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Google Radio Ads Could Get Personal

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On his way to a hot date, Joe Goodguy flips on his satellite radio. A voice comes over the car speakers, “that’s what you’re wearing?” Joe eyeballs his “good shirt” and second-guesses. Voice: “The Shirts Chicks Dig store is two lights ahead.”

It’s really not beyond the realm of possibility, at least not according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Google’s effort to personalize and localize advertising across various media could lead to your radio at least knowing where your car is, what direction you’re going, what’s nearby and what your typical routine is.

Cool? Well, yes.

Creepy? Definitely.

But we’re slowly getting used to being spooked.

Google, as do all advertisers, expresses a keen interest in targeting. Satellites are good at locating, monitoring, and delivering signals. Consider Google’s recent deal with XM Satellite Radio, whereby Google will deliver advertising inventory through XM’s non-music channels.

This inventory includes both national and local advertising, which can be piped through to the home or to the vehicle via one of XM’s auto partnerships to millions of subscribers.

From David Utter’s coverage:

The technology will be tested in the marketplace as Google and its advertisers monitor how effectively Google can target ads to a listening audience. A successful run will benefit XM with much-needed additional revenue, while Google can count the deal as a substantial broadening of its existing advertising network.

The announcement today marks another step toward more focused advertising methods. Google’s wild success with contextually-targeted paid search advertising that is measurable and effective has yet to be duplicated across broadcast media. If they can accomplish this with radio, perhaps television will be the next stop for Google and its ad network.


With that in mind, Zdnet blogger Donna Bogatin reminds us of Schmidt’s pants scenario. Schmidt fantasizes about a day when radio ads address him personally, reminding him as he drives past a clothing store, that he needs a new pair.

Think of all the weight-loss revenue that could be generated. For an extra fee, XM could deliver a nagging voice every time you’re in the vicinity of Baskin Robbins, saying “you don’t need that ice cream, Big Bones” or “cookies can’t love you” or “you’re gonna banana-split your pants there, genius.”

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