On September 1, the New York Times ran a story on the attempts Google is making to befriend agency media folk. And as Google seeks to “displace” agencies, its real objective is to “replace” agencies … there is a BIG difference.

Google’s initial focus, playing in the traditional media sandbox, is to become the media centric agency-of-record for its advertisers. Where they go, once the media universe is conquered, can only be imagined.

It’s a long road traveled. One that is likely fraught with mounting agency suspicions, process issues (a problem that can be solved with the purchase of Donovan Data), compromised relationships and hidden agendas. Google’s expanding reach to become the single pipeline for global information, media channels, a telecom communications hub, and now an Internet Browser (Chrome) is not to be taken lightly.

But let’s not get too carried away. It will be 2020 before Google realizes many of these lofty goals. Agencies, and especially, media buying units, however, must come to grips with the machinery Google is quickly putting in place to make the media dream a reality. Jobs will be lost on both buyer and sellers sides. Strategic thinking will make room for “efficient” buying as major advertisers have no choice but to trust their ROI to the only game in town. Creativity will suffer as Google media begins to dictate creative strategy, reducing it to a numbers game.

The New York Times reflects on Google’s python-like embrace of agencies as a visit where it “typically brings in a gelato cart or a coffee bar. It has even built a replica of Google’s office kitchens. It offers free food and prizes of iPod Touches.” Google’s attempt to lure Publicis planners with “candy and bean bag chairs” may be cute for some unwitting and unassuming newbies, but it comes off as an embarrassing ploy in the face of the criticism it’s been encountering.

Google is absolutely addictive. And it appears Martin Sorrell and WPP is the single most vocal entity willing to de-tox the industry.

Martin Sorrell: Bring it on!!

No comments: