Google’s Gradual Embrace Of Conventional Marketing
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) covers Google’s slow, ambivalent move toward traditional marketing. During its first 10 years, the company grew almost entirely on user word of mouth and PR-driven news coverage. That has helped create a culture that is somewhat biased against traditional advertising. Yet we’ve seen more traditional ad buys from Google in […]
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) covers Google’s slow, ambivalent move toward traditional marketing. During its first 10 years, the company grew almost entirely on user word of mouth and PR-driven news coverage. That has helped create a culture that is somewhat biased against traditional advertising. Yet we’ve seen more traditional ad buys from Google in the US recently with outdoor advertising for Maps/Transit and Goog411.
Google has also done a fair amount of display advertising online for Checkout and it does a ton of search ads for its own products.
In the past the Mountain View company has taken out traditional print advertising for its own recruiting, done some public radio sponsorships and, at one point, Google was a sponsor of the PBS science-oriented TV show Nova. In the more recent past, however, the company has started to inch toward more high-profile marketing. The WSJ report points out two interesting cases. First an aborted TV ad:
An episode around the Olympics earlier this year illustrates the tensions. Some Google employees were considering a plan to sell airtime during the NBC broadcast to other advertisers and to take out a spot to promote a Google product as well, according to people familiar with the matter.
The idea didn’t get past Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who felt a splashy television ad wouldn’t fit with Google’s image, these people said.
The other example is of an outdoor campaign running in Japan:
In August, Google launched an advertising effort in Japan that included outdoor and online ads created by Wieden + Kennedy, which is best known for its Nike “Just do it” campaign.
The effort, dubbed “100 Things You Can Do With Google,” was designed to promote the Google brand and several products such as Google Maps and Gmail.
This reminds me somewhat of US and English celebrities, otherwise reluctant to appear in TV commercials in their native countries, who make large sums of money advertising products in Japan.
Most recently, T-Mobile also said, during the Android press conference, that Google would be actively participating in what would be its largest marketing campaign to date.
Clearly as Google matures it will need to do more to promote itself. But Mountain View is trying to be thoughtful about how to do that and maintain its unique image even as it’s forced to become more and more like a conventional company.