….Does anyone else find it a little strange to see new-media Google (the big game changer in advertising, as you may recall) using an old-media TV advertising campaign (let alone one clearly targeted to play on the emotions!!) ??
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No disagreement, Phil, regarding 'getting it right' nevertheless I still find more than a little ironic. In fact my first thought was "since when does Google advertise like this?"; my second thought was that "neither Facebook nor Twitter need to advertise!".
That said, Google needs two things to maintain dominance and improve search: social discovery and video discovery.
Pinterest (or a Pinterest-style approach could answer the latter (since they own the data) (and I wouldn't be surprised to see an acquisition)
But!! they don't own the data with the former, with most of it feeding the closed Facebook and less-than-open Twitter environments.
Google+ is their most recent attempt (there have been several before this) and so far the most successful in terms of their broad target demographic. It was launched with the highest of profiles, has 50 million to 100+ million users ('active' and phantom numbers are always being argued).
Funny thing is the simple fact that Google's doesn't really need you to do much more than login to Google+ that one, important first time *only*!
Google+ is designed to power ad targeting and that first login adds biographical information (age, gender, education, employers, and places you’ve lived ) with activities and demographics already known (from Search, Gmail, Maps, when navigating with your Android phone…) which enables the creation of a more accurate identity profile, providing a complementary 'engine' for the targeting of ever more relevant ads for which Google can increase fees / get higher auction results.
Advertising is, after all, the business of Google.