Sporadic trackings across the current site showed that there was no particular viewing pattern and that focus was not given to any relevant section. The main area of focus was the University of Phoenix advertisement (Area A) as opposed to aim.com’s foremost features. An overload of content caused many participants to overlook entire areas of the site. The questionnaire conﬁrmed this assertion when participants mentioned that the current website was too cluttered and diﬃcult to navigate. new aim.com The cluster of trackers within each feature showed that the new site was easier for participants to navigate and read through. With the Today section serving as the center, participants followed a circularAREA B pattern around the website, viewing every section and the content within it (Areas B and C) . The new layout also allowed participants to easily distinguish between the diﬀerent areas of the site. As a result, participants recalled more of the speciﬁc AREA C features from the new site when asked. graphical viewing data The 3-D bar graph to the left T indicates how long each subject in ﬁxated on particular areas as well as the percentage of total w viewing time spent there. The v results indicate that the time r spent on each section of the s page was proportional to the p amount of space allocated to a each section, conﬁrming the e strategic layout of the site. s 9
creative over view creative objective Convince GenUs that AIM is the online social medium that most eﬀectively emulates personal, real-life communication. creative research To best understand the preferences and trends present among GenUs, Virginia Advertising conducted various creative focus groups, interviews, surveys, and secondary research. This extensive degree of preparatory work provides a strong foundation for every decision made with respect to the Now We’re Talking Campaign. strategic goal Throughout our campaign, every creative idea tailors speciﬁcally to the concept of personal communication. From the intriguing Not Talking Teaser advertisements to the fully integrated Now We’re Talking Campaign, each advertisement strengthens AIM’s image as an expert in connecting and communicating. Through traditional social media, peer-to-peer communication has become passive and strikingly impersonal. Both the Teaser and the Now We’re Talking Campaign focus on emphasizing the importance of communication and the practical ease with which AIM delivers the ability to connect, reconnect, and stay connected with others. The advertisements present this message through media relevant to the everyday lives of GenUs. Additionally, the Teaser and the Now We’re Talking Campaign both focus on viral marketing to break through the clutter, spread buzz, and allow AIM to establish a niche in the social media spectrum. the year-long campaign is split into two sections: 1. the Not Talking Teaser 2. the Now We’re Talking Campaign The Not Talking Teaser is a seven week long, After seven weeks, the Not Talking Teaser unbranded teaser campaign that will generate completely transforms into the Now We’re Talking interest and create buzz for the new, redesigned Campaign. In contrast to the Teaser’s empty aim.com. With a thought-provoking approach atmosphere, the Now We’re Talking Campaign will that focuses on what the world would be proactively oﬀers a new and interesting look at the like without simple communication, the Not art of communication. Additionally, the campaign Talking Teaser highlights the need for real-time emphasizes features on the new AIM website, as connections — a need that later is fulﬁlled by well as AIM’s already-established Instant Messenger the many features of AIM’s new customizable program. website. creative components of Not Talking : creative components of Now We’re Talking: non-traditional Talking Billboards Online Banner Ads Chalk Ads non-traditional Kiosks traditional Mission Video Not Talking Billboards Commercial 1 Photo Ops traditional Online Banner Ads Commercial 2 Commercial Coﬀee Sleeves Chalk Ads Commercial 3 Print Coasters Website Print 1 Cinema Ads Flash Mob Print 2 Online TV Spots Kiosks Print 3 Episode Ads Scaﬀolding Posters Branded Trains Station Domination College Halftime Polls10 Bubble Blimp
strategic purpose the teaserThe absence of a brand on the mysterious Not Talking advertisements invites investigation, driving GenUs to theTeaser website. Focusing on out-of-home advertising gives the entire Teaser an omnipresence that makes it morerealistic and grounded. Also, the unique nature of the non-traditional and viral advertising will generate buzz and PR,which can then be leveraged on NotTalking.com. Additionally, each advertisement links directly to NotTalking.com.With its unique approach, iconic elements, and wide reach, the Not Talking Teaser is poised to get people talking.the mood of the Not Talking TeaserThe mood of the Not Talking advertisements is mildly gloomy with an accompanying air of levity. The Teaser is notdesigned to scare consumers, but rather to present them with a skewed representation of the world they live in.The bleakness of the situations presented conveys a sense of urgency to GenUs, encouraging them to communicatemore eﬀectively. Not Talking advertisements demonstrate the emptiness of a world without personal communication intrigue GenUs, pique their interest, and produce excitement about the Teaser highlight the need for personal expression and communication promise an impending solution to the problems presented in the Teasersymbols of the Not Talking TeaserDespite the lack of an AIM logo on the Not Talking advertisements, the target will still perceive the advertisements aspart of a uniﬁed campaign due to a series of symbols present in each one.the static speech bubble slogan countdown The interactive slogan underscores all of the The counter, which counts down from visuals of the Teaser. “Not Talking?” is a rhetorical the beginning to the end of the Not question directed speciﬁcally at the target, and Talking Teaser, will create buzz and an invitation to GenUs to consider the state of excitement around the teaser messageThis speech bubble ﬁlled with static communication today. Additionally, the slogan and advertisements. Thematically, thesymbolizes the Teaser’s ﬁxation on a world is also the Teaser web address, so there is an countdown sparks desire and expectationwithout communication. It serves as the explicit link between every advertisement and within consumers for a redemptive solutionvisual indicator of the Teaser. NotTalking.com. to the problems presented by the Teaser. website All traditional and non-traditional Teaser advertisements will direct consumers to NotTalking.com, which will serve as the viral hub of the Teaser. It prominently features web versions of the traditional advertisements, as well as all other viral content. The bottom of the site contains the oﬃcial Teaser countdown in real-time, as well as a link to information about the Not Talking Sweepstakes. Additionally, Virginia Advertising purchased the NotTalking.com domain name. 11
