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Sharpen Up Those Pitches -- Google May Need an Agency

google-logo.jpgThere's nothing like a Friday afternoon to get tongues wagging, so let's look at one of the latest: Will the Mountain View search and advertising giant look towards an ad agency to help its marketing efforts?

The Wall Street Journal broke the story, saying that execs at Google had met with several major Madison Ave. firms, including Wieden + Kennedy (who already helmed Google's previous foray into paid advertising in Japan) and smaller firm TAXI New York.
Google for year has been almost entirely dependent on word of mouth to build its brand. It spends a paltry $20 million on offline advertising spending -- Quaker Oats, for instance, spends six times that much. Its marketing outreach online is i similarly low-key. It keep a Google blog, it uses YouTube, and generally relies on thousands of media outlets and blogs (like, sigh, this one) happy to jump on any mention of Google to keep their brand afloat.

But the company is starting to reach maturity, and the stratospheric growth rates Wall Street has grown used to are cooling off. It's also made some more aggressive moves as of late to move into more traditional advertising mediums, particularly television. So perhaps its time to reach out to agencies and see what exactly they can come up with.

Still, it's difficult to determine what an agency could bring to mix. Google is already perhaps the most succesful brand of this decade. It's become a verb, dominates within its core market, and seems to be poised for further success with Android. While the Google brand may lack a bit a of the hipster cool of Apple, Google's brand also lacks the hint of hipster derision and elite vs. mass taste that Apple brings with it. An ad agency may help as Google attempts to market its ancilliary services, whether it be Gmail, GOOG 411, or Google Docs. But Google seems to still be doing quite well without one.

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