Google accepts anti-Google advertising, but only under pressure

By David Kiefaber on Thu Sep 16 2010


Man, not even Google can withstand the awesome power of someone complaining about them on the Internet. The company rejected three anti-Google text ads from Consumer Watchdog, but then changed its mind when the group very publicly cried foul. This came with a lot of complicated legal word salad about trademarks in ad text and keyword targeting and so on, but the basic issue here is that more dirt has been thrown on Google's image as a happy, friendly corporation. Its possible alliance with Verizon on the issue of net neutrality is the latest stain on Google's reputation, but there's always been the icky question of what it does with all that information it collects. Yes, Consumer Watchdog goes a bit moonbatty on the subject of Google, but Google's initial rejection of the ads is just shady—and its flip-flopping doesn't make it look much better.

Google continues to be as non-techy as possible in Chrome ads

Posted on Wed Apr 21 2010

Why are tech firms bent on convincing us they're not all that, you know, tech? For instance, you might think that a Google ad for a software product like its Chrome browser would be futuristic, but the brand and agency BBH have gone the other way: Like last year's introductory ad for Chrome, the new executions forgo shots of computer guts for whimsical, Rube Goldberg-esque visions of copper plumbing and hammers, an image that recalls Weetabix's depiction of a Google search. The new ads hype Chrome features like Twitter integration and the ability to turn images into slideshows, all with cutesy, low-tech illustrations that give the impression that Google staffers are giddy Oompa-Loompas rather than hard-nosed engineers, a trick Dell deployed last year with negligible success. Of course, Apple has been more successful with the approach with its "Get a Mac" ads, which literally humanized its product (and that of PC makers.) Maybe chips and ethernet cables just aren't that visually exciting, even if Popular Science argues that the Internet actually resembles something that is thrilling to some: a Tootsie Roll pop.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Has Google replaced Microsoft as the de facto evil corporation?

Posted on Thu Feb 18 2010

Is Google the new Microsoft? This video from certainly seems to be channeling a kind of rage against the Google machine that harkens back to the late '90s, when many thought Microsoft would soon control the world. Here, a putative Google spokesman responds to complaints about Google Buzz by reminding people that Google can kill you and then giving the camera the finger. ("Index this!") The script then lays out a very Microsoft-like indictment: "We have never had a single, original idea ever. Our business model is to find something successful that already exists and then use our trillions of dollars to make a Google version. MapQuest sure seems to be popular and profitable. Boom! Google Maps." He goes on to say that when Google can't figure out how to copy something, like YouTube, it just buys it. "We may look innocent with our cutesy holiday logos and April Fool's pranks, but we run your fucking lives," he explains. "We are fucking Google. If we tell you to buzz, you will buzz." On a related note, check out this Onion video in which Google offers to protect your privacy by relocating you to a remote village.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Here's the Tiger Woods version of that Google search-stories ad

Posted on Mon Feb 8 2010

Wow, that was fast! A day after Google's "Parisian Love" search-stories ad ran on the Super Bowl, there's already a parody out there about Tiger Woods's search story. In the faux ad, Tiger searches "How to hide facial lacerations" and then "Escalade grille work" and then goes on to search his various mistresses and their possible STD histories, culminating with "Florida divorce attorneys." If the topic seems a bit shopworn, that's because the video was actually made in December and was a response to "Parisian Love" and other search-stories ads that were actually released on YouTube last fall. But since most people weren't aware of these ads until last night, now's the time to update. Satirists, it's time to whip up something with Obama searching "Tea party" or "Iran nukes" and then "Headache relief" or something along those lines.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Google's new Nexus One phone gets all up in the iPhone's grill

Posted on Fri Jan 8 2010

Google this week announced the launch of its über-cool smartphone called Nexus One, which promises the ultimate Web experience on a phone. A commercial for the new device shows off its features to a spacey tune that plays in the background. Clearly, Nexus is being positioned as an iPhone rival, from its Web capabilities to its actual design. But any ad challenging the iPhone deserves a good spoof, like the one posted here, by Landline TV. In the foul-mouthed video, Nexus is appropriately renamed the "Fuck You iPhone," allowing you to "text asses to iPhone users," use "audio neutralization" to block blabbing iPhoners, and turn on the "optimized urination interface" to "fuck with any iPhone's shit." The Google phone is so good, it will also invite itself over to your house, prank order 20 pizzas and steal your girlfriend. Hey, don't make that face! I didn't make this stuff up.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