teaser traditional print advertisement The Teaser traditional advertisements convey the same sense of emptiness present in the rest of the Not Talking Teaser. By keeping the same mood, symbols, and cast in both the television commercials and print advertisements, the Teaser maintains a consistent style and feel. Additionally, the above print advertisement is a two-page spread, completely capturing the viewer’s attention. The café is an iconic meeting place and a familiar gathering spot for GenUs. The traditional Teaser advertisements examine the eﬀects of removing conversation from these societal forums of communication. The overbearing absence of dialogue conveys a sense of empty discontentment, evident in the characters’ lackluster facial expressions and mindless activities. Heightened sound eﬀects in the television advertisement highlight this sense of absence. This lack of communication intrigues viewers and the presence of the website address directs them to NotTalking.com. :30 spot A café that should be lively feels empty and bleak because people are not talking. The commercial starts with The protagonist looks at others, He is met by blank stares. Everyone in the café is ignoring television static and zooms out to trying to make conversation. each other. show a café. Sound eﬀects are heightened to A close-up on the protagonist A wide shot of everyone The website address prompts highlight the absence of talking. shows that he is dismayed and emphasizes the empty mood of viewers to ﬁnd out more.12 unfulﬁlled. the café.
teaser non -traditional online banner ads The banner ads will be featured on websites popular among GenUs. Since the graphics are unbranded, the ads will stand out from others on the page. The abrupt image of the static speech bubble piques their interest and stresses the guerilla component of the Not Talking Teaser. Relying on consumer curiosity and the convenience of a one-click not talking? link, the banner advertisements will be eﬀective for leading users to NotTalking.com. ﬂash mob The “ﬂash mob” is a revolutionary marketing concept in which a large group of people assemble quickly in a public place to perform a synchronized, unusual action for a period of time. They then quickly disperse, inspiring curiosity among bystanders. Videos of ﬂash mobs currently posted on the Internet have gotten as many as 9 million views. In the Not Talking ﬂash mobs, participants freeze in the middle of conversation in busy public places. Videos of these ﬂash mobs are posted on NotTalking.com to generate conversation. billboards These sets of digital billboards give the Not Talking Teaser a presence in major cities. The positioning of the static speech bubble gives the impression that the people pictured are failing to communicate with each other. The sporadic appearance of the NotTalking.com web address engages the target, while the counter builds suspense for the imminent launch of the website. kiosks In the Teaser, these kiosks act as sidewalk distractions designed to build buzz. The countdown again builds suspense and intrigue for the end of the Teaser. Additionally, to avoid public safety concerns, the kiosks will be labeled with the NotTalking.com web address, and their installation will be cleared with city oﬃcials before the Teaser launches. scaﬀolding posters To make these street-level posters more interactive, the static in the speech bubble will be replaced with a quick response (QR) code. This new technology allows passersby to photograph this barcode on their camera phone, text it to the number provided, and receive a text message containing information about the Teaser, including a live countdown. chalkings Environmentally-safe and city-approved chalk advertisements creatively promote the Not Talking Teaser. Graﬃti methods such as stenciling and chalking bring the Teaser to the street in an engaging way. 13
now we’re talking The Not Talking advertisements spark a desire in GenUs for talking, sharing, and expression. Consequently, at the start of the Now We’re Talking Campaign, AIM can capitalize on those desires by appealing directly to the communication needs of GenUs. The Teaser is timed to end the exact minute that the new website launches, and at the same moment, the Now We’re Talking Campaign begins. In contrast to the Not Talking Teaser, the atmosphere of the Now We’re Talking Campaign is optimistic and bright. The campaign informs users of the new product attributes of aim.com through surreal imagery designed to highlight AIM’s new social media features. The colors are brighter, the tone is lighter, and the problems posed by the Teaser are now solved in the Now We’re Talking Campaign. Most importantly, the Now We’re Talking Campaign respects the intelligence and maturity of GenUs. The Now We’re Talking Campaign does more than just amuse or inform the target – it establishes AIM as a relevant and useful product, allowing users to connect, reconnect, and stay connected with each other. The advertisements establish aim.com’s new beneﬁts as revelatory and practical. The site’s features are explained in an authentic and straightforward voice. Creative executions of the Now We’re Talking print advertisements and television commercials are divided into three phases, each focusing