Print advertising is the future - Google says so

Imagine if you can, for a moment, that you are Google.

You have revolutionised the advertising industry. Billions of marketing dollars now flow your way. Traditional outlets for ads, such as newspapers and magazines, are facing disaster and many have already shut down. You are under fire from media titans such as Rupert Murdoch, fearful of their own dead tree empires collapsing. Meanwhile, you are also trying to revolutionise another industry – the Microsoft one – and your latest focus is the shiny new Chrome browser with which you hope to lure internet-savvy punters away from their reliance on Internet Explorer and, ultimately, Windows.

How do you choose to inform the wider web using population about your new product? Pop-up ads on Google’s web site? Those carefully selected, oh-so-lucrative text ads alongside search results?

No. You choose… a newspaper advert. For today, Google, the scion of the print-free web future, bought a false front cover, wraparound advert in the free Metro newspaper to tell everyone why they should use the Chrome browser. Well, at least it chose a free paper and not one of Murdoch’s.

Downtime is printing off several thousand copies of this blog post at this very moment to send to all our readers.  

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Yes, this corporation’s advert covers the front and back pages of the Metro today, inside and out.

I doubt many people read it, though. Most people aren’t that interested in reading about web browsers and corporate propaganda during their daily commute. Google wants Chrome to be mainstream, and pushes their products very hard using arrogant, patronising language that portrays all rival products as implicitly inferior and web users as stupid.

I prefer Firefox and Internet Explorer.

I haven’t seen anybody yet fully covering the rationale behind this latest Google marketing campaign.

Google is trying to raise public awareness of Chrome in the hope that people will choose Chrome when Microsoft gives them the option, as they have now been forced to do.

Google and other browser companies lobbied and convinced the EU (probably the most bloated and corrupt public institution in the history of human civilisation) to force Microsoft to advertise rival products on Windows, and make its own products harder to get to.

Google deviously signed-up as an interested party, purporting to represent the interests of the web:

Next, Google waited a while... And then announced the launch of their own web browser!

Is it time to ban Notepad?

This text editing software has a uniquely privileged position in the market, because it comes free with Windows. Also, Notepad has become intolerably popular, because it does its job so well.

Rival corporations and their fan networks are not yet lobbying about Notepad, because they aren’t trying to push competing products yet.

Its ironic that a search engine, renowned for search advertising would choose to use print advertising for chrome but I'm sure it will work for them.

They will be reaching the users who rarely go online to see ads therefore getting another way to build traffic. It is an unusual method therefore plenty of people will write about it on and off the web (this article for example) raising more awareness.

I am also under no false illusion that Google is only using print. Google will be using print (and billboard adverts as I saw this morning) in tandem with online and social media marketing as well this will be part of a rounded startegy and good for them passing some revenue to a struggling print industry.

During the First and Second World Wars, recruiting posters became extremely common, and many of them have persisted in the national consciousness, such as the "Lord Kitchener Wants You" posters from the United Kingdom, the "Uncle Sam wants you" posters from the United States, or the "Loose Lips Sink Ships" posters[1] that warned of foreign spies. Posters during wartime were also used for propaganda purposes, persuasion, and motivation, such as the famous Rosie the Riveter posters which exhorted women workers during World War II that "We can do it!". The Soviet Union also produced a plethora of propaganda posters[2], some of which became iconic representations of the Great Patriotic War. During the democratic revolutions of 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe the poster was very important weapon in the hand of the opposition. Brave printed and hand-made political posters appeared on the Berlin Wall, on the statue of St. Wenseslas in Prague and around the unmarked grave of Imre Nagy in Budapest and the role of them was indispensable for the democratic change. A recent example of an influential political poster is Shepard Fairey's Barack Obama "HOPE" poster.