Earlier this week, I was reading John Battelle’s Searchblog post “Google Backs Into Being a Brand Advertiser on TV” and saw Google’s new television ad for their Chrome browser (which I highly recommend). My interest was very peaked.
The ad itself, is fun, cute (but not too cute), clean and thoughtful (has a sort of “Apple” ads feel to it). John’s post was about Google’s foray into being a brand television advertiser. That is, of course, an entire topic in itself. As John points out, Google has several responses for how it’s not the “traditional” brand television advertiser (in some tech circles, it might be considered the ultimate crime to put Google on par with the “regular,” “consumer,” “everyday people” brands that advertise on TV). For instance, it wasn’t designed to be an “ad” and it debuted on YouTube, not TV. But what really peaked my interest about the post was mention of the Google TV Ads service that the company runs.
Google TV is like AdSense, but for advertisers and publishers in the TV space. Ad agencies recognized early on that Google AdSense (the original advertising engine for online ads on a website) was a smart idea. Within the newspaper industry, Google AdSense failed. It was difficult, even for Google, to efficiently streamline and automate an industry with minimal standards and antiquated systems. Though that might sound like a developer’s dream, in reality, it’s like herding cats. I imagine the combination of a steeply declining print newspaper industry (another post, for another time) and herding cats, the end to Google AdSense for newspapers was inevitable. The Audio/Radio service also went bust (both programs were shut down in Q1 2009).
However, there is something perversely interesting about “AdSense” for TV. It was when Google moved into the “traditional” media space that agencies got all riled up. After all, Google was starting to eat into the ad sales of “traditional” media agencies. Oxygen Networks, MSNBC and the Sci-Fi Channel are just a few publishers on the roster. And some advertisers are on board too (anyone know who?). Google has had the uncanny ability to connect innovative thinkers with brilliant developers to strategize and execute on new ways of doing business. So it will be interesting to see if and how they flip the TV ad industry on its head. Partnerships with cable companies in the works? Ads for a single brand running on multiple screens at the same time (talk about a 360 branded ad experience)? Who knows? I’ll stay tuned and update you. Or maybe your TV remote will be branded Google before I fast forward through all this evening’s commercials on my DVR…