on a major reason that GenUs uses online communication. Phase 1: Reconnect – To rediscover lost friendships from the past Phase 2 : Connect – To foster relationships with those around them Phase 3 : Stay Connected – To eﬀectively keep in touch with friends into the future Virginia Advertising designed this phased approach to maximize the eﬀectiveness of the Now We’re Talking Campaign and reﬂect the multi-faceted nature of AIM’s new website. Each phase emotionally appeals to a diﬀerent way that GenUs communicates online. In the ﬁrst phase of creative executions, AIM prompts GenUs to rediscover friendships lost over time. The second phase focuses on AIM’s ability to connect 18-24 year-olds with the people around them. Finally, the third phase highlights the need to keep in touch with friends as time passes. The bottom copy of each print advertisement emphasizes the speciﬁc product attributes of the new aim.com that help GenUs achieve the goals set forth in each phase. the anatomy of the slogan now we’re talking instant community communication “Now” represents the immediate “We’re” signiﬁes the “Talking” is the word that communication oﬀered by AIM. interconnected network of GenUs uses to describe users AIM oﬀers. what they do on AIM. They don’t “chat.” They don’t “IM.” They “talk.” Finally, this slogan deﬁnes AIM’s new strategy — from this point on, it will focus solely on personal communication. Additionally, the phrase Now We’re Talking is commonly used to signify a breakthrough; it represents a “eureka moment.” Using it as AIM’s slogan shows that the Now We’re Talking Campaign is not only a solution to the problems posed by the Teaser, but to the state of online communication as a whole.14
now we’re talking Now We’re Talking advertisements motivate the target to think about the importance of personal communication demonstrate the uniqueness and practicality of aim.com’s new integrated features expand the target’s perception of AIM from an Instant Messaging client to a fully integrated and forward-thinking communication tool enable GenUs to connect, reconnect, and stay connected with their friendsThe idea is to simply take AIM’s message oﬀ-line and into places where GenUs congregates and communicates.By focusing the non-traditional advertising in cafés, subways, college restaurants, and other high-traﬃc GenUsestablishments, the Now We’re Talking Campaign associates itself with socialization and communication. By thetime the Now We’re Talking Campaign ends, aim.com will not only be associated with the concept of eﬀectivecommunication, it will deﬁne it.When the Now We’re Talking Campaign commences, all of the static speech bubbles reclaim their recognizable redAIM ﬁlling. The bubble conversion provides a visual link from the Teaser to the Now We’re Talking Campaign, clearlypresenting a cohesive story for consumers to follow. Though familiar, the AIM bubble is currently dismissible inconsumers’ minds; however, re-introducing it as the symbolic replacement for static establishes AIM’s image as therefreshing and logical resolution of the Not Talking Teaser. not talking?When the Now We’re Talking Campaign begins, the Teaser website redirects users to the new aim.com. There theysee a video describing AIM’s new mission.communications missionThe goals and reasons for the Now We’re Talking Campaignare described straight to the target in this dynamic andthought-provoking video. The urgent tone of the videoestablishes the need for GenUs to start communicating andconnecting on AIM. Word-of-mouth is the most commonreason for GenUs to visit a website, and this video’s uniqueand memorable execution will generate talk about AIMamong GenUs. 15
phase 1 reconnect The “reconnect” traditional advertisements emphasize the features of AIM that allow users to rediscover old friendships. The yearbook is a classic icon of nostalgia with which GenUs can identify. Yearbooks preserve memories of old friendships that have faded over time, and prompt the question, "What are my friends doing now?” By showing the people in the pictures magically leaning out of their frames to communicate and share media with each other, the advertisements demonstrate AIM’s unique ability to revitalize personal relationships. :30 spot Pictures in a yearbook come to life, symbolizing AIM’s ability to reconnect old friends. 4 The commercial opens on an A few pictures over, her friend calls They begin to happily The other pictures also become unmoving picture of a girl in a her name and she comes to life. reminisce about their past. animated and share stories and yearbook. information with each other. A wide shot shows all of the The shot zooms out to reveal that Voiceover explains the new The AIM logo and Now We’re yearbook pictures magically this is all happening on a laptop. features of AIM that apply Talking slogan appear.16 interacting at once. speciﬁcally to reconnecting.
phase 2 connect The “connect” traditional advertisements depict AIM as an eﬀective means for mobilization, socialization, and communication. The employee of the month board represents aim.com’s ability to provide groups of GenUs with a private environment for personal interaction. The employees pictured are planning a birthday party for their co-worker, emphasizing the features of AIM that allow users to eﬀectively coordinate with their groups. The magical interaction present in these advertisements provides a visual link to the other phases in the Now We’re Talking Campaign.:30 spotPictures of co-workers come to life to plan a party, representing AIM’s ability to connect members of groups. The commercial opens on a café The pictures begin to move as one One employee walks through the Two other co-workers light employee of the month board. employee blows up a balloon. frames, helping another put out candles on a cake together, streamers. leaning out of their picture frames. A wide shot shows all of the The shot zooms out to reveal that Voiceover explains the new The AIM logo and Now We’re employee pictures magically this is all happening on a laptop.. features of AIM that apply Talking slogan appear. 17 interacting at once. speciﬁcally to connecting with others.
