Last week Google recently launched a new national ad campaign called "Good to Know." Subway riders might have noticed them pop up in stations and in trains, as well as major newspapers and magazines. What makes the campaign so notable, from both the perspective of design and message, is simplifying important tips and features about staying safe online...
Google's new campaign isn't interested in doing a "hard sell". Why would they be? The name is already synonymous with online search and creating a campaign focused around that single dimension would be fairly pointless. Instead, Google used the opportunity to educate people about some of the more complex features of searching, security, and privacy issues. Utilizing friendly illustration and simple instructions, Google uses metaphors and exaggerated situations to give examples of the features they use in order to provide a better, safer service to the end user.
We think the concept is effective because it leverages Google's iconic brand and uses it in a way to help educate people in context that they're not used to being educated (an advertisement). If only more companies (were able to) adopt this approach to campaigns. It's an easy blurb to read while on the train and it helps reenforce one of Google's foundation principles: user-friendliness.
Unfortunately, not everyone seems all too pleased with Google's campaign. Fairsearch.org has released their own parody ads in response. They hope to uncover Google's "real" motivations by giving you skewed search results, NOT protecting your privacy, etc. Personally, we find these counter-ads a bit petty, but we'll let you be the judge of that one. For now, however, we'll continue to enjoy Google's campaign and corresponding Good to Know site full of educational information for the non-techies.