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How to Create a Marketing Campaign like Google (and Surprise and Delight Your Audience)

by Kathryn Aragon

Google doesn’t just talk about user experience and optimization.

It shows us how to do it.

The Full Value of Mobile promotion is an outstanding example of new media marketing, content creation  and pure entertainment.

So let’s take a close look at Google’s methods to see how you can create something similar.

Start with your landing page

No matter what campaign you’re planning, you need to start with a landing page. This orients your visitors and helps them understand how to navigate the different elements of your promotion.

Google, of course, is a master of minimalism, so its page is pure simplicity:

Google-landing pageIt’s well-branded. It has plenty of white space. And it relies on Google’s primary color scheme to liven things up.

Notice how few words are used. A minimalistic design like this is risky because it doesn’t tell people what to do next. But Google has conditioned its followers to look for surprises, so people know they’ll be rewarded if they click on something.

This page doesn’t disappoint.

Viewers who click on the “Learn the Full Value of Mobile” link arrive on this page:

google-2nd tier page

The only instructions are in the center of the graphic: Play Short Video. And the adventure begins.

From there you’re taken to YouTube to a series of six videos:

  • How They Got There. An overview video that gives viewers a framework for what’s going on.
  • A Curious Delivery. Act 1 in the story.
  • The Grey Suite and the Rough Day. Act 2.
  • Becoming Queen Elizabeth. Act 3.
  • Extra Anchovies and the Moon. Act 4.
  • A Thursday Invitation. Act 5.

My thoughts

This format works for Google because you know what to expect from them.

In this case, you can click the circles in any order and the story makes sense, so the circle works. But there is an order to the story. In fact, Google’s overview video calls each piece of the story an “act,” like a play.

This is an incredibly complicated promotion that would take a lot of work to imitate. But you could simplify it by creating a series of videos, then laying them out in order. That, or give more instructions so people know what path to follow when exploring your page.

Introducing your series: the overview

No matter how complicated your promotion, you need to help people see the big picture. This overview tells the whole story, giving viewers a framework for understanding what’s going on.

At the video’s end, you’re intrigued.

The story is compelling. The characters are believable. But because the stories are told in reverse time (starting at the end of the story and showing scenes from earlier in the day to fill in the gaps), you feel compelled to engage more.

My thoughts

If you have the resources to make an overview video, it’s worth the extra effort. The one drawback is that it’s longer. The benefit is that people who won’t take time to watch five videos will still get the whole story.

The Story: 5 acts told in 5 videos

Here’s the videos in order, so you can see how Google puts them together.

1. A Curious Delivery

2. The Grey Suit and the Rough Day

3. Becoming Queen Elizabeth

4. Extra Anchovies and the Moon

5. A Thursday Invitation

Why this works

Obviously, Google does a lot of things right here. But we don’t have space to go into everything that contributes to this big win. So let’s pare it down to three major elements.

It has a good story

One of the reasons this promotion works is that it’s based on a compelling story. It’s engaging and the characters are personable.

But story alone isn’t enough.

It has a point

It’s the details that make a marketing campaign sing. The channel, in this case video, isn’t what makes it great. The quality of the video isn’t enough either. What makes this campaign so engaging is that there’s an underlying message behind every video.

  • Mobile can increase in-story sales.
  • Mobile can drive sales through phone calls.
  • Mobile can drive sales through apps.

You get the idea.

It gives people enough visual queues to keep them going

This is a detail, but it makes the difference between a good campaign and a stellar one.

Look at the colors of the different links on the second-tier page above. Each color goes with a particular message and video.

In the introductory video, each act is introduced with a title page. And on each title page, the text is written in the color that corresponds with that part of the story.

Then at the end of each video, all the icons from the graphic on the second-tier page are given in order, so you can grasp the order of the story.

google-color coded icons

This helps make sense of the entire campaign. And it drives home the message, that mobile marketing is here to stay.

Storytelling at its best

To create a campaign like this, you need to keep all your marketing know-how in one hand, and take up storytelling tactics in your other hand.

Pick a story that’s worth telling. Tell it front to back or back to front (like Google does). But however you structure it, tell it well.

Select characters who are like your target audience. You want to engage the people who are most likely to buy from you, so give them starring roles in your story.

Have problems and solutions. Show people facing their problems head on — and finding solutions with your product.

And finally, surprise and delight your viewers. Don’t copy. Create your own masterpiece. So people will engage with every piece of your campaign. And maybe even share it with their friends.

What do you think?

What’s your take on Google’s campaign? What makes it great? What could be done better? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



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Kathryn Aragon

Kathryn Aragon is the former editor of The Daily Egg. She's a content strategist and consultant on mission to help content marketers get measurable results from their content. Learn more at Follow her on Twitter.


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  1. Rita says:
    April 3, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Hey Kathryn, thanks for sharing this great post! Not only was the content very useful, I particularly liked how you practiced what you preached by illustrated your points with images and video, almost like the Big G themeselves 🙂

    P.S – keeping to the theme of mobile marketing, UK businesses in particular might might find this infographic useful – Is Mobile Marketing Worth It for Small Businesses?

    • April 3, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Awww, thanks, Rita. 🙂 Great infographic, by the way. Mobile is definitely here to stay, so it’s time we all get on board.

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