phase 3 stay connected The “stay connected” traditional advertisements illustrate AIM’s capacity to connect friends across distances. In keeping with the theme of magical interaction, three friends talk face-to-face from three diﬀerent cities, sharing media and staying updated with each others’ lives. The visual style of the advertisements focuses on the features of aim.com that allow GenUs to easily keep in touch. :30 spot A girl in a café magically talks with her faraway friends, showcasing AIM’s ability to help friends stay connected over time. 2 3 4 The commercial opens on a girl in a A close-up of the pictures shows Suddenly, the New York street On the San Francisco street, her New York café, wistfully looking at that she is looking at her friends. magically transforms into friend appears and leans through pictures. a San Francisco boulevard. the window to talk to her. 5 6 7 8 The other window becomes The shot zooms out to reveal that Voiceover explains the new The AIM logo and Now We’re Washington D.C., and the second this is all happening on a laptop. features of AIM that apply Talking slogan appear. friend magically leans in. speciﬁcally to staying connected18 with others
transitionals non-traditionalWhen the Now We’re Talking Campaign begins, several elements of the Teaser physically transform from theirprevious Not Talking appearance to a new Now We’re Talking counterpart. These transitional advertisements providea conceptual link between the two stages of the campaign and oﬀer solutions that directly resolve the dissonancecreated by the Teaser.online banner adsMotion-based banner advertisements capture users’ attention as the Teaser’s static speech bubble morphs into acolorful, branded link to the new AIM website. Since 87% of GenUs continually visits the same websites, repeatedexposure to AIM via banner ads on these websites will generate a positive feeling towards the product. not talking?kiosksWhen the Teaser countdown reaches zero, the sidewalk distractions morph into usable AIM computer kiosks.The transition physically represents a shift to the integrated website and practical message of Now We’re Talking.Pedestrians are given a unique opportunity to not only try the new aim.com, but to also interact via video chat withAIM computer kiosks in other cities.talking billboardsTalking billboards interact with each other and consumers, putting a non-traditional spin on a traditional medium.Two billboards, placed in close proximity to each other, digitally converse in AIM speech bubbles. The pre-programmed conversation corresponds with the phases of the Now We’re Talking Campaign. Placed in cities withhigh concentrations of 18-24 year-olds, the advertisements will reach a large number of GenUs. I haven’t seen Yeah, how’ve you since high you been? school 19
non-traditional out-of-home GenUs is highly mobile — they are always on the go. The Now We’re Talking out-of-home advertisements are uniquely designed to break through the clutter and capture 18-24 year-olds’ attention despite their busy schedules. chalk Now We’re Talking chalk advertisements depict surreal imagery concurrent with the theme of the campaign. Executed in a compelling and artistic style, the chalking will expand GenUs’ vision of AIM as a relevant and revolutionary communication experience. photo opportunity The interactive AIM Photo Op structure provides pedestrians the chance to uniquely share their thoughts with their friends through AIM. Photo Op participants type their message into a keyboard console, and it is displayed on a digital speech bubble with which they can pose. The digital text in the bubble visually displays the fulﬁllment of talking, while the resulting photo conveys the personal nature of the message. branded trains Subway cars in select cities are ﬁtted with AIM speech bubble wall-clings. The bubbles contain diﬀerent statements simulating conversations and are placed to create the illusion that they are actually being spoken by subway passengers. 50 diﬀerent branded trains in each chosen city will inundate GenUs with the AIM brand. station domination AIM will brand ﬁve subway stations heavily frequented by GenUs in major cities. Most of the advertisements expand upon the traditional print campaign, featuring large wall posters of the same characters engaged in dynamic interactions with each other. The rest of the station advertisements allow users to interact with the campaign. Passengers walking idly through the station are invited to communicate their thoughts by writing on a wall in a giant AIM speech bubble. online word-of-mouth Word-of-mouth advertising strongly inﬂuences the opinions of GenUs. Online videos are often shared and passed through networks of friends. episode ads To pique user interest, longer versions of the commercials will be posted online to viral sites such as YouTube.com. These extended versions allow consumers to engage with the commercials beyond their television sets and give them an opportunity to interact with AIM by creating imitation versions.20
college campuses non-traditionalCollege campuses are concentrated areas where almost half of 18-24 year-olds live and interact. They are highlyeﬀective areas for intensive marketing because they are target-speciﬁc and target-relevant. College is a place whereviral content is culturally relevant and spreads quickly.coﬀee sleevesCoﬀee and café beverages are a cultural staple for GenUs. In 2007, 18-24 year-olds wereresponsible for a majority of the increase in coﬀee and café beverage consumption in theUnited States . Branded coﬀee sleeves contain the Now We’re Talking slogan along with theaim.com web address. As the cup is lifted to the target’s mouth, the sleeve design createsthe illusion that the AIM speech bubble is being spoken by the drinker. coasters Bars and clubs are popular destinations for 18-24 year-olds on a typical night out. Branded drink coasters will be distributed to bars in top college towns, and feature artwork consistent with the traditional advertisements. The coasters present AIM as a communication enabler and relate AIM to real-life socialization.bubble blimpThis radio-controlled AIM blimp travels through college basketball arenas.Branded with the logo, colors, and slogan of the Now We’re TalkingCampaign, it serves as a conversation starter. college halftime polls Millions of college students either attend athletic events or watch collegiate sports on television, and basketball arenas are a great space for high-frequency advertising. AIM advertisements are shown throughout college arenas, and an interactive poll promotes the Polls feature by allowing GenUs to text in their opinions during games.multimediaMembers of GenUs grew up in a digital world, and thus, their attitudes and behaviors have been shaped by technology to anextent far greater than previous generations. The Now We’re Talking Campaign appeals to GenUs speciﬁcally by speaking tothem through familiar multimedia platforms.cinema ads online TV spotsThe following spot runs during movies anticipated to be The following spot will also appear during online TVpopular among GenUs. Due to the captive audience in movie shows popular with GenUs. Consumers who watch TVtheaters, these advertisements will capture the target’s online are 47% more engaged than those who watchattention. programs on TV sets. the “Come Together” spot premise: Groups of people congregate and socialize, symbolizing AIM’s ability to connect people. Diverse groups of people walk They meet and begin to socialize A bird’s eye view shot shows that The AIM logo and Now We’re 21 determinedly to a central location. excitedly with each other. the people are standing in the Talking slogan appear. shape of the AIM speech bubble.
