Media integration – do you oohgle?

Now I don’t get out much so I’m incredibly slow on the uptake with new things in London. However, I was in the capital the other weekend doing the tourist thing; visiting the sites, getting squashed on Oxford Street and travelling on the city’s arterial transport routes.

So there I am travelling around on a mixture of foot, tube, and train and I see a particular advert everywhere. It was very plain, clearly a web firm (as the ad displayed the familiar search field and magnifying glass), and sounded remarkably similar to a little search engine run out of California, but had absolutely no calls-to-action.

The advert had me pretty confused. Why would a company make the effort to promote itself but not encourage me to do something? There was no "text this number", "call our sales team" or "visit this website". Very odd.

I couldn’t believe an advertising agency had got such a sloppy piece of design past a client, but there it was…. everywhere. I was annoyed for the client, how could they have been duped into spending so much money on tube adverts, bus-stop posters and railway posters?

However, that’s exactly it. They had me. I was so intrigued by the ineffectiveness of the "oohgle" posters that I retained the name for the Sunday evening journey home, overnight and all the way into work on Monday morning. As soon as I was up and running and sipping my pre-work coffee, I tapped the search query ‘oohgle’ into Google [http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=oohgle].

Good news, I found the website straight-away. Oohgle.com appeared top of the search results. I clicked the link…

Oh dear. A blank page. Head-scratching ensued. Why would a company spend so much on offline advertising only to send a web visitor to a website with no content? I was stumped. But then I started skimming down the other Google results. It appears that I am not the only one that has been thrown by this.

The Oohgle campaign was only conducted offline and yet led directly to a massive surge in online searches for ‘Oohgle’ – see the chart from Google Insights for search. What’s more, all the search visits came from the UK, and England within that. I am guessing that London was the target region but Google’s toolset won’t let me refine my search down to that level.

A bit of digging around shows me that I have indeed ‘been had’, and very successfully, by an offline advertising company. The whole project was one big experiment to help companies in the poster business keep going. So much money has been shifting from offline adspend to online that it appears that Posterscope felt they needed to prove the worth of offline, by measuring its effect on online.

Unfortunately much as the oohgle site appears top of Google for the search ‘oohgle’, Posterscope is no-where to be seen. Unfortunate really. A massive campaign, proving the value of offline in the online mix has collectively helped the offline communications industry but hasn’t really helped the intended beneficiary. Shame, a simple link to themselves from www.oohgle.com would have fixed all that and easily won them some new business.