Parisian Love on Google Search Stories tells a tale in searches about a man who falls in love, moves to France and starts a family by having a baby with the love of his life.
Federated Media Founder John Battelle nailed it when he wrote in a blog post Saturday about the possibility that Google would go against its traditional company strategy and run an ad during the Super Bowl.
On Sunday in the Los Angeles area, a paid search ad began appearing in Google query results when searching on the keywords "Google ad." In the URL the word "campaign" appears, which provided another clue.
Some marketers seemed happy to see Google promote Search Stories. David Goldman, senior search specialist at MRM Worldwide, thinks it makes the brand come alive. "It's ironic Google prompted itself during the Super Bowl, as a search engine where stories begin, so many stories also begin from the ads that run during the Super Bowl game," Goldman says. "It's also interesting Google decided to promote search and not its technology like Chrome or Mobile OS."
The ad took Goldman's brother Aaron Goldman by surprise, too. There are many Google products that could use a boost, but search isn't one of them, he says -- adding that the ad was a nice comeback to the positioning of Microsoft Bing's ads for the decision engine.
Some thought the Motorola ad that aired during the beginning of the third quarter would include a mention about Google's mobile operating system (OS) Android, but it didn't.
Aside from calling attention to the brands, advertisements that ran during the Super Bowl drove traffic to company Web sites, too. Akamai put together a chart monitoring real-time data showing the traffic driven to Web sites of Super Bowl advertisers during televised coverage of the game.
Google also worked closely with Super Bowl XLIV advertisers to offer them free exposure that would allow ads to live on online, although each company paid up to $2.8 million for one 30-second spot. The 40 advertisers had an option to upload the videos to Google's Super Bowl Ad Blitz page. While the site has been available in the past, this year Google added features.
Social media buttons make it easy for viewers to share on social network sites and Twitter. Ad overlays allow people to vote on their favorite and learn more about products and companies featured in the spots. Advertisers had an option to upload the spots as they air on television during the game.
The original article that ran prior to Google's Super Bowl ad airing on TV follows:
Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt hinted on Twitter Saturday that Google would run an ad during the Super Bowl in the third quarter.
In a message to Twitter followers, Schmidt wrote: "Can't wait to watch the Superbowl tomorrow. Be sure to watch the ads in the 3rd quarter (someone said 'Hell has indeed frozen over.')" John Battelle was the first to call attention to Google possibly running an ad during the Super Bowl.
In his blog, Battelle describes an ad called "Parisian Love" from Google's Search Stories services. After contacting Google for comment, Battelle writes: "I emailed folks at Google for comment today, and a spokesperson said 'Watch the Super Bowl!' That ain't a no, folks. (It's not a yes, either, but...)"
The list of ads that will run in the Super Bowl does not mention a Google ad. Motorola, the only brand remotely related to Android, appears on the list. The list mentions that the Motorola ad will run during the third quarter. The description for the ad reads: No details yet, but teaser ads promote the power of "motoblur."
Google does not typically opt into ads on traditional media. Occasionally the Mountain View, Calif. search engine will run an ad for its Web browser Chrome on Pandora, the Internet radio station. It also ran a TV ad last May.