sweepstakes the Not Talking Sweepstakes For the duration of the Teaser, AIM will run the Not Talking Sweepstakes. This contest prompts NotTalking.com visitors to create and submit their own commercial depicting other scenarios where conversation is visibly absent. AIM will screen and post acceptable submissions on the website, where users will vote for their favorite videos. When NotTalking.com transforms into the new aim.com, the video with the most votes will win the grand prize. Capitalizing on AOL’s relationship with Time Warner Media, the winner and friends will be ﬂown to a Time Warner studio to spend a day on the set of a popular series, such as HBO’s Entourage. An online video of their experience will be posted on aim.com, where users can view and comment on it. the Not Talking sweepstakes engages GenUs in the Teaser prompts user-generated content encourages users to share experiences the Now We’re Talking Road Trip Branching oﬀ of the themes of the Now We’re Talking Campaign, AIM will hold a Now We’re Talking Road Trip which will encourage GenUs to reconnect, connect, and stay connected to their friends. Participation in the sweepstakes will increase usage of Groups, Events, and Polls on the new aim.com. In November 2008, AIM will run television commercials to raise awareness for the sweepstakes. The Road Trip bus will visit 10 selected college campuses where representatives will encourage students to sign up through free promotional materials. AIM will provide a state-of-the-art tour bus for a week-long road trip across the United States, driving the winning group from New York City to Los Angeles. The winning team will update their group’s page on aim.com with videos and blogs of their adventures, allowing users to stay involved in the sweepstakes as AOL’s Mapquest tracks the bus across the nation. what? how? why? Upload content Teams of 5 share photos, videos, To allow GenUs to reconnect, connect, and stay and stories about their friendships connected with friends through personal interaction Teams encourage other users to vote To drive users to My Groups and Polls via the Polls application; the team with throughout the sweepstakes, increasing traﬃc Get votes most the votes by the end of February on aim.com. 2009 wins To leverage AOL’s Mapquest, allowing users The trip will be documented in March on to track the team’s progress and maintain Watch the trip aim.com using Mapquest users’ interests in the promotion22
public relationsPR initiativesAs a part of Virginia Advertising’s integrated marketing plan, public relations initiatives foster a positive perception ofthe AIM brand in the minds of GenUs. This PR reinforces the main message behind the Now We’re Talking Campaign:AIM is the instant, personal communication tool that connects users to one another through the revampedaim.com. These PR eﬀorts generate signiﬁcant media coverage, both local and national, and engage GenUs with thesweepstakes and the new aim.com.Buzz-worthy non-traditional advertising will attract positive media attention. AIM will also provide media outlets,such as television networks and magazine publishers, with media kits. These media kits include AIM promotionalitems and press releases on each piece of non-traditional media. Meanwhile, the sweepstakes promotes nationalawareness of the Now We’re Talking Campaign and the new aim.com.philanthropic eﬀortsGenUs values social responsibility at home and abroad. AIM can capitalize on these values by creating a positivebrand image through philanthropic eﬀorts. “One-ﬁfth of humankind is not enjoying the fruits of the revolution in science and technology.” — Ambassador Mbanefo, in a speech to UNESCOThe lack of Internet capability signiﬁcantly limits the informational, educational, and economic growth and successof these countries. With Internet access and proper education, people can utilize resources to reap the beneﬁts ofdigital trade, online libraries, online education, telemedicine, and global communication.where does AIM come in?As a part of the Now We’re Talking Campaign, AIM will work with the Global Alliance to Bridge the Global DigitalDivide, to leverage its core competency of communication and provide a vital resource to those in need. Withthe Alliance, AIM will provide citizens of developing countries with computers, Internet access, and technologyeducation so they can share in the beneﬁts of the Internet. GenUs is concerned with social responsibility, and AIM’sparticipation in this eﬀort will positively inﬂuence the perception of the AIM brand. the global digital divide 63% of GenUs feel personally responsible for making a diﬀerence in the world. Computers per 100 people 0-4.54 25.36-49.74 4.54-12.56 49.74-89 12.56-25.36 No Data 23
