Search expert John Battelle called it. Google aired its Parisian Love ad, a 52-second YouTube clip toward the end of the third quarter of the NFL Super Bowl Feb. 7 between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts.
The Saints won the contest in Miami, 31-17. Oh, and here's the ad in case you were rooting around in your fridge for snacks:
They say Super Bowl ad air time costs $3 million for 30 seconds. So this ad possibly cost Google $6 million. Six million! For what?
Roughly 70 percent of the Web searchers the world over use Google as it is. Parisian Love, to me, smells like affirmation, which is fine if that's the point. Actually, Schmidt explained Google's point in a blog post after the ad aired last night, noting:
"We didn't set out to do a Super Bowl ad, or even a TV ad for search. Our goal was simply to create a series of short online videos about our products and our users, and how they interact. But we liked this video so much, and it's had such a positive reaction on YouTube, that we decided to share it with a wider audience."
Positive reaction or not, the ad got 1.6 million page views on YouTube, and millions more saw it during the game last night. Here is the complete series of Google videos, called Search Stories.
Where was Microsoft Bing during the Super Bowl? With 11 percent, that search engine is starving for more users. Once again, Microsoft is left out of another Web conversation, even if it's not scintillating.
What's more scintillating to me is this BusinessWeek report that Google's display ad sales may top $1 billion in 2010. Display ads include graphical ads on Web pages, as well as marketing messages in videos. BW noted:
"Display ads are likely to contribute a little more than $1 billion, or about 4% of Google's (GOOG) total sales this year--an increase of as much 40% over last year--say analysts, including Doug Anmuth at Barclays Capital."
Google has search ads, those text links paired alongside Google searches, locked up. Generating more cash running display ads, something Yahoo and Microsoft have enjoyed more success at, would be a big boost for Google this year.
Google's DoubleClick display ad network and YouTube, with ads such as Parisian Love and the other "search stories," can help.