Search engine giant Google is not the one to advertise itself in a big way. In fact, the entire success story of Google is about the fact how they have managed to capture people’s mind with practically zero or marginal advertising. So, it was a surprise to see a full page print ad of Google Chrome in The Times of India on September 29, 2010. The ad talks about being – simple. safe.secure. fast.www- Chrome by Google. The fast new browser, for everyone. The creatives have been adapted from the international Chrome campaign. It’s not really the first time that Google has gone to print as they had earlier taken a mass media campaign for IPL streaming on YouTube. But are these signs of changing times?
When asked on the reason behind coming out with the print ad, a spokesperson from Google said, “We are always looking for new ways to help raise awareness about the importance of browsers in general and the benefits of Chrome. This has included responding to user feedback by incorporating new features like translate, different extensions, creating informative videos and experimenting with different ad formats, like the print ad you saw. We are constantly working to help more users discover the benefits of Google Chrome.”
So, does this mean a change in the strategy for Google’s marketing? The spokesperson clarified, “Not at all, we have always advertised our offering through various media forms, even during the IPL streaming on YouTube we did a massive campaign in print and out-of-home medium. We are always looking for new ways to help raise awareness about our products and offerings, and print is one of them.”
Expressing his view, Harish Bijoor, Founder of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, said, “This doesn’t really come as a surprise, as for any mega brand, including Google and Yahoo, India is a competitive market. While the number of people online is around 46 million, those who are not yet online far exceed the former. This is a large segment, be it in Tier II and Tier III towns, and even the big city penetration leaves much scope for expansion. In fact, the ComScore that came recently shows that Yahoo and Google are almost neck and neck in India, thus leaving a great scope to increase that share. I think Google just decided to take mega strides to get ahead of its competition and the ad is just one part of that strategy.”
He added, “The key aspect for awareness is to reach large numbers, and in India while there are people online, they comprise a small segment. Yes, net connectivity is limited, but there lies a huge potential in converting those who are offline. For a successful campaign there has to be a healthy mix of online and offline. And also, for a mega brand like Google, which has advertised online, when they decide to go offline, the messaging concept should be mega, hence the need to do full page advertising or be innovative as anything less would really not make sense.”