b2b business-to-business advertising The newly developed AIM website opens doors for a dramatic increase in advertising revenue for AOL. Businesses have the opportunity to cater their marketing eﬀorts to a highly motivated, highly engaged, and highly targeted audience. Virginia Advertising established one ﬁnal objective to the Now We’re Talking Campaign: Enhance business- to-business opportunities with companies seeking to reach GenUs. Experts on interactive media and marketing industries project that spending on social media websites will escalate to $1.9 billion in 2010. The campaign uses a 3-pronged approach to achieve this objective: 1 Place print advertisements in industry publications such as Advertising Age. The advertisements highlight the projected 80% of 18-24 year-olds targeted by the Now We’re Talking Campaign. 2 Distribute press releases to industry publications to promote the innovative marketing approach of the Now We’re Talking Campaign. 3 Improve aim.com layout to more eﬀectively draw attention to advertisements.24
media media objectives integrate advertising into media channels to which GenUs is frequently exposed concentrate speciﬁc advertising eﬀorts to geographic areas that reach the highest number of GenUs for each media outlet reach 80% of the target market during the campaign through the use of multiple, diverse vehicles provide repeated opportunities for target market to experience advertising maintain a budget of no more than $25 million, allowing 13% for production and a 5% contingency for miscellaneous costsmedia planCreative executions of the Now We’re Talking Campaign appear in the twelve cities with the highest concentrationof GenUs — eight of those cities are also top IM usage cities. Additionally, to reach out to college students, theNow We’re Talking Campaign appears in the ten largest college campuses and the ﬁve largest college basketballarenas in the nation. Virginia Advertising recommends that AIM focus a majority of its media dollars on thoseareas to leave a deep impression on consumers. This plan is more cost-eﬀective than focusing on the entire U.S.—it reaches the greatest number of GenUs at the lowest cost. The exceptions to this media focus are TV, print, andonline initiatives, which appear nationwide.media strategyVirginia Advertising uses both traditional and non-traditional media, placing a heavier emphasis on non-traditional advertising. In fact, 60% of all projected contacts will be achieved through non-traditional media.Advertisements are placed where GenUs often socializes and communicates. By directing advertising dollarsinto an array of coordinated media choices, Virginia Advertising ensures that the Now We’re Talking Campaigndelivers its message.media tactics: TVcable television 30-second ads during primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. and late fringe/night 11 p.m. – 1 a.m.Rationale: Cable television allows AIM to speak to GenUs on a national scope.Selections: National spots on the six cable networks with the highest reach of 18-24 year-olds (MTV, Comedy Central, TBS, VH1, MTV2, Cartoon Network — Adult Swim)Reach: 12,800,000 Network Frequency Reach of GenUs Cost per Unit Total Cost MTV 256 12,196,000 $6,500 $1,664,000 Comedy Central 192 11,007,000 $3,000 $576,000 TBS 128 9,136,000 $2,500 $320,000 VH1 192 8,797,000 $4,000 $768,000 MTV2 256 5,914,000 $1,300 $332,800 CN- Adult Swim 256 5,177,000 $2,500 $640,000 Total 1280 12,800,000 $19,800 $4,300,800 25
media media tactics: print traditional magazines Four-color, two-page spreads for Teaser Four-color, one-page ads for campaign Rationale: GenUs is more likely to be engaged while reading magazines targeted to their interests. 58% of GenUS agrees that magazines help them learn about what is “in” and 72% prefer reading magazines over ﬁnding the same information online. Selections: Us Weekly, Cosmopolitan, GamePro, Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan en Español Reach: 14,458,000 Publication Frequency Reach of GenUs Cost per Unit Total Cost Us Weekly 12 3,444,000 $168,180 $1,816,344 Cosmpolitan 8 5,343,000 $205,600 $1,480,320 GamePro 8 2,090,000 $30,000 $216,000 Rolling Stone 8 3,581,000 $157,880 $1,136,736 Cosmopolitan 4 43,520 $25,800 $103,200 en Español Total 40 14,501,520 $587,460 $4,752,600 hispanic advertising In order to capture the fastest growing ethnic segment of the U.S. population, Virginia Advertising created print advertisements to speciﬁcally target the Hispanic market—relaying the Now We’re Talking message in Spanish. By placing the advertisements in Cosmopolitan en Español, the campaign targets Hispanic women aged 18-24. Cosmopolitan en Español is an ideal selection as, on average, readers spend 1.5 hours with the magazine, read it 4.8 times, and 61% save all or some of each issue they read. A recent study by BIGresearch shows that Hispanics’ purchases are inﬂuenced by magazine advertising more than any other ethnic group, verifying print as an eﬀective medium to reach Hispanics.26
