….and while there have discussions and rants about the need for brands to start using digital media intelligently, the news is that the greatest internet brand of them all – Google, is all set to do some traditional advertising. Google, which had followed a policy of making good products and then letting WOM do its job, is now thinking of marketing as mere mortals see it. :)

Last week, WSJ carried an article, (via Marketing Pilgrim) which stated that some of its “executives have been pushing for the company to overcome its aversion to paid advertising”. Though the founders don’t seem thrilled about the idea, “the search giant has recently held discussions with several Madison Avenue agencies”. The article also talks about Google having done a ’100 things you can do with Google’ campaign in Japan, a market which has seen some resistance to the brand’s omnipotence. 

Google’s annual offline spend has been consistent at about $20 million. But they have always been doing PR, even for the bordering-on-ridiculous GMail Goggles. The launch of the G1 phone, as well as the browser Chrome had a fair bit of PR running for it. Chrome even had a comic book released specifically for its launch. It is said that the brands that tell the best stories manage to gain the maximum mindshare of its audience. Wonder if there’s a correlation ;)

I think there are a lot of layers to this. The general economy’s slowdown is bound to affect the internet space too, and perhaps the growth is going to plateau. In such a scenario, it is quite possible that Google sees traditional advertising a safe way to get some growth inorganically. After all, thats the way most brands operate. 

Also, while Google is loved/hated and even seen in awe by netizens, sometimes very little of its aura gets translated into the real world. Perhaps with the real world slowing down, and traditional companies and brands getting hit with budget cuts, this is a good time for Google to take itself to the next level and be seen as a sort of super hero brand that can survive downturns. This is all the more important since rivals like Microsoft and Apple have never shied away from using traditional advertising. 

Most importantly, and this is something I wish all major web based brands would do, Google, with traditional advertising, could create new audiences by showing them the sheer utility value that it provides. These could even be people who have never used the net before. That would be great news for anyone who wishes well for this medium.

And therefore, I shall not chant ‘Google is evil’ this once, and cheerlead its foray into traditional advertising.

until next time, I somehow don’t think Baba Ramdev is Google’s brand ambassador in India, despite this. (via Labnol)