A few months back, Arianna Huffington's role changed at AOL when she lost oversight of non-Huffington Post properties at the company, ending a stint that saw her famously clash with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington after a dispute over what he called "editorial independence."
Seems TechCrunch can't get away from Ms. Huffington that easily. Today, we're seeing her influence on the site again -- literally. This time, it's in the form of a Toyota ad.
The unit (seen below) is one of AOL's so-called Devil ads that wrap content, such as video interviews and maps and social streams, in a big, bad rectangular ad unit. This specific ad features Ms. Huffington front-and-center as the host of a series of video clips.
Why? Turns out that the ad is part of a big Huffington Post-Toyota sponsorship dubbed "Becoming Fearless," which includes a dedicated page on the Huffington Post filled with a video series and other content that fits that ideal, a HuffPo PR rep tells us. Projects such as this one are part of a continued push by the Huffington Post to help brands integrate editorial content into their marketing efforts. (The project's name originates from Ms. Huffington's own book: "On Becoming Fearless ... In Love, Work, And Life.")
Two lessons here: 1. Toyota sees some star power in Ms. Huffington. 2. Arianna is still watching, TechCrunch staff.
Update: Apparently Mr. Arrington won't be buying a Toyota anytime soon.
which ensures that I'll never consider buying a toyota for the rest of my life.— Michael Arrington (@arrington) July 19, 2012