Going Google: A New Contender in the Microsoft vs. Apple Advertising Battle

Boston, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago will be getting a month-long billboard ad campaign starting for this week, with one simple message: If you want to escape Microsoft's expensive grip, switch to Google.

A billboard campaign may sound slightly olde worlde for an uber-technology leader like Google, but the roads concerned (the Mass Pike, the 101, West Side Highway and the Ike, respectively) get traveled every day by millions of urban tech people heading into work—the target audience for Google. And, it's no ordinary billboard campaign. It'll update every day for a month, and as the days go by it'll reveal more and more about the concept of "going Google." Check out the preview video below.

The whole shtick is that Google's trying to educate those people driving by about the benefits of using Google's workplace solutions instead of a more expensive, less flexible competitor's solution. Think of it as a simpler version of the digital freeway sign in Steve Martin's L.A. Story, updating daily with a new friendly message that tempts you to switch away from Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange and so on.

In fact, it's simply a new take on the famous Mac switcher ads, first premiered with the delectable Apple switcher Ellen some seven years ago.

Google's on the offensive against Microsoft at the moment. Though Eric Schmidt was insistent that Chrome OS wasn't a direct Windows rival, the thrust of this new campaign is a direct response to Office In The Cloud, and an attack at core MS products. Clearly Google is confident enough in its software that it sees it as a real, working, reliable, solid and cheaper alternative to the business production solutions that MS has been peddling for decades.

[GoogleAppsAtWork via Mashable]

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  • MIchael Hoffman

    Google loves to try to show how different it is from companies like Microsoft, yet in the end the two companies behave the same way. Perhaps Google's use of more traditional means of advertising is an act of desperation. I definitely don't plan on using Google's OS. Microsoft windows has it's bugs and security patches, however i know that when i go to turn my computer on, it will work. I think Google is butting into a market that it doesn't belong in.

  • Kit Eaton

    @Freddy. Heh--it is a fabulous "return to roots" isn't it.
    @Jaime. I like the idea of developing a following. I think I too might get a gentle "up" by wondering what today's message is as I was stuck in traffic.
    @Micheal. Isn't it's simplicity actually quite potent? Aggressive is how MS does their ads, snarky/stylish is Apple's modus operandi...so perhaps Google's finding its own way.

  • Michael Shoemaker

    Love the idea. The messaging is a bit weak, don't you think? They could be way more aggressive. The Apple ad is a good example.

  • Jaime Sanchez

    This is interesting and from and advertising perspective one that may actually gain some traction.
    We’ve all seen how companies use billboards to “tell a story” over a period of time or over several miles of a highway (take the “The Thing?” billboards along the I-10 in Arizona)

    However, with such a high profile company advertising, it could very well play into their hands and even develop a following of with all the daily commuters. Not unlike that of watching a weekly sitcom, tuning in to see what happens next and so on.

  • Freddy Nager

    This just warms an advertising exec's heart: Google actually using traditional media to promote its products! I'll nee to update my article on Google marketing (http://coolrulespronto.wordpre.... Note to other startups: SEO, SEM and "word of mouth" are rarely enough.