Google: No Homepage Ads, but We'll Take Some Billboards

Search Giant Needs to Boost Marketing to Support New Products

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NEW YORK ( -- Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have long said they won't sully Google's page with advertising. But the American landscape? That's another matter.

The WSJ weighs in on the ongoing re-think taking place at Google over marketing. Mainly, the story is that Google is going to start doing some -- and that includes some pretty non-digital approaches, such as roadside billboards to get people to try using the search giant for things other than search.

As Ad Age reported last month, those 800-GOOG-411 billboards were the work of Seattle-based Creature, which also did campaigns for Gmail and Google Maps. Google has been flirting with a number of agencies since it brought on former Ogilvy & Mather exec Andy Berndt to lead marketing efforts last year. At some point, it seems likely Google will want to do some marketing for it's Web browser, Chrome.

In that same story, Ad Age also noted that Google seems to favor independent shops. The company is already working with Weiden & Kennedy on an outdoor and online campaign in Japan and has tapped it for some U.S. work around Google TV Ads. It tapped Toy, New York, to create a YouTube how-to-guide called a "Tubetorial" that launched earlier this year and Naked Communications is also said to have worked with Google. It has also reached out to the New York offices of Taxi.

The bottom line is that Google's growth is slowing down. Word-of-mouth and free media was enough to grow the company into a search powerhouse but Google is going to have to spend more than its current $20 million a year on marketing if it wants to move in on big spenders like Microsoft and Apple with new products such as Google Apps and the G1 phone, respectively.
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