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Google's Ironic Ad Campaign and the Future of Traditional Media

Sep 27, 2010, 19:34 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy Updegrove)

"Page through a major newspaper (remember newspapers?) today like the New York Times, and you're likely to run into two enormous ads, one by Google (almost two full pages) and one by AOL (a full two pages). Leaving aside the irony of Google advertising in a form of media that it has almost competed out of existence, there's something potentially transformative going on here that's worth exploring.

"What both companies are pushing is display advertising. Google, because it wants to lessen its dependence on the increasingly competitive search ad business, and AOL because AOL has been in serious trouble since, well, forever. It's probably also a clever effort on AOL's part to ride the coat tails of Google's big investment advertising – which also includes an enormous electronic touch screen display in Times Square in New York.

"There is some substance to the effort in that what each company is pushing is higher quality, more interesting, more diverse display ads. The Google spread in the Times touts incorporating all of the following into display ads: augmented reality, 3D gaming, chat, interactive video, live streaming and more. The AOL ad spread focuses instead on a cleaner, less cluttered overall page view, with fewer, larger, less intrusive, and more interesting display ads.

"So why would I call these campaigns potentially transformative?"

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