While participating in the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) conference last week in Orlando, Florida, I caught one of General Motor’s 30-second regional television ads for its Pontiac brand. Television ads often stimulate Internet search behavior by increasing brand awareness or sparking curiosity, as often demonstrated by Hitwise. But this GM spot was significant because it ended with an unusual call to action: "Don’t take our word for it. Google Pontiac and discover for yourself." And the ad ended not with a URL or phone number for a local dealer, but an actual Google screenshot with Pontiac typed in. Yes, an actual screenshot!
While Google’s experimentation in traditional advertising channels–like television, print and radio–is increasingly apparent, the "Google Pontiac" campaign is quite the opposite. It’s among the most transparent efforts by a marketer to leverage search via highly connected television advertising. This is interesting for several reasons: 1) it reflects the weight of the Google brand; 2) it validates consumer-generated media, which proliferate search results; and 3) it reinforces Pontiac’s existing Google mojo. I wrote more about this in my most recent MediaPost SearchInsider column (free registration required).