Google's Take on the Next Generation of Online Advertising
On the left side of the ad is an invitation to write a "tribute to our troops." The right side features a photo of "American Bombshell" Marisa Miller, a well-exposed star of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issues, with links to more photos and videos. In the middle is a short video of Miller, wearing World War II-era pinup outfits and posing with assorted bikes. In the video she mentions the historic use of Harleys by the military and invites viewers to visit a showroom for postcards and other mementos.
- With a lot going on and an attractive invitation to participate, the DoubleClick ads overcome banner blindness and the annoying interruptions that have made so much of Internet display advertising ineffective.
- The ad campaigns live on their own on the Web. Like so much cutting-edge Web marketing (and even plain-vanilla Craigslist ads), there is no need to run them adjacent to news content. Evian's computer-generated baby rollerskaters are an especially good example -- once introduced to the YouTube bloodstream, the spot is oh-so-cute that viral forwarding will propel it with no added cost to the advertiser.
- Deep thinkers in traditional media are doubtless pondering (and they should be) how to get a piece of this action. In general, though, such experiments are going to be a drain on traditional media budgets, and most advertisers will find them a better use of online dollars than conventional display.
- I have been intrigued for some time by how much the transformation of advertising parallels the familiar story of the disruption of the news business. Ramp up use of technology, find new ways to tell stories, exploit interactivity, get outside the box of traditional formats. Dare we say that these display campaigns are "a conversation, not a lecture"?
At first glance, the Harley Davidson mashup reminded me of the classic show tune from the musical "Sweet Charity," "Hey Big Spender," in which taxi dancers shamelessly hustle potential clients with flattery. On second thought, the campaign may be a cagey 21st century way to tell the digital surfer, "I can see you're a man of distinction" and get him to spend a little time with your brand.