Five days after the world premiere of a Google commercial during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLIV, I remain impressed by Google's traditional advertising debut. Unlike Bing's television campaign that includes a creepy vampire, Google's commercial told a classic story, a love story. It made us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
I remain impressed by Google today for alsop being the clear winner in terms of cross-channel integration of its campaign. I have written about Super Bowl advertisers' online integration for several years and this, by far, is the best and most lasting effort I have seen. A search for "Google Super Bowl" or any other related search reveals a paid search listing from Google that reads, Google's Love Story Ad - Find It And Other Stories Only On Our YouTube Channel. Search On. I have seen countless Google display ads over the past few days, all with the same clear message, Search On. And last, but certainly not least, the viral aspect -- fueled by Eric Schmidt's tweet -- has been more than Google could have hoped for.
Now as a marketer, I did have to question the rationale behind Google's decision to run a Super Bowl commercial this year. Google's call to action was clear and concise: Search On. But, what was the point? Here are my two theories:
1. I can, therefore I will. When you are big enough and your fiercest little competitor pours an estimated $80 million into advertising, what's a measly $2.5 million?
2. ComScore just released the January 2010 US Search Engine Rankings this week. There were definitely some interesting takeaways from the release. Of course, Google leads with 65.4% search market share; however, this is down (ever so slightly) from 65.7% in December. Americans conducted 15.2 billion searches in January; and although the number of queries increased 3% over December, this is a record low for query growth. Maybe Google didn't know where its market share percentage would come in, but I bet its principals were all over the fact that query growth is slowing.
I tend to lean towards number two, with a bit of number one mixed in as a twist. Business is business and we all want to be successful and continue to grow. It is speculated that the Microsoft/Yahoo deal will receive approval soon and Bing's market share gains are Yahoo's losses, making the combo deal essentially the same as it would have been a year ago. If growth in query volume halts, then battles over market share are the only option for continued growth of search engine revenues.
This past Sunday, Google entered the Super Bowl line-up with a message for Microsoft, "Anything you can do, I can do better." The Google commercial is better; the campaign integration is better; and most importantly, the product is better.
I don't know about everyone else, but I cannot wait to watch this battle play out.