Natural Search Blog


Guerilla Marketing & Google Maps

My article on “Six Odd Tactics For Getting Ads Into Google Maps” posted today on Search Engine Land, and I believe many of my regular readers should find it moderately entertaining. The piece covers how some elements of guerrilla marketing have found their way into some Google Maps advertising patents, and also how some others have used creative means to get messages into Maps via “roofvertising”, “skywriting” and more.

Google in Digital Graffiti

Those familiar with Natural Search Blog may remember some of my similar past work here outlining laser graffiti ads on buildings, roofvertising, marriage proposals in Google Maps, “earth art” geoglyph ads, and sponsoring town names as an Ultimate Local SEO tactic.

It’s not surprising to see guerilla marketing tactics finding their way into Google Maps. Not only does Google itself seek to introduce disruptive technology innovations, but I expect that as Satellite and Aerial photos may get more frequently updated in such interfaces we’ll be bound to see a whole lot more efforts from people trying to get messages conveyed through the Maps interfaces.

The real question I’m left with, is if Google resells ad space on pictures of people’s rooftops and billboards, would they owe anything back to the original property owners?!?

Examples of Roof Ads

I thought it might be interesting to do a survey of roof ads from around the country, so here are a number of examples that can be found in online mapping systems such as Google Maps.

Closeup of Amoco Roof Ad Amoco Welcomes You To The Big Apple
Roof Ad in New York City

If you recall, over a year ago I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about how to optimize rooftop ads for best exposure in online maps, although some of the tips could actually be taken seriously if one did wish to market through advertising in this manner.

Rooftop Ads seen near Miami Airport
Roof Ads near Miami Airport (click to enlarge)

Now, most of the “roofvertisements” I could find were likely done with the intention of targeting promotional messages to airplane passengers, since most of the examples I can find are from buildings located near major airports. In happy serendipity for these companies, these ads are now also visible through the satellite images and aerial photos that have become table stakes for map search interfaces, so they’re getting dual use for them along with extra ad impressions. It’s pretty surprising to me that more companies haven’t painted promotional copy on their roofs, though, since I see tons of expansive, white roof “canvas” that would be ideal for this located near airports.

The Salvation Army rooftop ad, Seattle
The Salvation Army in Seattle – (click to enlarge)

Click through for even more samples. (more…)

Laser-Projected Graffiti Ads on Buildings

In yet another example of cyberpunk fiction turned to reality, the Graffiti Research Lab has assembled a mobile unit that can project messages (“graffiti”) onto the sides of any large structure using a computer, laser projector, and a bicycle-powered generator. They recently tooled around Barcelona doing this up until the police apparently ticketed them and confiscated the projection equipment. Looking past the mischievous fun of the idea, could this be a new trendy advertising medium, about to take Madison Avenue by storm? Guerilla marketing companies seem to think so – click through for more of my thoughts on the matter.

Batman Bat Signal, laser light graffiti, Barcelona
The Batsignal, by Graffiti Research Lab, Barcelona, 2007

(more…)

Guerilla-Advertising

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