Does Google have an image problem? While any answer would hardly be conclusive, Google isn't waiting around for the official verdict. Instead, they've launched an unprecedented marketing campaign, at least in terms of Google marketing, which up until the past couple of years was just about nil. In a tough year that Google had to deal with multiple antitrust complaints and issues regarding Internet censorship, a little polishing of their brand couldn't hurt.
Google's PR machine has rolled out a series of Search Stories, commercials that they hope will have an emotional appeal to people, such as this (If you need a moment to find a tissue, don't hesitate):
The ads are fairly sentimental and threaten to tug a bit on your heart strings. But will they be enough to convince people to reconsider Google and see them as the benevolent information/technology/commerce/everything giant they hope to be? Possibly. It's less aggressive and contrary to what you might expect from one of the largest corporations in the world. Such a decision to roll out their marketing campaign is well-timed, as well, given that they've begun taking steps into arenas long dominated by the likes of Facebook and Amazon and Apple's iTunes.
So yeah, it couldn't hurt to assuage people's concerns that Google is taking over every aspect of their lives. The Google+looks+buff+tarnished+brand+image/5825361/story.html">Vancouver Sun goes on to detail Google's marketing strategy:
Google spent nearly four times more on TV advertising time in the first six months of 2011 than in all of 2010, according to estimates by Kantar Media, which tracks ad spending by large companies.
Still, Google's $21.5 million in TV ad spending is a fraction of the $204 million Apple spent to hawk its iPhones and iPads in the first half of 2011, according to Kantar. But Google has spent more heavily than some Silicon Valley companies with a longer TV presence, such as Intel.
Characteristically, Google is blazing its own advertising trail, one that runs counter to some industry trends by focusing on longer spots, storytelling and emotion, said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix, a Mountain View, Calif., company that analyzes the effectiveness of TV ads. The company is using pop culture icons like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and the late Johnny Cash to highlight the constellation of products based on Google's Chrome browser.
Google has had five of the top 10 most effective TV ads by websites so far this year, according to Ace Metrix, including "Dear Sophie," a somewhat mushy 90-second spot in which a father chronicles his young daughter's first years through letters he sends her on Gmail and videos on YouTube.
It remains to be seen how Google's new approach to managing their image will turn out. In addition to the Search Stories series they've been releasing, they've also invited the YouTube community to submit their own stories to be included in the marketing drive, as well.
So what's the word out there? Do you think Google's image could use a good once-over? Or have they painted themselves into a corner as one more soulless corporation? Chime in below with your comments.