British cereal reveals just who's doing all those Google searches

Posted on Tue Nov 24 2009


Years ago, then-Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens explained that the Internet is really just "a series of tubes." We can all have a good laugh about that now, but according to a viral campaign from British cereal maker Weetabix, tubes are much more high-tech than what really drives the Web. Yes, Google is actually powered by a librarian who has had her Weetabix and thus is ready to field your questions. (The campaign, by WCRS in London, seems to take a similar tack as the ads for Holiday Inn Express, which make similar IQ-enhancing claims.) A Subservient Chicken she's not, but you can still have fun typing in rude words and getting a good finger-wagging, if you're into that sort of thing.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Yes, Google loves Sesame Street. And the feeling is very mutual

Posted on Wed Nov 11 2009

As anyone who's Googled anything over the past week knows, Google hearts Sesame Street. Well, apparently Sesame Street hearts Google, too. In this Sesame Street segment, Kermit the Frog is attending "the musical event of the century," a tribute to the "oogle family"—i.e., words that rhyme with "oogle," like "bugle" and, I dunno, "Google" as well. The three-minute segment does little more than repeat iterations of the oogle rhyme over and over, so it's hard to see the educational component here. For those who haven't been on Google for a while, the company last week dressed up its logo with Big Bird, the Cookie Monster and others to celebrate the show's 40th anniversary. Google has been playing with its logo more and more lately, including nods to Charles Darwin's birthday and the fall of the Berlin Wall, among other things. Tangentially, College Humor recently imagined the Google logo designer using it as a platform to talk about his failing marriage.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Google Wave explained with a little help from Quentin Tarantino

Posted on Mon Oct 19 2009

Still not sure what this whole Google Wave thing is about? Although there's at least one really good video that breaks down the socially collaborative e-mail app, none does it as entertainingly than this one, which incorporates the "Big Kahuna" scene from Quentin Tarantino's 1994 masterpiece Pulp Fiction. Not only do you get a Google Wave illustration of the conversation ("What does Marcellus Wallace look like?!), but you see how the app can incorporate other media into the chat (like the text of Ezekiel 25:17). For those who still don't get it, another video incorporates the Red Sox scene from Good Will Hunting.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Google, Al Gore provide convenient truth about where to eat

Posted on Wed Jul 22 2009

Bus shelter

We at Brandfreak must admit that two weeks ago, we wandered the streets of New York City, utterly exhausted, in search of good food. Thank goodness for "Google Maps-Favorite Places," a joint campaign launched by both the search giant and NYC & Co. for picky eaters like us. The ads, which began appearing on bus shelters and newsstands, promote Google Maps as a Web tool that helps newcomers and residents alike uncover local gems in 13 cities worldwide. New York City, Paris, London, Hong Kong and others are participating. Better yet, it also includes recommendations from A-list stars like Isaac Mizrahi, Yo-Yo Ma and Al Gore. Whoa, does that mean if we follow the search results' advice, we might run into the former vice president at his favorite restaurant?! Probably not, but at least I'll find something good to eat.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Please don't use the word 'search' around Microsoft and Yahoo!

Posted on Mon Jun 1 2009

Search copy

Every so often, marketing flushes out an apt, descriptive word for corporate blather. Before there were one-time-use cameras, for instance, we called them disposables. Used cars gave way to pre-owned, and so forth. The latest word that seems to be marked for extinction is "search," which is being targeted by companies that make what used to be called search engines. Both Yahoo! and Microsoft seemed to have decided last week that they no longer like the term. First, Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz told CNBC's Jim Goldman that Yahoo! is a lot of things, but "just because we're on the Internet does not mean we're a search company. We are much broader than a search company." Not to be outdone, Microsoft unveiled its latest product, Bing, which it dubbed a "decision engine" that's "the first step in moving beyond search to help make faster, more informed decisions," according to a press release. For its part, Google doesn't stray from the s-word in its company overview. ("Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a new approach to online search ...") But then again, who uses the term "search engine" anyway? Most people just say Google.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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