Google turns to TV in India

07 July 2011

NEW DELHI: Google, the online giant, is turning to TV advertising as it seeks to drive up awareness and usage of its products in India.

The US multinational is adapting an idea already leveraged in several other countries, and utilising the tagline "The Web is What You Make of It", specifically for Indian consumers.

India constitutes a particularly attractive market for the company, given the size of its population, alongside rising internet penetration and digital literacy levels.

In developing the campaign, Google asked Indian netizens - currently 100m strong - to reveal how the net had improved their lives, making the best examples into TV spots.

"We have stories from celebrities to everyday consumers to small businessmen, all telling us what the web means to them," Nikhil Rungta, marketing head, Google India, told the Business Standard.

"The web has completely transformed people's lives."

"They spend more time online, in their browser, than they do in their car ... The campaign shows how the web empowers people to amplify anything they want to do."

"It opens people's eyes to how they can connect, inspire and impact the world via the power of the web. It's also an open invitation to get people online and using the web to its full potential."

Among the individual executions is "Letters from Dad", which includes parents employing different digital technologies to record events and milestones as their children grow up.

Elsewhere, "Archana's Kitchen" features Archana Doshi, a housewife who started a cooking blog five years ago, and now receives over 2,000 visitors per day.

This popularity has secured her a book deal, and helped Doshi expand into catering.

"There are women like Archana out there and her story can inspire them to do more," Rungta said.

Online video will be used to support the organisation's TV campaign, with the Chrome browser one of the main products to be promoted.

At present, Google Chrome takes 23% of the Indian browser category, according to estimates from research firm Stat Counter.

This leaves it behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer, holding a 40% share, and Mozilla's Firefox, on 32%.

"We intend to highlight the ease of use with Chrome browser to Indian users who may have not switched or seen our browser," said Rungta.

More broadly, Google is considering creating a portal where consumers can submit footage discussing their own experiences, potentially offering fresh and engaging marketing material.

"Though the people who have featured currently are those we know, we are looking to start a website soon that will allow people to post details of their online ventures and let us feature them," said Rungta.

Rajiv Dingra, the founder of WatConsult, the digital agency, suggested the emotional pull of Google's advertising would play an important role.

"Google ads tell a clever story, as they have clearly understood that there is not much value in touting how things work or how sophisticated the technology is," he said.

"What matters is that it's personal, it's easy, it's shareable, and that it works."

James Dobson, an analyst with the Benchmark Company, argued building awareness was another goal.

"They just want Indian users to familiarise themselves with their product," he said.

Moreover, attracting small-and-medium-sized enterprises could prove profitable, and Dobson believes Google's tactics reflect similar education drives as when it first launched.

"The SME market is critical for them; they had also chosen to break into the market the same way when they had launched initially," he said.

Data sourced from Business Standard, Livemint, Hindustan Times; additional content by Warc staff