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?!?

Googledance 2008

The Googledance party was held last night at the Googleplex for SES Conference attendees, and it lived up to its traditional party-on-a-grand-scale reputation for which it has become known.

Googledance, beside building 43
Googledance, 2008

The theme this year was “Glow in the Dark”, and they gave out t-shirts which flouresced nicely under blacklights, and those endothermic glow sticks that can be linked up for bracelets or necklaces. In one area was a large Lite Brite station that allowed party-goers to make colorful messages or illustrations of their choosing with the translucent pegs.

One really cool entertainment was the “Glow Graffiti” – they had set up a couple of different stations to allow the crowd to do digital graffiti — using laser pointers to write on the sides of a couple of buildings. A camera tracks where one drags the laser pointer beam on the wall’s surface, then a computer captures the trajectories and redisplays the lines drawn back onto the wall continuously with a projector. In this way, one can draw all over the side of a building with light.

Google in Digital Graffiti
“Google” tagged in digital graffiti on side of building

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Digital Graffiti Goes Mainstream: TIME Magazine Article

I noticed that TIME covered the laser graffiti artists of the Graffiti Research Lab this week. Nearly a year ago, I covered the phenomenon of guerrilla marketing via laser light images “drawn” on the sides of buildings at night.

Laser Message on Building, Barcelona

Having this covered in a mainstream rag like TIME is probably nearly enough to make the concept jump the shark, and the novelty element and guerrilla marketing value could be virtually annihilated by familiarity.

I’m not really complaining so much as noting the effect — and noting that the promotion value of the medium could become rapidly eroded when it’s too common. The novelty and amusement factor could give way to annoyance if laser displayed images on buildings became frequent. When a methodology hits mainstream, it’s no longer “guerrilla”. 🙂

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