Blog Post

Google’s Super Bowl Ad: Hell Freezes Over

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt tipped Twitter followers to watch the third quarter of the Super Bowl carefully Sunday for a sign that hell’s frozen over. It seems the search company is making a move that Schmidt insisted it didn’t need and wouldn’t do: brand advertising. John Battelle’s source says the ad being aired is Parisian Love, embedded below. Cute online but will it fly during live football? I’ll be watching the meters for that response.

Update: As expected, my HD set was just taken over by a giant white Google search screen showing Parisian Love. Got chuckles in my living room from the viewer seeing it for the first time. What did you think? Was the 60-second ad worth as much as $5 million?

I agree with Danny Sullivan — it’s no coincidence that Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has been splashing out on Bing ads, some of them pretty eye catching. An ad for NexusOne might be more logical but could come with fullfillment and customer service issues. This ad is about the core of Google — and if you use Google search, they can pitch you anything right from the site. Google can afford a brand splurge every now and then more than it can afford to sit on a big lead and hope others’ marketing doesn’t work.

Schmidt’s explanation via corporate blog: “We didn’t set out to do a Super Bowl ad, or even a TV ad for search. Our goal was simply to create a series of short online videos about our products and our users, and how they interact. But we liked this video so much, and it’s had such a positive reaction on YouTube, that we decided to share it with a wider audience.” Oh, and would you please watch the other videos in the series?

Did Google score?: A 5.78 from USA Today’s Ad Meter panel, well down in the rankings; by comparison, the #1 ad — Betty White and Abe Vigoda for Snickers — scored 8.68.

15 Responses to “Google’s Super Bowl Ad: Hell Freezes Over”

  1. anitalafayette

    Watching the ad was like watching myself daily doing searches. The ad was relevent in that respect. Even though the storyline was cute, I was seeing my routine playout on screen. Google’s ad definitely communicated the 24 hour a day message. Seeing people sitting behind desks in cube offices on an ad says you are here at work, no matter what office. The only thing missing was seeing fingers key the search words. Good ad for Google. Author of: WHEN SEXUAL HARASSMENT FEELS LIKE PROSTITUTION or WSHFLP

    • Staci D. Kramer

      The ad is cute. It works online very well or if you’re expecting to see it
      on TV — but was it a “Super Bowl” ad? Results show it got lost in the TV
      shuffle despite all the online attention.

  2. Impossible to believe but believe me anyhow – many people still dont know what Google is. This clearly showed it doing its thing.

    Hey grandma – that’s what it does!

  3. Bill Schreiner

    I loved the ad …. but it suggested that the birth of the baby was the end of this young man’s story. I could have used 30 more seconds. I was caught up in the quest. Sequel?

  4. Cathryn Cranston

    I loved the ad. It gives Google an emotional dimension. Also, it’s iconography is so familiar and to have it linked to Paris, romance, and babies was great. So unexpected. In contrast, the Betty White ad was funny, but I don’t remember what the product/service was.

  5. rascalnikov

    The ad clearly showed that you can use Google as a query tool to find answers to questions and “not just links”. The suggested results were also helpful in clarifying or emphasizing the engine’s strength. How is that muddling? It was a smart move by the king of the pack to remind everyone about what they do and how well they do it.

    FYI, the Super Bowl is watched by almost 100 million people so it’s reaching far beyond “guys…with their dips and chips and beers”. The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event in the country. It’s watched by hard-core football fans and by people who barely watch a game each season. And if you think 5 million dollars is a waste of Google’s money then you are seriously in the dark about how successful this company is. You might even live in a cave.

  6. I thought Google had the best of all the Superbowl ads… it was clean, visually differentiated, beautifully executed and it gave credit, elegantly, to a brand that everyone uses everyday without a second thought. My takeaway was, “yes, I do like Google.” I also liked the FLO TV spots, but, oy, all I could think about was how much money they spent. btw – Budweiser’s ads (and most others) were atrocious and I’m not sure what Bridgestone got out of the halftime show… now if The Who had been sponsored by Cialis or Lipitor, that would have made more sense to me.

  7. Says to me that the search market has matured and is entering a stage where it is dominated by marketing and struggle for market share between oligopolists instead of product innovation and disruptive new technology.

  8. I agree with Brendan – dumb waste of money. Clearly the top staff at Google love the smell of their own farts. Plus, I’m sure all the guys out there with their dips and chips and beers are really interested in some geek’s cutesy little romance that leads to raising a little French baby.

  9. Google’s Parisian Love ad is indeed cute, but it feels very different from the Google with which I’m familiar. Could be the beginning of an attempt to redefine or could just be another step towards an increasingly muddled brand.