Things we never thought we’d see # 15: Why Google’s use of press proves that media probably never was and certainly won’t ever be simple ever again

great brands don't need to advertise.  right?  great brands generate their own publicity.  great brands grow through word of mouth.  great brands invest in innovation which gets itself talked about.  great brands activate their networks, excite their advocates and set the Twittersphere ablaze.

great brands pity lesser brands that need to resort to broadcast advertising to get their products and services in front of the masses because they haven't mastered the new media economy.  great brands don't advertise, right?  …wrong:

Google

Emily FK kindly sent me the attached today (yesterday…) from London…  Google.  advertising.  with a cover wrap.  on the Metro.  things we really, really, never thought we'd see.

on viewing it I recalled an ancient Chinese curse that goes along the lines of "may you live in interesting times".  they didn't value change did the ancient Chinese.  boy are we collectively cursed – interesting times indeed.  one of two things is happening here, you can take your pick…

option one: the Google (money) train is faltering.  their core business of search continues, of course, to be a juggernaut that is in very good health.  but could the non-core products and services that are fueled by the juggernaut be feeling a little more heat?

its the only realistic explanation…  despite coming from the fine-tuned stable of Goggle new media marketing, Chrome has failed to get traction in the marketplace.  the very handy market share reports that Chrome's current share is hovering at 3%, compared to Firefox's 23% plus and the collective Explorers' best part of 60%…

Browser_share_dec_09

three percent.  that's a figure that Google executives haven't seen for a while and no doubt has them spooked.  they need more than 3% and they're going to throw money at getting it, because the information about what we browse, what we do and who we are is invaluable; and in Google's hands its game-changing.

the reasons as to why traction hasn't been hit could be numerous and are almost certainly a combination of apathy, familiarity with existing browser, anti-Googleness ("they've got enough information already" kind of thing), and perhaps even awareness.  one would hope that the latter has some part to play, for I fear for the ability of a press cover wrap to make a major dent in any of the other potential barriers.

there is of course option two…  that in the evolution of media and communication, there's a need for both sides of the equation.  or indeed every side of the cube if you get what I mean.  that its not enough for a brand to be a 'broadcast' brand or a 'networked' brand.  all this could mean that there's a time and a place for one to many, as well as a time and a place for many to many.

option two could mean that there's there's no such thing as old and new media.  there is only media.  media thats owned and rented out at a negotiated CPT by big business.  media that's made by individuals with a passion and an opinion or two.  media created by brands that they can subsequently own and leverage to tell the world why they exist.  media that we respect, share, love to hate, assume credibility, trash, believe, pass on, or – indeed – read on our way to work before logging on and checking out a new browser.

Google advertising on Metro.  proof, like we needed it, that media probably never was and certainly won't ever be simple ever again.

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