by Mike Masnick

Pontiac Puts Its Faith In Google Results

from the advertising-without-a-net dept

When the internet was first becoming a commercial success, big name advertisers would go out and buy AOL keywords, and at the end of TV and radio commercials tell people to search on those keywords. As advertisers finally learned that the internet was a lot more than just AOL, that practice faded away. In 2002 we noted that one advertiser had decided that even putting URLs in a commercial was too cumbersome and, instead, just told people to Google its name. It was a sign of faith that Google would return the right result. It looks like that's gone a step further now. Pontiac is apparently advertising in some locations with a television ad that tells people to search Google for Pontiac (and even shows a screenshot) to see what people are saying about the car company. John Battelle points out that other carmakers might want to think about bidding up the price of AdWords on that keyword now (my quick test shows a Mazda ad in the top slot -- so perhaps they've already begun). What's interesting is that Pontiac parent GM says part of the reason they're doing this is to associate the company with a strong brand -- the same argument we heard a few months ago for why certain companies were willing to pay a premium to be in Google's print ad experiments. Apparently, just any association with the company is viewed as a good thing by some advertisers. Still, this does seem like a risky move -- and simply cries out for search engine manipulators to mess around with the results seen on a search on the keyword Pontiac.

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  1. identicon
    Sohrab, 26 Jan 2006 @ 3:39am

    No Subject Given

    I believe this is part of Pontiacs new image of trying to be a cool hip car company. Google is the new hip thing that brought back search engines to life and made them matter and a household name.

    Pontiac with their new car "Vibe" and commercial saying "they never missed a beat" so now their taking it a step further and putting a "hip" company in their corner.

    whatever i say, retarded but more power for google :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Jon, 26 Jan 2006 @ 4:28am

    Re: No Subject Given

    It's going to breally cool and hip when they get Googlebombed and the top hit for "Pontiac" is Or worse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    ZOMG CENSORED, 26 Jan 2006 @ 6:41am

    If I was Ford...

    ...I'd start including a ton of "Comparisons" to Pontiac (thus mentioning their name a metric fuckload of times) on the front page. But I'm just a bastard, so that could just be me...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Fed Up, 26 Jan 2006 @ 7:52am


    Well, sad for all those ani-google people out there that just hope that it would mess up by puttin a site or somethin' else you didn't search for... Google is reliable. Thats why they are the most known and used search engine. Face it, the people at google actually have a head on their shoulders. Random site don't show up when runnin the search, unless you feel like screwin' with the was the technology was design and threw in a bunch of random wide range words - could still be difficult. Google is an every day thing, for pretty much every one. And they are pretty reliable with most of their services.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Rick, 26 Jan 2006 @ 7:59am

    It doesn't matter...

    Pontiac's goal was to be associated with a hip site like Google. They've done that. This article is just one example of the power of that choice, we're talking about it right here. Mission accomplished.

    The very tiny percentage of people who see the commercials and actually go to Google to learn more about Pontiac understand what google is and how to use a search engine. They'll find the information they want on Pontiac and appreciate the honesty of the company. They'll likely also recognize the overhyped BS when they get to the googlebombed sites and move to the next one.

    BTW, doesn't Google also offer 'AOL type keywords' to people who 'opt-in' to the search service, sending them to the most relevant site for a keyword rather than the results? (now the default option in Google toolbar I believe)

    In the end, a good marketing ploy...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Ben McNelly, 26 Jan 2006 @ 8:04am

    No Subject Given

    its funny the adwords mazda is using seemed to backfire on me... link

    - I was comparing them, and it seems the mazda is not much of a gainer over the pontiac, so not sure on the "why" of this ad, other than the fact they can...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jan 2006 @ 8:34am

    Re: No Subject Given

    It'll happen. Was the very first thing I thought of when I saw that commercial..."Googlebombed in a heartbeat."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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