mediamedia tactics: non-traditional online advertising Banner advertising for all campaign promotions and advertisements during online TV shows Rationale: Banner advertisements are eﬀective for reaching GenUs at the point of purchase. Selections: Facebook, MTV.com Reach: 15,860,362 online word-of-mouth Various free online methods for all campaign promotions Rationale: Free online promotional methods are viral, create buzz, and allow GenUs to exchange excitement about AIM. Selections: Facebook, MySpace, Heyspread.com, YouTube, Blogs, Flash Mobs Reach: 8,000,000 cinema ads Cinema Ads shown in theaters in the top 12 Designated Market Areas (DMAs), June 24-July 24, 2009 Rationale: Cinema advertising has an average recall rate of 58%. Selections: Movies released in July 2009, including the expected blockbuster Transformers 2 Reach: 2,118,306 branded trains and station domination 50 completely covered subway trains and 5 subway stations Rationale: As many as 60% of GenUs use public transportation in large cities. Selections: The top 5 DMAs for public transportation used by GenUs (NY, LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco) during the month of June—prime time for summer traveling and internships Reach: 2,182,879 kiosks Two computer kiosks in each of the 5 DMAs Rationale: Test kiosks featuring the new AIM oﬀer a unique way for users to interact with the product out-of-home, and also create brand awareness. Selections: Two kiosks placed in each of the top 5 DMAs with the highest GenUs population (NY, LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas/Fort Worth) Reach: 1,735,200 guerrilla advertising Spray chalking, sidewalk distractions, QR-coded scaﬀolding posters in cities Rationale: Guerrilla eﬀorts are an inexpensive way to create buzz and brand awareness for both the Teaser and the new product launch. Selection: Guerrilla advertising in 12 DMAs with the highest population of GenUs Reach: 5,717,700 27
mediatalking billboards Digital billboards placed in top DMAs Rationale: Interactive billboards engage 18-24 year-olds in an innovative way. Selections: The billboards are located in the 5 DMAs with the highest population of GenUs (NY, LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas/Fort Worth) Reach: 2,313,600 college outreach Coasters, coﬀee cup sleeves Rationale: 66% of GenUs are full-time students. Additionally, buzz travels quickly in colleges due to tight social networks. Selection: 10 colleges with highest enrollment (Ohio State, University of Florida, Arizona State, University of Minnesota, University of Texas at Austin, University of Central Florida, Texas A&M, Michigan State, Penn State, University of Wisconsin) Reach: 462,579 college basketball Digital advertisements around arena, bubble blimp, interactive polls Rationale: Basketball arenas are a more intimate setting than football stadiums, facilitating more interaction and higher recall. Selection: 5 largest college basketball arenas (Syracuse, Tennessee, Kentucky, UNC, Georgetown) Reach: 24,692/game sweepstakes Not Talking Sweepstakes and Now We’re Talking Road Trip Rationale: Sweepstakes engage AIM users with the campaign and drive traﬃc to the NotTalking.com and aim.com websites. Reach: 4,500,000 PR initiatives & philanthropy Media kits, talk show appearances, partnerships, and philanthropic eﬀorts Rationale: Media kits will help promote the new AIM and sweepstakes while partnerships play on the fact that GenUs is generally more trusting of third party opinions. Additionally, philanthropy eﬀorts create a positive image for the AIM brand. Selection: Media kits sent to targeted cable networks, consumer magazines, and popular talk shows as well as the 6 largest and most connected college campuses visited by the AIM bus to promote the Now We’re Talking Road Trip Reach: 25 kits sent to our selected cable networks, consumer magazine publishers and universities B2B Four color, 1 page print ads in Advertising Age Rationale: Advertising Age is a publication that is read by many agencies. Media planners will see the advertisement and realize that they can advertise on AIM through group pages. Selection: Advertisements run 8 times during the year in Advertising Age Reach: 8,071 Media Planners and Buyers28
campaign budget budget Average Cost Total Cost Units (per unit in $) (in $)Traditional MediaCable TV (:30s) 1280 see TV chart $4,300,800Print 40 see Magazine chart $4,752,600Total Traditional Media $9,053,400Non-Traditional MediaOnlineBanner Ads 2 months $ 253,275 $ 506,550Online TV Spots (:15s) 10,000,000 $25/1000 visitors $ 250,000Online Word-of-Mouth N/A N/A $ -Total Online $ 756,550Out-of-HomeCinema Ads 144 $ 2,871 $ 413,424Branded Trains 50 $ 44,000 $ 2,200,000Station Domination 5 $ 600,000 $ 3,000,000Kiosks 10 $ 5,000 $ 50,000Talking Billboards 40 $ 5,000 $ 200,000QR Codes 285,000 $ 1 $ 285,000Guerrilla Posters N/A N/A $ -Photo Opportunity 12 $ 2,500 $ 30,000Spray Chalk Ads N/A N/A $ -Total Out-of-Home $ 6,178,424CollegeCoasters 526,316 $ 0.19 $ 100,000Coﬀee Sleeves 3,333,333 $ 0.03 $ 100,000College Basketball 5 schools $150,000/season $ 750,000Total College $ 950,000PRNot Talking Sweepstakes N/A N/A $ 5,000Now We’re Talking Road Trip N/A N/A $ 500,000Media Kits 25 $ 10.67 $ 267Philanthropy N/A N/A $ 250,000Total PR $ 755,267B2BPrint 12 $ 30,600 $ 367,200Total B2B $ 367,200Total Non-Traditional Media $ 9,007,441Total Media Budget $18,060,841Production Costs (15%) $ 3,750,000Contingency (5%) $ 1,250,000Permissions & Royalties $ 500,000Total $23,560,841 campaign timeline Sept 08 Oct 08 Nov 08 Dec 08 Jan 09 Feb 09 Mar 09 Apr 09 May 09 Jun 09 Jul 09 Aug 09 Cable TV (:30s) Weekly Print and B2B Print Monthly Print Banner Ads Online TV Spots (:15s) Online Word-of-Mouth Cinema Ads Brand Trains and Station Domination AIM Kiosks Talking Billboards QR Codes Guerrilla Posters Sidewalk Distraction Spray Chalk Ads Coasters C0ﬀee Sleeves College Basketball Not Talking Sweepstakes Now We’re Talking Road Trip PR Initiatives Philanthropy 29
