Google's $2 Billion-A-Year Ad Budget Is Starting To Look Like Corporate Bloat

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Photo: rpongsaj / Flickr

Judging by its ballooning ad budget, Google is showing all the signs of a company that is becoming mature, bloated and ordinary.Its ad budget is now 11 times the size it was six years ago.

With its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, Google’s annual adspend will top $2.1 billion, according to Ad Age. That’s a huge step for a company that just a few years ago prided itself on how little it spent on promotion.

Back in 2006, it spent only $188 million. In the years before that, it spent even less.

In 2011, however, Google was the 34th largest advertiser in the U.S., according to Ad Age. It outranks stalwarts such as General Mills, Nestle, PepsiCo, Nike, and even the entire U.S. Government (which spends “only” $739 million).

Google now spends twice what insurer Geico spends on ads—that’s the insurance company with the ubiquitous gecko ads on TV.

It would be one thing if all that adspend was going on innovative digital media. (And to be fair, much of it is.) But it’s also going on a lot of badly targeted, spray-and-pray media known for its high-level of waste:

  • Its ad agency won a Cannes Lion for a billboard campaign it ran in London.
  • In January, Google ran a campaign in newspapers about privacy and browsing.

Billboards and newspapers? These are the type of media that Google was supposed to destroy, not support.


  • CLAIM: Google Ad Campaign Won Top Cannes Award In Corrupt Judging Process

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