Google woos ad agencies like a fish woos a bicycle
Search giant's courting of ad agencies leaves a lot to be desired. Understanding, for example.
So who are the Mad Men now?
I am indebted to the very fine Nicholas Carlson at Valleywag for sprinkling a little reality on Google's attempt to woo ad agencies.
Google is currently sending many very bright young things into the highly neurotic agency world and attempting to charm those careworn advertising beasts with candy and T-shirts.
Why does this immediately remind me of the Scientologists who regularly try to stop me in the street to jolly me into a stress test?
Their demeanor has all the chirpiness of the manic-depressive checkout staff at the supermarket.
But just as the Scientologists don't realize they are actually contributing to my stress levels, these chipper Googlies are failing to realize that the kind of inducement that appeals to the majority of ad agency folks tends to be candy of a slightly less legitimate constitution. Preferably rolled up in $100 bills.
Ad agency folks realize that Google's ultimate aim is to sidle up to their clients.
However, Google seems to have decided to cuddle up to agencies in order to, who knows, learn the lingo a little better. Or perhaps to influence insecure agency beings into proselytizing on behalf of these brand new, light-seeing Latter Day Googlies.
It appears to have dawned on the Search Kings that ad agencies might not be giving all their services five-star reviews in the peculiar private theater that is the client meeting.
Of course, the company is aiming to attract display ads, jarring though that might be for users. But display ads are the hardest for Googlies to understand, as they are slightly less linear than your average domesticated algorithm.
Just as there is no formula for a great YouTube video, there is no binary bistro recipe for great ads.
Worse for Google is the fact that not only do they have to understand the eerily emotional world of brand persuasion, but they then have to show they understand it. That is a very different dance altogether and will definitely not be solved by more cartoons featuring their handsome developer chappies.
There is something sweet about Google attempting to creatively disarm with sweeties. In the same way that it's sweet when your little nephew sings you a song about underpants he learned in school today.
Ad agency media buyers can see a sales pitch coming from just over Little Big Horn.
And while I am told several have been temporarily amused by the Scient(olog)ists sending in their version of the Happy-Clappy Doo-Dah Band, when push comes to shove (the intermediate stage being the snort), Google will need to try slightly more, well, engaging tactics than these.
Wouldn't it be utterly bizarre if Google resorted to doing an ad campaign? If they participated in creating a great one, that might just be one way to earn a little more agency affection.