July 14th, 2008 Jason
I was walking through Charing Cross station the other day when I saw a large billboard for a major mobile phone company. What caught my eye was the call to action: Search ‘I am.’
Gotta say, that’s some confidence there.
One of our brands has recently been pursuing a campaign with a similar angle – instead of a web address, we’ll prompt you to simply drop this key term into a search engine, and dimes to dollars (pence to pounds?) you’ll find our site at the top of the results.
This particular campaign is being managed by an external agency, and apart from dropping a link on the main brand site, the current Google rankings are being driven exclusively by their linkbuilding efforts – and the fact that they’ve accomplished the promised #1 and #2 spots for the two landing pages may speak well for them…though you know it helps that the term in question is absolutely unique on the web. It’s kind of like, "why does Flickr rank number 1 when I search on the word flickr?" Maybe because it’s a totally made up word? That’s what this campaign has done. The real challenge is raising awareness of the term in the first place so people know to search for it.
Certain search marketers will have business cards which simply prompt you to search on their name. "Just google me – you’ll find me." That’s a little easier to control, perhaps, unless you’re named John Smith. Then, I imagine, it’s a bit more of a game. But I could do that, and I haven’t really been trying too hard. I’m just more active online than that guy in Tucson is, now that he’s stopped racing bikes and getting listed in the sports section every two weeks. But as a potential client, you want to be able to look up the person you are paying and know that they can do their job – and if most of the top ten results point to the same person, you get a pretty good feeling that they know how to play the game.
I have to say, though…I was impressed by the cajones involved behind a campaign that was relying on being able to perform based on something as generic as ‘I am.’ Even my jaded self was prompted to go plop down on the laptop and do the search – and this is where it backfires.
See, I use the CustomizeGoogle extension on Firefox, and I block paid ads. What do I see when I search on "I am?" Humorously, i-am-bored.com. Wikipedia. A London-based branding consultancy who you can bet wasn’t part of this campaign. I Am Legend. I Am Kloot. And a bunch of other stuff that has nothing to do with Orange mobile communications. Whoops.
Of course, when I enable ads or search on Yahoo!, there they are, right at the top…but how disappointing. That’s just a matter of being willing and able to spend more money than anyone else, and once again for something that probably not a lot of people are either searching or bidding on. And I’m let down, just a bit, because somebody had some rocks to sell this advertising idea, but the execution, in my book, is far less impressive than it could be.
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