Google goes offline – Launches Print Campaigns to Promote Search

Google India has attempted interesting things over the last few months – right from Internet Bus Project to the apptitude challenge and even launching an aggressive print/billboard campaign for it’s sms search service.

And now, Google is advertising search in city supplements,as spottedby Vibhushan.

VIbhushan shares some of his perspective on Google’s print media campaign

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I saw a quarter-page advertisement from Google in ‘Nagpur Times’ (city supplement of Nagpur edition of The Times of India). It had a message “Take off to exciting destinations. Keep your airfare on ground.” and asked readers to search on internet to find cheap airfares and hotels. It has a screen shot of Google search box with query “Cheap tickets Goa”.

I was amazed on seeing direct print advertising from Google, and wanted to Tweet about it, so I checked online edition of TOI, but sadly TOI does not have Nagpur edition online. I checked city supplements from other cities to see if this is nationwide campaign from Google, but could find only this ad in Ahmedabad city supplement (of the cities edition available online). However the tag line there was different. In Ahmedabad city edition, the ad carried message “How to remove the excess weight from your airfare”. And the search query in this ad was “Cheap tickets Kerala”.

My observations on these are:

· Advertisement is about searching on internet, and not on Google. Looks like Google believes that if anyone from these tier II cities (in terms of internet penetration) search on internet, it will be on Google only!

· While the message in Nagpur is about cheaper airfares, that in Ahmedabad is about reducing the baggage weight. Also the destination in the search query change per city. Google has some smart brains designing these campaigns J

· What makes Google go into print advertisement in India, that too in such a targeted fashion that it has different communication message in different cities? Google has often said that for it to grow in emerging markets like India, it will have to grow the market; and may be it believes cities like Nagpur and Ahmedabad offer the right promise for them

· And lastly, when Google believes that it makes sense in advertising about their services in a city like Nagpur, our own desi Time of India thinks otherwise, and does not care to have Nagpur edition online (wonder what extra cost they will incur to have all their editions online!)

Google has never advertised itself, especially on any of the mass media channels. The TVC for Chrome browser in Japan created quite a buzz about Google selling itself on mass medium. It would be interesting to see if this shift towards advertising on mass media is a temporary one or if Google has some totally different plans for Indian market.

What’s your take on these campaigns? Should other Internet companies take a leaf out of Google’s campaign (and stop wasting money in senseless campaigns)