When Search Can Make Or Break You

It’s hard to argue nowadays that search isn’t important. It’s not often, though, that you see a real-world product completely base its advertising around it.

Check out these ads for the movie 2012, being launched on November 13:

Transit ad for 2012 movie

Billboard ad for 2012 movie

No website on either of them – just an instruction to “Search: 2012.”

If the website for this movie didn’t make it onto the top few pages of search results, through either organic or paid search. The movie would be in trouble, as the URL isn’t obvious either (whowillsurvive2012.com).

Fortunately for the studio, the movie tops the organic results (especially fortunate given there’s no sign of paid search):

2012 search results

Would you be confident enough in your website’s SEO to leave your URL out of your ads?

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  • They’d certainly lose a precipitous amount of traffic to the lurking paid ad(s) at the top of page (search I just did there are 2 paid ads above it). If they had both #1 paid and #1 organic locked up, I wouldn’t be surprised if they got 70%+ of the clicks of that page. Would have been a reasonable amount of budget to lock this down, a shame. Lost opportunity.

  • Japanese companies have been doing this for years – I remember at least about 4 years ago seeing one company having an image of Google (or Yahoo! search) on their packaging with their company or product name, inviting people to find more info that way.

  • Very cool, except … in my searches, there is also a paid result at the top (one search) and at the right (second search). And if some scheming person decided to compromise the organic result with a “Google bomb” campaign ….

    • Brian – from what I found, the movie wasn’t making it into the paid search results. Bit of an oversight IMHO

      • Maybe they’re not bothering with paid results up there in Canada? Just a guess?

        • Maybe because they know Canadians won’t be taken in with typical Emmerlich dross, paid or otherwise, and are saving their money? 😉

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  • It’s ballsy, but the technique actually reinforces the position through paid media, albeit posters etc. Because of the campaign, a higher proportion of the visitors who see these search results will click through to the official site, and bingo!, relevance rockets as Google sees the click-throughs, and the position is reinforced.

    Relies on (1) achieving the position in the first place and (2) large media spend to have a material impact on the numbers of people searching for 2012.

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  • This is a great example of where organic search is paramount since PPC is not guaranteed to appear for every search (unless they blew the budget). In this case, it even seems as though they’ve not bothered at all with PPC? Some may say this is a risky game (and on certain counts, yes it could be) but they clearly trust their SEO to deliver the results they need to point their traffic in the right direction.
    The ‘How Will You Survive?’ billboard designs are quite refreshing since they lack the commercial dimension that contact details (including web addresses) can bring to a design if not styled cleverly. This brings the campaign closer to ‘real life’ in the sense that somebody viewing the ad would not necessarily initially realise that it’s promotion for a film. After all, IMHO ‘the end of the world’ is something which intrigues us all on some level, meaning that those who may ordinarily dismiss a movie poster would be drawn in by this one. It manages to put the focus on the thought-provoking ideas behind the film rather than the ‘film’ itself. Like it.

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