On January 22nd 1984, during the 3rd quarter of the Super Bowl, Apple unveiled the Macintosh personal computer for the first time with a masterful TV commercial directed by Ridley Scott. I was only 12 years old at the time and I still remember it, it was that good. Almost 25 years later I studied it in business school, that is how important to Apple this ad was. The ad was a take on the George Orwell classic novel 1984 and is considered Apple’s defining moment. The ad said that Apple arrived and is now part of the game in a big way.
Since then the Super Bowl has been used to create brand awareness and many other companies have tried to put themselves on the map the way Apple did that January in 1984. A few even succeeded, Monster.com is one that comes to mind. Another, pets.com, created such brand awareness for its corporate mascot, that the mascot lived on, even though pets.com went out of business 9 months after its Super Bowl ad.
Google has never spent any money on traditional advertising. Not a single Google ad has ever appeared on TV and to my knowledge, in print media either. They grew to be a multi-billion dollar company by word of mouth. That is why this morning while watching the Super Bowl (it is morning in China) I almost fell out of my chair when the Google ad played.
The ad was perfect. It was simple and kept your attention by telling a love story. It focused on the core business of Google: search.
While not a masterpiece like 1984, the ad did the job in a very Google way. Since Google is already “on the map” this ad was a signal to Apple (iPhone) and Microsoft (Bing): Watch out, we’re coming! The ad is a signal of the arrival of Google 2.0. The company that grew up on search that is now making phones, browsers, operating systems, and much more.
Well played Google.
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