Google ads continue to pleasantly surprise

November 21, 2011

It’s good to see Google’s flush of Lions winners at this year’s Cannes International Advertising Festival is no flash in the pan.

Currently, there are two excellent campaigns (or at least, two that I am aware of). They’re concise, to the point, and extremely well crafted. They even manage to make complex, potentially dull, subject matter amusing. Who would have thought technoraks capable of such a thing?

One, which I noticed for the first time in today’s Guardian (although it has been running for a month) is the Good to Know campaign, devised by M&C Saatchi and Glue Isobar (part of Aegis). It’s essentially a public service campaign, endorsed by the Citizens Advice Bureau, which by means of simple line drawings and even simpler text manages to distil such recondite concepts as online tracking, private browsing and IP addresses down to their most basic context. Naturally enough, the tone is upbeat. Those concerned with the more sinister implications of behavioural targeting, “private” browsing and “unsafe” search would presumably be well advised to consult the proffered website, or indeed their local CAB directly. Nevertheless, the campaign performs its function well. I would not (while we’re on the subject) be surprised to find its scheduling has something to do with the high-level discussions going on in Brussels over the regulatory future of BT, which I covered in an earlier post.

Equally gem-like is a Google Analytics offering from Google Creative Labs (the in-house ad incubator that was behind those Cannes winners). The “slice of life” film uses a supermarket setting to skilfully drive home the point about irritating, counter-productive e-commerce security protocol. For you and for me all that stuff about timing out, tedious usernames and unintelligible word-games raises a hollow and knowing chuckle, no less resonant on second viewing. But we are not the audience. The aim is to teach web-publishers the error of their ways. User-friendly sites produce better sales results, and the best way to find out what works and what does not is to check out Google Analytics.

It’s rare to find a B2B ad that really shines. This one should encounter little competition in the “business services” category which it occupies. Sadly, for that very reason, it will probably not receive the wider feting it undoubtedly deserves.

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