Monday, 29 October 2012

Advertising Google Chrome

Last month, Google launched its latest push for Chrome with a series of adverts designed to showcase the many features of the browser and sister platforms. Google has a history of producing great campaigns to promote its services and I was particularly taken by this particular round of advertising.

Working in advertising, I was naturally curious as to the creative process that goes into creating a campaign for one of the largest companies in the world. With this in mind, I posed some questions to Simon Woods, the team manager responsible for the Google account at BBH. His answers provide an illuminating insight into what it's like to work with an online giant. Genuinely fascinating stuff and I'd like to thanks Simon for his time in answering my questions.

What was your role in creating the adverts?

I am one of two Team Managers on the Google account at BBH. The role is broad. It mainly involves managing a project (typically an advert, but we're working on an increasingly number of digital projects too) from its inception, through strategic and creative development to its final execution. Probably most importantly as Team Manager, you are the conduit between the agency and Google, constantly balancing out the sometimes differing perspectives and opinions to reach the most powerful work you can. I should note that I worked on the 'Second Chance' spot and my colleague, Lauren Blunden, managed the 'Satchels' film
My role in creating the latest campaign followed a similar pattern - working closely with the strategic teams to put together a sound business case and brief for the campaign.

As part of a well established campaign we worked closely with the BBH NY who had been instrumental in coming up with the idea for the spot. Once we had settled on a creative route we involved The Mill as production house who worked closely with our production and creative teams to bring the film to life. It was a great project, one of those jobs where everything seemed to fit together really well.

What was the SMP of the adverts?

Google Chrome's positioning has always been about the inspiring, extraordinary things you can achieve through the internet - it's less about simply demonstrating the functionality or boasting about the capacity of the product. Chrome and Google in general have based their whole business around providing access to the incredible resource that is the internet. Given the correct tools, people can do amazing things with it - our approach has always been about celebrating this. The end-line - the web is what you make of it - does a great job of encapsulating this, I think. 

Can you go into a bit of detail about the brief

Globally, Google Chrome is experiencing a period of growth and the main challenge for this campaign was to sustain that growth and hopefully giving it the final nudge over the line to become the country's most popular browser. 

Who's the audience you're targeting in the adverts?

Internet use is becoming so ubiquitous and with the goal of becoming the most popular browser in the next year or so, our target audience is always going to be very wide. That said, we targeted two main audiences for the campaign. The first is a smaller collection of relatively influential people who are typically already aware of Chrome and the capabilities, they might already harbour aspirations to create something using the internet. These people are also typically use the internet a lot - high levels of social networking, content creation and media consumption. 

Besides this group, we targeted a larger group of the internet enabled population, typically they're already pretty engaged with the internet and will likely have heard about Chrome from the advertising or from the former target audience.

I really like the personal stories in each of the ads - why was this route chosen?

It goes back to the strategy hinted at in the SMP - the product is about what you can achieve through the internet. The best way to convey this is through personal stories, not necessarily stories of success but stories that demonstrate the variety and power of the internet. For the 'Satchels' story (as with last year's 'Jamal' film) we used true stories and real people. This often makes for a much harder creative and production process but ultimately it means that the final films carry much more weight both emotionally and as an endorsement of the product and marketing message. We also hope it inspires people to get out there and create their own projects with the internet.

How receptive were the marketing team of Google of the creative? What was their input?

We're incredibly lucky to work with some great clients at Google. Internally, the company has managed to foster a great atmosphere of taking risks and trying things out.

As someone who works in client services you can't ask for a better approach to a creative project than that. Sometimes the nature of the projects will mean quite a lot of pressure on both sides to make big creative decisions and the approach we have adopted is to try and break down the barrier between agency and client almost completely. Both BBH and Google have made a big effort to dispense with the usual agency/client politics and work as a close team, making decisions in a collaborative manner. 

Any versions/ideas that didn't make it into the final batch of adverts?

Plenty! Coming from a tech background means that the default way Google will use to establish if something works is to test, test, test. Not disimilar to the Minimum Viable Product method a lot of digital companies use when developing products. This iterative approach makes from some great work, but it can be time and resource intensive and not everyone is comfortable working in this way.

Creatives in particular have to be prepared to be flexible and work through multiple routes until something sticks. Having experienced both the digital and industrial design worlds prior to working in above the line advertising, this approach is something I'm fairly comfortable with and, given the right circumstances, is something that I can see being of value to a lot of different brands out there.