NEW YORK: AOL hired Shift Communications as its AOR, confirmed Lauren Hurvitz, head of corporate communications at AOL.
She came on board in October and explained recent news of AOL's $315 million deal to acquire the Huffington Post had no bearing on the agency review, which the company began planning in the fall. It also had nothing to do with news the company would bring on Twitter co-founder Biz Stone as strategic adviser for social impact, or recent layoffs, which she said did not affect the communications department.
“I've been at AOL for a couple of months and there was no AOR for the company," she said. "We thought it would be really impactful for [an agency to support] different parts of our business."
Hurvitz said the agency will work on consumer PR for various functions and brands, such as AOL.com and MapQuest, but she didn't elaborate on the specific brands. The agency will also handle PR for a recently announced b-to-b platform slated to launch in the next few months. According to BtoB magazine, that division will “market the company's ad network and other products and services to online publishers and marketers.”
The review, informal and without an official RFP, involved smaller and mid-sized agencies with an “entrepreneurial spirit.”
“We wanted to work with people who could come in and have a collaborative process with our approach to consumer PR and that startup mentality,” she said.
Last February, PRWeek reported that AOL hired 104 West Partners as its AOR for MapQuest, as part of a strategy to re-energize the brand following its detachment from Time Waner.
Neither company was immediately available for comment on the status of that relationship.
AOL brands include Patch, Moviefone, and Engadget, among others.