In their words...with AOL's Ali Vilensky

In this week’s installment of “In their words,” we’re talking with Ali Vilensky, Senior Brand Partnerships Manager at AOL, about the recent House Party campaigns promoting the partnership between AOL and PBS’s MAKERS property and Unilever’s Simple Skincare.

We recently wrapped up the third House Party campaign promoting the partnership between Simple Skincare and MAKERS. (This year, the party coincided with the airing of MAKERS: Women in Hollywood on PBS.) How do these campaigns help to strengthen that overall partnership, and how have they evolved over time?

It's one thing for consumers to see advertisements showing how Simple Skincare supports this incredible women’s initiative (MAKERS), but when we can bring the experience into their homes, they get to uniquely understand and see first-hand the organic shared values of both brands.





Walmart was an important part of this year’s campaign: we selected only hosts who lived near a store, then provided them with a gift card and special shopping list to help prepare for the party. How did you decide to do this, and what were the benefits?

We chose to focus on Walmart to really highlight how important they are to Simple Skincare. The benefits were two-fold. First, since we were able to choose only hosts who were located near a Walmart store, it was easy for them and their guests to pick up supplies and discover new Simple Skincare items that they may not have noticed before. And second, by promoting Walmart and actively driving people into the store, we were able to strengthen both brands’ relationships with such an important retail partner.


In general, how important are advocacy-marketing efforts like House Party to your marketing strategy? How do they fit in with the rest of the mix?

There are very few opportunities to generate immediate consumer interactions on as large a scale as this. House Party enables both brands to highlight who they are and make sure consumers know how important their feedback is — that they recognize that we're listening to them, and that they're an important part of the identity and future of these brands.