Google voice search

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The core insight lay within a contradiction: Google is the most omnipresent and everyday brand but it is perceived as being a little cold and distant. They wanted to show some wit and warmth, while getting people to do something different as a result of the advertising.

The creative idea was to use phonetics to bring the voice search product benefit to life and advertise in context. This added a level of warmth to the communications by giving the phonetic puzzle a better pay off but it meant that the media context dictated the creative content for each poster site in the campaign.

By taking a key strength of digital – hyper relevant context - and marrying it with the scale and ubiquity of outdoor, where every creative execution was relevant to the poster site that it ran on.

Every available individual poster site in London was utilised, and using Google maps plotted the interesting institutions in the immediate environs. The resultant database became the creative brief. As such, the precise media context explicitly informed the creative execution.

Posters in the Square Mile ran “foot-see wun-hun-dred”. Sites outside stadia carried “ley-tist skohrz”. Sites at Baker Street carried “Shur-lok Hoemz”, and difficult to pronounce stations carried the phonetic spelling as the copy. In total 150 pieces of bespoke pieces of copy across ten different poster formats, amounting to the most complex outdoor campaign ever in the UK.


Campaign recognition was over three times the outdoor average. The campaign became a topic of conversation: more than a quarter of people surveyed said they actively spoke to someone about the campaign.

But most importantly people changed their behaviour as a result: Google searches for “voice search” in London more than doubled versus the rest of the country – the biggest proportion coming from smart phones - ensuring Google hit their launch targets for this product.

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