It’s not exactly surprising that the world’s most prominent online advertising company, Google, pretty much shunned television ads for the first decade of its existence.
After all, it helped pioneer an ad model that has shifted budget away from traditional forms of advertising.
But as the search giant has moved beyond search and search ads to launch new digital products, it has clearly accepted the notion that there’s a place for television advertising.
Google’s initial forays into the world of television advertising weren’t for everyone. I, for instance, suggested that the company’s 2009 Chrome ad might be a contender for the “worst television ad ever“.
Google didn’t give up and made its biggest small screen ad buy last year when it purchased a Super Bowl spot to promote its core product. This ad, to Google’s credit, was a huge improvement.
Nearly two years later, Google appears quite comfortable with television ads. Case in point: yesterday, it used one to push Google+ to a broader audience during a Thanksgiving day NFL game.
The message, Google+ is “Sharing, but like real life.” To drive that message home, the company focuses in on its Circles and Hangouts functionality, which are arguably two of Google+’s most notable Facebook differentiators.
In my opinion, the ad is nowhere near as Google as the company’s Parisian Love Super Bowl commercial, which tells an interesting, emotional story through one fictional user’s Google searches. Compared to that ad, Google’s attempt to introduce Google+ to U.S. sports fans feels a bit too mechanical and lacks the intrigue and emotion delivered in Parisian Love.
The real question, of course, is whether Google’s attempts to use television ads to drive Google+ adoption will pay off. Facebook, of course, is the ‘social network’, and it never had to run an ad to get there.
With Google willing to spend big bucks on one of the most expensive forms of advertising, we’ll soon find out if the small screen can help the company make a big splash in a market it clearly wants to be a strong player in.