In a pair of moves that speak to its supplication to the creative agency community, Google has introduced a flexible "Gadget Ad" format in expanded beta and hired Andy Berndt as managing director of its Creative Lab.
Google poached Berndt from Ogilvy & Mather's New York office, where he was co-president, to fill a dual creative role at the company. One area of responsibility will be to provide in-house creative support for marketing initiatives around Google's own products and services globally. The other will be to work at a creative level with agencies that are running client campaigns across Google's network. He'll start later in the year and report to VP of marketing David Lawee.
While Google has touted its creative consulting services for larger ad clients since 2006, the company hasn't yet formalized the offering into an operating unit. The hire of Berndt, who will be based in New York with global responsibility for Creative Lab, is a step in that direction. Yet while some have characterized Google's creative services expansion as a move into the agency business, a Google spokesperson denied that's the case.
"We've done it in some bits and pieces, where we've helped agencies put their creative talent against our products," a spokesperson told ClickZ News. "We are not in any way setting up our own agency. We want to be very clear about that."
Among the richer ad products Brendt and his crew will help agencies package for advertisers are Google's new Gadget Ads. Gadget Ads are in some ways a mash-up of all ad formats, targeting methods and pricing options available on the company's ad network. The units can combine data feeds, images, video and Flash elements into a single execution that can be delivered based on contextual, geographic and demographic factors, as well as by Web site. Pricing options include both performance-based and CPM models. Developers can build the ads in either an HTML or Flash environment.
Beta advertisers testing the format over the past several months have included PepsiCo's Sierra Mist, Intel, Honda, Six Flags and Paramount Vantage. According to Google, the ad clients' take on the Gadget Ads has been "overwhelmingly positive," and a couple of them offered prepared statements saying as much. For instance, an Intel Global Marketing Manager said Gadget Ads helped it "enhance visibility and engagement with the consumer while taking in key learnings of Google's evolutionary advertising offerings.
Advertisers can optimize their campaigns based by tracking "dozens of actions" within the ads, Google said. Additionally, in what could be seen as a sign of YouTube's influence on Google advertising, Web users can syndicate Gadget Ads to their own sites or Web pages.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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