Monday, May 17, 2010

AdWords: the ultimate in target marketing?

As reported on and elsewhere, the Internet economy pays dividends to those who find innovative ways to exploit today's newest communication tools.

Last year, Alec Brownstein was a copywriter toiling at a big ad agency and yearning for a new start. To find a better job, he made a list of the Madison Avenue creative directors he would most like to work with.

Then he advertised to them - personally - using Google Ad Words, the pay-per-click ads that pop up only when someone is using a search engine (in this case, Google) to look for links with a specific keyword.

Knowing that many people like to Google themselves, he bid for the rights to have his help-wanted ad pop up anytime someone searched for those five executives' names. Since no one else was bidding on those names, his cost was just 15 cents per click. (If no one clicks on your ad, you don't pay a cent.)

So whenever one of the creative directors Brownstein targeted Googled himself, his ad popped up: "Hey, [creative director's name]: Goooogling [sic] yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too." Clicking on the ad took his targets to Brownstein's website at

"Everybody Googles themselves," Brownstein explained. "Even if they don't admit it. I wanted to invade that secret, egotistical moment when [the creative directors] were most vulnerable."

It worked: Four of his five targets called him, and two offered him a job. Today Brownstein works for Young & Rubicam, one of the top agencies in New York.

His "campaign" has also won awards for self-promotion at two major advertising awards shows.

The total cost of his campaign: $6.

Ask yourself this: Who are you trying to reach, and what can you offer them when they're Googling themselves?

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