Google Invests In Traditional ...


Google is getting serious about advertising in traditional media.

It seems like whenever I watch TV or pick up a magazine, I come across a Google ad.

At first, the ads focused on Google+, which makes sense. With so much at stake in social networking and Facebook’s head start, Google wants to accelerate its position.

But it turns out Google’s advertising dollars have been earmarked for other areas.

What I find particularly interesting is Google’s decision to address the issue of privacy through advertising. No doubt, Google’s PR machine has privacy high on its radar. Yet, the company also wants to control how this story is told; hence, the use of advertising.

Here’s one of the print ads (in The Economist) that addresses privacy:

google ad

Pretty darn persuasive.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the crisp storytelling and clean language.

OK, saying they use  “tiny crumbs of stored information called cookies” might be stretching the metaphor, but that’s a quibble.

The simplicity of the story carries through when you click on

google goodtoknow

And you can watch the theme repeated in a video that touts, yes, a simpler privacy policy.

How would this campaign play out with earned media?

I’d say not so well.

The simplicity that serves as such an asset in the ad, website and video becomes a liability with journalists. There’s no room to add value in the form of an explanation or context. It’s all already there.

Of course, the issue of privacy brings with it multi-dimensional complexity.

But I think this specific story is probably best communicated in advertising and owned media.

Note: If you enjoyed this post, the human bot claims you might have a similar experience reading “Storytelling Techniques Behind Google Announcement on Larry Page Named CEO” and “Advertising Gets Narrative.”

Disclosure: We support Google in Asia Pacific. I don’t have any special access or information related to Google’s advertising or how the company communicates on the issue of privacy.


  • Yin

    I love the visuals of the sketches shared on this post. I find a certain appeal in illustrations, as if it says to me: “an idea expressed clearly with only lines must be simple enough for me to easily understand.”

  • Lou Hoffman

    I agree.

    There can be beauty in simplicity.

    Ironically, the greater the simplicity, the less interesting the story becomes for journalists (as a general rule of thumb).

    Because complexity calls for explanation.

  • Yin

    Mmmm good insight, I’ve never thought of it that way!


Leave a Reply