AOL recently announced that seven brands have signed on as "founding partners" for its new display advertising format called "Project Devil." These partners include Olay (Procter & Gamble), Macy's, Lexus, Suave (Unilever), Sprint, Pillsbury Crescents, and Cheerios.
Project Devil's new format offers a large ad space, which is divided into interactive panels. This gives advertisers the opportunity to customize different streams of functionality within one interface. Advertisers have the ability to customize their ad space with slideshows, video, 3-D rotation, mapping, polls, text messaging, and quizzes. Each individual ad is interactive, which eliminates the need for consumers to navigate away from the page to explore features.
AOL's Project Devil addresses some of the traditional limitations of online advertising, giving advertisers the freedom to create ads that work and look better. It definitely raises the bar for advertisers and publishers. Customers will grow to expect more from online advertising. This serves as a challenge for the smaller Internet advertisers out there. With big companies like Unilever setting the bar for this interactive advertising experience, potential customers will become easily bored with your design unless you take the initiative to present something similar for your audience.