free html hit counter Pontiac Says: Google Proves It - John Battelle's Search Blog

Pontiac Says: Google Proves It

By - January 25, 2006

GoogpontiacGM says Google Pontiac. Perhaps the first time a major (and I mean really major) marketer has used search marketing so directly in a television campaign. From the MediaPost coverage: 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.

This is a regional campaign, and certainly demonstrates how Google has become an authority/integrity call to action for marketers. Screenshot here.

Now, when I Google Pontiac, I see two sponsored links up top, both from Pontiac (if I were, say, Toyota, I might just think about bidding that keyword….but I digress). In any case, since many folks have no idea that those blue shaded links are in fact ads, I am sure that they are going to be making Google a lot of money over the course of this campaign. Innaresting.

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10 thoughts on “Pontiac Says: Google Proves It

  1. Pontiac did this several months ago, in association with Yahoo and the Donald Trump show “The Apprentice” on NBC.

  2. This sure is an interesting sidestep. If it indeed works and makes goog a lot of cash they could do the tv add witouth any help. more>

  3. arsblog says:

    Wouldn’t Pontiac’s lawyers have a go at Toyota for such a strategy? I have gotten cease & decist notices from an internet company’s legal office for “infringing” on their trademark with my keyword choices…

  4. karl long says:

    FYI I do have the complete video of the commercial on my site as well as a screenshot:

    There really is quite a buzz about this commercial, and some great commentry.



  5. Joe says:

    When I search Pontiac, I get one link on top for Pontiac. The next link on the side is a Mazda sponsored link which claims to compare Pontiac to Mazda(which I clicked on cause I own a Mazda). However, the landing page turns out to be simply a Mazda page.

    We will see if this gets legal attention. But a couple of quick thoughts:

    If no one can bid on Pontiac other than GM this would encourage more brands to advertise using “Google us!”, this should be Google’s goal. – REPLACE THE URL BAR – I am sure they are looking at way to negotiate more ad campaigns like this. This might even include subsidizing the commercial cost. Why not? Supermarkets and Products split the cost all that time. Would that technically be TV advertising? How do you negotiate these deals? (BD people would get their weight in stock to make this happen)

    Companies will pay a minimum price (even if not bidding against others) to ensure they control the first message you see, before the scary world of organic results skews there tailored marketing message – How much to charge for this (Economist PHD’s billing out nicely here)

    If Mazda had landed its sponsored link on a comparison page then it would pass the relevancy test and should Google block them anyway? Are they obligated to? (Lawyers get the big bucks for this one)

  6. I thought the most thought-provoking part of your post was “This is a regional campaign”. This got me started thinking about the possibility of major marketers, local dealers using google local in their campaign. Google map is already cutting deals on the side with hotel chains to display “blue balloon” pops for hotels nearby your search. I wonder how far we are from seeing “(GoogleLocal operator) Pontiac to visit your nearest dealers”.

  7. Max Kalehoff says:

    Thanks for linking to my story, John. And thanks Karl for giving me a screenshot and video to link to.
    — Max Kalehoff, vp-marketing of BuzzMetrics

  8. Stephanie M. Cockerl says:

    Since Pontiac came up with using Google in its TV ad, now others are trying it out. Quickshine floor cleaner goes as far as to tell viewers to search for them on Google. They have a paid listing, however Pontiac has both a paid and organic listing. Are the flood gates expanding for using this method of TV advertisting?

  9. Gregory says:

    Please note that this was an Infuse Creative search engine marketing campaign.