You’ll hear two very distinct opinions about Google‘s new ad campaign for the launch of their their new phone technology that allows people to make calls from their Gmail accounts. The idea behind Google Voice Integration with Gmail is being called cutting edge and forward-thinking, so the search engine giant decided, for the application’s nationwide launch, to take it “back”… way back… back to the day of phone booths and landlines that you paid a dime or quarter to use — remember those?
Google announced from its San Francisco headquarters that it plans on installing retro-red telephone boths at colleges and airports across the country where, instead of using a landline phone, people can use Google’s new Voice Integration with Gmail to call people. In reading the reviews of the service and the promo campaign, opinions fell squarely in one or two camps: “hate it”, “love it” or “wtf?” (the last one was mainly by young adults in their 20′s who have no idea what the heck a phone booth is or why they would need to use one).
Having said that, I love the marketing concept (I’m someone who lives for nastalgia – here and now just ain’t good enough for me). But the execution is somewhat flawed (if not, at least limiting to the promotion’s detriment). While Google decided to install the phone booths in the most logical, high-traffic locations (airports and colleges), they seemed to have overlooked the one venue that trumps both of their choices: big events (conferences, expos, concerts, etc.)
Adding bright red phone booths on the exhibition floor of any Expo or Conference with a captive market of hundreds to thousands of people, would be an instant hit (not only because, design-wise, they’re appealing but, more importantly, the ones who are likely to “get” the nostalgia aspect of the marketing campaign are the very people who frequent conferences and expos – sorry twenty-somethings).
When you think about it, considering all of the big conferences happening during conference season starting in September, it’s amazing that Google missed this mark. The business crowd at conferences should be a huge target for them. Yet another instance of app developers overlooking the very industry they should be trying to court – the events industry.
I wouldn’t mind seeing one of these candy red toys at the next conference I attend. Would you use it?
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