Over the last few years, Google has experienced tremendous growth. As a result, investors rewarded the company with a rapidly growing stock price….until recently.

And, as often happens with growth stocks, Google’s stock price grew faster than earnings, with the expectation that management would deliver on investors’ rising expectations…. until recently.

The year over year growth in monthly revenue for the company has been slowing and is a sign that the brand is maturing. Google's current 31 percent rate of growth may still be the envy of many companies, even though it represents a slowdown from previous years. Google grew at 56 percent in 2007 and 73 percent in 2006.

With even slower growth expected, Google is beginning to pull back on expenses.

The “news” that Google is shrinking employee perks is indicative of the maturation process. According to an internal memo, Google is instituting slimmed-down cafeteria hours and food selection as part of an effort "to find areas where efficiency can be improved."

Very often, slowing growth can lead to an erroneous interpretation …. that the brand is in trouble. Not so. Fundamentally, maturing brands like Google cannot grow as quickly as new ones.

Expect to see further “efficiency cuts” as the brand comes down to earth, and as Q4 and Q1 2009 promise to be much weaker, settling the stock price to a mature and more responsible $280.


The economic forecast for the nation, trickling down to the business of advertising, has many C-Level executives maneuvering to save the bottom line.

Follow this link to my commentary at MediaLifeMagazine . . . . why the collective wisdom of Wall Street's analysts is wrong.


The rollercoaster ride we are on in the financial markets will soon ripple through our own industry. How it will affect each and every one of us is, at best, a guess for the moment.

Layoffs are, of course, on top of everyone’s mind. Layoffs are NOT, however, the only option in the weeks or months ahead. The cost of unemployment benefits, severance packages, re-hiring and retraining when the turn-around comes is not the wise choice to make. The disruption in your business and the potential loss of client satisfaction should be avoided.

Solution: Spread the pain. Instead of cutting jobs, cut compensation across the enterprise; cut hours or days. Many employees would welcome the opportunity to advance other interests or spend more time with families.

The best advice I can give is to hang tough and stay in the game.

The clip that follows, from the 1947 film The Hucksters, best exemplifies the importance of “staying in the game” … the concept of frequency, driving home a message. The underlying message here is for CMOs to hold firm on ad budgets or risk losing market share. Many would even argue that the best time to gain market share is in a down period. The clip is courtesy of Nick Brien, President and CEO at Mediabrands, IPGs media holding company.

The title of this post, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, was borrowed from
George Parker, a Creative Consultant/Writer who has recently published his latest book, MadScam. He is currently working on his new book due in time for the Holidays …. The Ubiquitous Persuaders, a 50-year update on Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders.


This past week we’ve witnessed unprecedented swings in global financial markets affecting both professional investors as well as the general public, especially those with investments in 401Ks.

It’s far from over.

General Motors is trading at 1950 prices while Ford Motors is less than $2.00 per share. The feds bailed out AIG for upwards of $120 billion while a government bailout package of $700 billion is expected to “rescue” all other failing banking firms.

Reality check. How can we expect $700 billion will cover the mounting losses yet to be announced when AIG alone accounts for $120 billion? AIG is just the beginning. GM is on the verge of bankruptcy. Wachovia is bought by Wells Fargo to avoid failure.

Where and when will it end? Let’s take a lesson from history, which often tends to repeat itself.

In the early ‘50s post-war era, the country was facing the possibility of a recession. Charles Wilson, CEO of General Motors announced “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country”. In 1953 Dwight Eisenhower appointed Wilson Secretary of defense pointing the country to a “war economy”, a semi-command type economy which is directed by corporation executives, based on military industry, and funded by state social spending …. in order to “save” the US from a depression. This defense strategy created jobs and shored up the country’s economy. The arms race ensued and the cold war era began.

With little hope that the $700 billion package will hold back the dam, we should expect and be prepared to return to a “war economy” as the domestic and global markets fail utterly like so many dominos. As a result we will see the beginnings of yet another arms race. Only this time we have many more world powers in the game as well as rogue nations threatening to enter the race as well.

The complexity of global market swings in financial markets, increased plays for sovereignty, political polarization in the US and global terrorism are creating a perfect storm of unprecedented proportions.

In the 1953 comic strip Li’l Abner, Wilson’s line was modified by Al Capp’s character, General Bullmoose, to read …. “What’s good for General Motors is good for the USA”.

Today, what’s bad for the USA seems to be bad for General Motors.

We will survive the trials we are going through, but the course we take to get through this mess will be very different from that which we are led to expect.

To borrow yet another phrase from Li’l Abner’s Mammy Yokum …. I has spoken!


The following edit captures the essence of Google's intentions over time. With thanks to the current issue of Wired Magazine and Lore Sjoberg.

Few companies set out to do bad deeds, but most won't rule them out. Google was supposed to be different. When Josh McHugh profiled the corporation in January of 2003, it had one clear and concise rule: "Don't be evil". Ah, well, times change. CEO Erick Schmidt recently "clarified" that policy saying it was simply meant as a conversation starter. "we don't have an evil meter," he groused. Here, you can borrow ours!

Philanthropy: Creating a foundation devoted to fighting poverty, researching renewable energy, and protecting the environment. Two can play at this game Mr. Gates. Meter reading +7.1

Coddling Staff: Establishing on site day care for lil' Googlers as an employee perk. (Memo to HR: Keep eyes peels for particularly bright toddlers). Meter reading +5.3

Moral Triage: Giving Brazilian police access to private photo albums on Orkut to assist an investigation on child pornography. The lesser of two evils is still pretty lame. Meter Reading -2.4

Immaturity: Responding to Privacy International's last-placed ranking of Google with "U R BIAS!" Meter reading - 4.8

Screwing Staff: Raising the cost of on site child care to ridiculous levels in order to have the best day care on earth. $57,000 per year. Seriously, Sergey. Meter reading -6.7

Censorship: Instituting key word filters per request of the People's Republic of China. Further "clarification": Google company policies apply only within the continental US. Meter reading -8.3