Google are dipping their toes into the print ad arena, with the aptly named Google Print Ads. On the surface, this seems like a complete sideways shift for the search giant. Though as with all Google strategic moves, this one is no human error.
For Google, this is an excellent time to branch sideways, and capitalise on not just a struggling newspaper, but a struggling industry. Google has already signed over 800 US newspapers. And counting. (caveat: newspapers must be paid circulation, though with the recent launch and expected boom of The Printed Blog, rules could be bent.)
It works the same as Google Adwords, in that users can create a line ad or a small display ad for a particular paper, or a particular audience. Google handles the media buy, placement, trafficking, and invoicing. This technology was already built and honed for years on the Adwords platform. Thus, the total cost of ownership is instantly shared among business units, reducing the ROI goal for the search giant.
As an added bonus, advertisers are given the opportunity to try their hand at a 2d barcode, or a QR code to most punters. Why is it that the cheapest form of advertising, line ads and classifieds, are the ones about to embrace this latest technology? It’s taken someone like Google to endorse the technology, and to make it cool. Of course, this serves a huge blow to Microsoft’s Tags and High Capacity Colour Barcodes research. (Is playing catchup their mantra?)
I have yet to find a North American, European or Australian brand willing to dive into QR codes. Have you found any examples?
Tourism Queensland in Australia has advertised to fill the role of Caretaker on The Great Barrier Reef’s Hamilton Island. As part of the job description, the successful applicant will have to snorkel, scuba, walk through the tropical rain forest and make friends with the locals. Oh, and keep a written and video blog of the day to day. You’ll also get free rent in a million dollar waterfront apartment and be paid $150k AUD for your troubles. Sounds amazing.
The truly amazing part is that the campaign is entirely viral. The job is real. And the returns on the viral campaign are equally real. Currently they are on track to get $70m AUD in publicity. The story has been picked up by Sky News in the UK, the NY Times, and every other major publisher in the world (not to mention the ensuing blog posts).
Engage: Applicants must submit a video CV
Interact: Applicants can view other applicant’s videos.
Success: $70m worth of publicity from probably $300k outlay.
The Rush for ‘best job in the world’ crashed the website. A success indeed. And the cost of adding a few more servers, plus the 6 month salary for the position, won’t come close to the returns.
Turning the hunt for a new recruit into a viral marketing campaign takes today’s cake as a creative marketing execution.
He who embraces the QR code will win.
Hands down, QR codes are one of the most exciting technologies emerging today. Next to sunglasses that have a virtual 60″ viewing screen and facebook integration, of course. As with all shiny new technologies, the more creative the use the more impact it will have. See some examples on Mashable.
The fact is that, marketers need to stop concentrating on how to execute the Five P’s according to Kotler, and start asking: What would make our product / service truly amazing?” Quickly followed by: “How can we commercialise this new feature?”
You can’t drive a car by using the rear view mirror. Start looking forward.