It’s FAB


Google’s new ad campaign, promoting their voice search feature is puzzling. Ok, they’ve spelt popular search terms fo-net-ick-ally, it’s very clever, but it’s not great marketing. Why?

Firstly, like any marketing 101 course  teaches, you sell the sizzle not the steak. So you can search by speaking into your phone. Slow-ly. So what?

Speed? When am I likely to run down the street and need to know the current pound to euro ratio so suddenly that merely typing ‘for ex’ into my phone will ruin the moment? Convenience? Ok, we’ve ‘only’ got two hands (which any parent will tell you is a design flaw) but if you’ve got to hold your phone close to your mouth, chances are you’ll also be able to type on it.

I’m being pedantic, voice search is of course useful in many situations, but the ads don’t illustrate that aspect. I don’t want to stand in the middle of the airport saying ‘for-en ex cheynj’ like some drunken cultist. But it would be great to be able to get directions to an unfamiliar location on the fly or use search via a hands free kit.

Google’s ads need to show the benefit of the feature, not the feature itself.



  1. I’ve been thinking a bit more about this advertising campaign. I didn’t comment on the location of this billboard – Gatwick Airport. I still think the message isn’t quite right, but the location is spot on – GTW is populated by holiday makers, commuters using the train, and business travellers jetting off to Europe. The location hits two of the 4 Ps of marketing (or 7 if you’re being picky) People in this location fit Google’s voice-search demographic very closely: busy, mobile, affluent and tech savvy. Similar spots might include the Metro and other ‘freemium’ newspapers, central London train stations and airports nationwide. European destinations such as Berlin, Barcelona and Paris are also top destinations for business travellers and could provide cross border benefits.

  2. Hi, I came across your site from a comment you posted on a article on selling benefits. I’m re-thinking to re-focus my blog as a selling tool rather than just a discussion platform. Thanks for the observation on Google.

    1. Hi Andrew, thanks for your comment. Great to know that you found the advice useful!

      I took a look at your site, there’s some really good content there, but I think you could benefit from adding a few examples of how your advice could help a customer. That way as you move to selling advice on your site, you can demonstrate what you’re selling: eg “Mr Smith saved $10,000 by following our guidance on planning regulations by xxx”.

      Best of luck with your business!


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