Google starts big
advertising push around new Pixel phone
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[October 08, 2016]
By Jessica Toonkel and Julia Love
(Reuters) - Google's new "Pixel" smartphone
is off to a fast marketing start with $3.2 million in television ads in
two days since it announced the upcoming launch, and ad executives
expect Google to spend hundreds of millions more to keep up with rivals
Samsung Electronics<005930.KS> and Apple Inc <AAPL.O>.
Google's launch of the first phone it has designed itself puts it in
direct competition with the two dominant smartphone makers, which each
market heavily. While Google's brand is known around the world, and its
Android operating system powers most of the world's smartphones,
including Samsung's, it is not known as a consumer goods maker. It has
made forays, such as the Chromecast streaming player, but not of this
"This is the first time they are in the position of selling themselves
to people, as opposed to selling themselves to brands," said Rachel
Pasqua, practice lead, connected life at MEC Global, a New York-based
Alphabet Inc's<GOOGL.O> Google declined to discuss how much it will
spend advertising the Pixel but Google Vice President of Product
Management Mario Queiroz told Reuters it was a "very significant
He said the tech giant may buy ads during Thanksgiving football games.
Such ads can cost around a million dollars, according to a media buyer,
who wished to remain anonymous.
Wireless carrier Verizon Communications Inc <VZ.N>, which has a U.S.
exclusive on the Pixel, will make a significant investment of its own in
TV, digital marketing and social media, from around the phone's Oct 20
launch through the holiday season, said Jeff Dietel, vice president of
device marketing at Verizon.
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A man holds his smartphone which displays the Google home page, in
this picture illustration taken in Bordeaux, Southwestern France,
August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
Over the two days of the Google launch, when the company could be expected to
spend heavily, Apple spent $2.45 million and Samsung spent $1.4 million,
according to iSpot.tv, showing a competitive start for the Pixel.
But Google still must work to find its creative signature in advertising, said
Mike McKay, Chief Creative Officer of Eleven Inc., a San Francisco-based agency
that works with Apple. The first spots for the Pixel phones bore some
similarities to Apple's ads, he said, noting the familiar stark white backdrop
and shots of a slowly rotating phone.
"When you have an inferior brand, itís OK to compare yourself to someone to
elevate you," he said. "But when you are such a strong brand like Google, you
have to find your own voice."
(Reporting By Jessica Toonkel in New York and Julia Love in San Francisco;
Additional reporting by Malathi Nayak in New York)
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