evaluation Virginia Advertising’s Not Talking Teaser and Now We’re Talking Campaign will reach 80% of GenUs. The following chart details how the Teaser and the campaign meet the objectives Virginia Advertising set out to accomplish. objective tactic evaluation Increase trial and The Not Talking Teaser highlights Measure the success of these three grow usage of AIM the need for talking among GenUs, important benchmarks: products by 15% while the Now We’re Talking Campaign shows that AIM is the Increase trial of new users by 760,000 via best product to meet this need. piquing their interest in AIM Virginia Advertising establishes AIM as a cohesive, purposeful social Increase usage of active users by 49.9 media tool that facilitates personal minutes per month via educating them on communication and adds value to the beneﬁts of the new aim.com the lives of GenUs Get inactive users to start logging into AIM again by reminding 95,000 former AIM users of the value of talking Bridge the gap The new aim.com website combines Measure the number of hits and minutes between AIM all of AIM Social Media into a spent per month on aim.com. Conduct a Messaging and AIM cohesive product while linking it to benchmark study at the beginning of the Social Media the Buddy List Teaser and the end of the campaign Increase AIM brand The Now We’re Talking Campaign Measure awareness through focus groups, awareness educates GenUs about the features surveys, AIM keyword searches, traﬃc to of aim.com, and reinforces the fact aim.com, and bookmarking that AIM stands for active, instant, personal communication Enhance business- Virginia Advertising uses print Measure the increase in advertising revenue to-business advertisements and press releases from AIM Instant Messenger and aim.com opportunities with to promote the Now We’re Talking companies seeking Campaign, as well as to improve to reach GenUs aim.com’s advertising layout30
five-year plan After the conclusion of the Now We’re Talking Campaign, AIM must maintain its positioning as the place to go for personal communication. To assist them in this regard, Virginia Advertising developed a ﬁve-year plan to build on the momentum generated by the initial 12-month campaign period. Now We’re Talking Campaign: future goals As the Now We’re Talking Campaign comes to a close in August 2009, the following goals provide a map for AIM to follow in order to keep increasing its user base. mobile Smartphones, mobile phones with PC-like capabilities, are expecting double-digit growth over the next ﬁve years. To remain relevant, AIM needs to establish itself in the mobile realm. GenUs will be able to stay in contact with their friends even when they are not at their computer, through text and instant messages, uploading content to their group pages, and receiving personalized content on their phones. alliances/ implications of the Bebo acquisition:acquisitions AOL’s acquisition of the social networking site Bebo is primarily intended to boost AOL’s presence abroad and draw in revenue through engagement advertising. Cannibalization of aim.com should not be a concern. Although Bebo oﬀers groups, aim.com will be viewed as the expert in groups, giving it a niche appeal. One advantage of AOL’s purchase of Bebo is its ties to cellular carriers. Cost is one roadblock to widespread usage of mobile services. However, ad-supported cellular would drive down costs, thus encouraging users to take greater advantage of AIM’s new mobile capabilities. implications of the strategic alliance with Google: There are two primary beneﬁts from AOL’s strengthened alliance with Google. The ﬁrst beneﬁt is in search capabilities. Now, AOL content can be found through Google search, the leading search engine for GenUs. This ability to ﬁnd relevant AIM content, will drive new traﬃc to aim.com. The second beneﬁt comes from the alliance with GChat. As an up and coming IM platform, this partnership reduces the competition that would exist between the two. market The Now We’re Talking Campaign seeks to add a hook for 12-17 year olds. One of AIM’s strong points is the fact that people continue to use it out of habit. Therefore, AIM needs to foster these ties whenexpansion users are young. Moreover, this group is coming of age at a time when mobile capabilities are at the forefront of technology, making 12-17 year-olds digital and mobile natives. This makes the integration of mobile in the next ﬁve years a natural and intuitive step. staying As social networking sites continue to develop their own instant messaging platforms, AIM needs todiﬀerentiated continue to establish itself as the place to go for personal communication. AIM should not replace other social networks, but rather serve as one component of a user’s social experience. open AIM The newly released Open AIM 2.0 embraces the industry trend of a more open Internet. AIM needs to continue to open its platform to other instant messaging providers, as is executed eﬀectively in AOL’s 2.0 current relationship with Google. The ability to talk to other friends regardless of their IM provider incentivizes people to sign back on to AIM. 31