Google believes in TV advertising

by Tony Fannin, President, BE Branded

Google has announced they are running TV spots on the upcoming season opener of Mad Men. Most likely, by the time you read this, it will have already come to past. To many “new media” evangelists out there, I’m sure this seems like heresy. Why is Google, again, spending money on old-fashioned network TV spots? The last time they did it was for the most recent Super Bowl. (Actually, they do buy a lot of traditional advertising from TV spots to print to outdoor.) Google knows TV is effective if you do it right, which is not different than any other marketing tool.

Here’s the kicker, they are advertising a new service, TV commercials. Tada. Why is Google getting into the TV business when all the rage is about online advertising, you ask? I’ve checked out their demo and it’s very informative. Another interesting thing is they use an experienced, successful ad man to do their pitch. I would have thought Larry, Serge, or even Eric would pitch on behalf of Google. But, I guess they don’t know TV advertising like a true ad man. The advice the demo gives is right on target. It’s all about knowing who you are (brand), what makes you so special, and what emotional connection can you create with your most desired customers. Marketing and brand is about emotion, not cold stats and boring information, even Google apparently believes this. They have combined the AdWords concept with media buying on TV. Smart idea. As I had said in an earlier blog, Google is a media platform, not an advertising agency. (Google’s solution is to offer outside agencies who can help create your TV spot for you. Creative development and production is not what Google is good at.)

In that blog, I’ve also said that Google readily admits they don’t do creative. According to their demo, that is still true. Yes, they tell you that you can create a TV spot and tell you step by step how to do it. What they don’t tell you is creating a TV spot or any piece of advertising is harder than it sounds. Just like anyone can tell you how to build furniture, but it takes real talent to create beautiful and functional pieces that transcends the function of just a chair or an ordinary table. Valued pieces have something truly special about it that separates it from the masses. Same goes for any advertising and marketing.

Great advertising and marketing companies understand how creative and strategy works together. They know how to craft a brand and get its message across in a way the connects emotionally and authentically. We’ve all seen the crap ads that fill our TVs and magazines. They are usually the DIY kind. Many business owners think that all you do is cram as much information as you can in 60 seconds, talk in a hyper voice, and even feature their kids or employees in the spot, talking about how they consider customers as family. Creative and strategic integration is where advertising and marketing agencies offer the most value. It is the soft issues like emotional connection, that makes a piece of advertising memorable and builds favor with the target audience.

The most striking thing to me is if Google thinks a traditional medium like TV is worth getting into, then why all the talk about “you should only advertise online.”? This is Google’s own copy on why you should advertise on TV: “Why Advertise on TV? By exploring the world of television ads, you are considering one of the most compelling and powerful media outlets available today. With the average American watching over 150 hours of television per month, television allows advertisers the opportunity to engage with audiences while they’re consuming entertainment and information. Television allows you to convey your message through sight, sound, and motion while building credibility and trust in your brand. Read success stories from small and medium sized businesses that have used television advertising to grow their businesses.” – I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m not advocating that all you need is good old TV, print, and radio. What I am saying that the other extreme is equally wrong. A smart marketer knows you need to integrate all of the tools available to succeed in business today. Why handicap yourself on purpose? You can bet your competition isn’t. They are going to utilize all of the tools that they can lay their hands on to win in the market place.

In the end, marketing, advertising, and brand is about emotional connection and to that end, you must utilize all of the available tools smartly and without being narrow minded. Integration is the key to marketing effectiveness.

About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

2 Responses to “Google believes in TV advertising”

  1. Im not sure that you should ever just advertise online. Yes its the new, cool, hip thing to do, and its becoming more popular than TV, radio and print, but you shouldnt abandon those things. I don’t remember Google ever saying “you should only advertise online.” I couldnt see them saying that. Sounds like you have a lot of hate towards Google.

    • Brian– Thanks for your comment. I do have a hate/love/respect relationship with Google. I respect everything they’ve done thus far. I do see them as a competitor, not hate, but more of a frienemy. Where I get the position that Google would rather you live your life on line is from two books: What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis and Googled by Ken Auletta. Both books have been written with the full blessing of Larry Page, Serge Brin, and Eric Schmidt. In fact, in Googled, they were extensively interviewed, over several sessions, for the writing of the book. I think that over time, their “utopian” view has mellowed a bit and they may be seeing what the online world is best at and what other platforms may be better at than they are. Another interesting point you bring up is TV still pulls the results marketers want. The biggest drawback is they aren’t as efficient as the online world is in reaching niches, but it’s still the best medium for mass effect. –Tony

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