Google Salesforce 'Camped Out' at WPP Agencies

03 July 2007

LONDON: Sir Martin Sorrell is perhaps regretting his recent description of Google as a "frenemy" of ad agencies - not least because it has goaded the search titan's UK sales team into "practically camping out" at WPP Group agencies.

Not journalistic hyperbole, but the words of Google's UK country director Mark Howe, when addressing an event hosted by WPP's MediaEdge:CIA.

Sorrell's much-quoted "frenemy" bon mot was aimed at Google's dual role, both as a friend and an enemy of advertising agencies. The owner of a highly potent advertising medium on the one hand; on the other a competitor selling its wares direct to advertisers.

Howe told his audience that traditional methods of campaign planning via audience demographics - age, sex and social classification - are less relevant on the web, where consumers are as defined by shared interests at any one time.

"That idea is passé," argued Howe. "You can be 22 and buying a Porsche or 65 and buying a laptop now."

He also urged campaign and media planners to assign more prominence to search advertising at an earlier stage, especially when it is used in tandem with TV advertising. For example, internet users are as likely to search using generic terms as a specific brand name.

Howe cited of Flora's Love your heart campaign where consumers are as likely to search for information about avoiding heart disease as about the brand itself.

He also spoke of "massive spikes" in search traffic for terms linked to brands recently advertised on television. "Television advertising isn't dying ... I think television and search are highly complementary," Howe said.

Meantime, Google is working "full throttle" on developing its services for mobile devices.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff