NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Google CEO Eric Schmidt is hinting that Google is entering the brand advertising big leagues with an ad in the third quarter of the Super Bowl on CBS.
Federated Media CEO John Battelle reported on his website Searchblog.com that Google is to air a branding spot, "Parisian Love," from its "Search Stories" series, according to a source. Soon after he e-mailed Google for comment, CEO Eric Schmidt posted the following on Twitter: "Can't wait to watch the Superbowl tomorrow. Be sure to watch the ads in the 3rd quarter (someone said 'Hell has indeed frozen over.')"
As Mr. Schmidt indicates, an ad during the Super Bowl would indeed be a departure for Google, which has operated mostly under the philosophy that the product is the best advertising. Last summer, Mr. Schmidt poured scorn on rival search engine Bing's branding campaign saying, "You don't buy it with ads. You earn it, and you earn it customer by customer, search by search, answer by answer."
Google ran its first TV ads less than a year ago for newly launched web browser, Chrome, which was placed using Google TV Ads. But that was on a micro-scale buy on niche cable channels compared with the Super Bowl telecast, which draws an audience of nearly 100 million in the U.S. The "Search Stories" campaign focuses on the Google brand but also promotes Google's core product: search.
Even if Google is a no-show in the game, it's gotten plenty of weekend buzz simply over the suggestion it could be there. As Pepsi has proven with its decision to not advertise in the game, a marketer needs not to actually be present to benefit from a solid dose of Super-Bowl-related chatter. CBS did not respond to a request for comment and Google has responded to inquiries by advising people to "watch the Super Bowl."
Search Engine Land editor Danny Sullivan said the Super Bowl move signals that the company is feeling some pressure from Microsoft's Bing. "The company has never, ever seriously advertised its core search offerings in this manner," he wrote.