Monday, February 8, 2010

Google splashes out $5m on Super Bowl with a beautifully simple ad

Google's aversion to advertising its search engine on TV ended with a bang on Sunday night as the company paid an estimated $5m to run a commercial during the Super Bowl.

The minute-long spot marks the biggest venture into mainstream advertising for a company that has become notorious growing almost exclusively through word of mouth and online exposure.

Google's "Parisian Love" commercial, which featured a variety of plugs for the company's search engine played out as a virtual love story, was aired during the game's third quarter and lasted a full minute.

As one of the world's most-viewed TV events, the Super Bowl is a opportunity for advertisers to reach huge audiences in one swoop - and a notorious cash cow for the NFL. With companies charged around $2.5m for a 30 second spot last year's game, which lasted just over three and a half hours, made $213m from advertising alone.

While is not the first time that Google has ventured into mainstream ads – in recent months the company has promoted its web browser, Chrome and run an international campaign to publicise its web-based software - it has done little or no external marketing of its search engine for most of its life.

Indeed, such has been the antipathy towards promoting its basic products through traditional channels that senior executives have even launched attacks on the company's rivals for using advertising.

In an interview on Fox Business News last summer, Schmidt railed against Microsoft for trying to spend their way to a market-leading position.

"You don't buy it with ads," he said. "You earn it, and you earn it customer by customer, search for search, answer by answer."

According to advertising experts, Google's Super Bowl debut was a hit: Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois, said Google's advert proved the most successful during this year's event, according to their tests.

"The Google spot laddered up to the emotion but maintained function," Calkins said.

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