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Google Maps goes local with five-minute story

By Sunit Roy , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | December 08, 2017
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The mobile app launches third phase of #LookBeforeYouLeave campaign.

Google Maps, the popular online and app-based route planner and navigation system offering satellite imagery of the terrain, street views, real-time traffic updates and more for a journey by foot, car, bicycle or public transportation, has launched the next phase of ad films for its #LookBeforeYouLeave campaign. The first leg of the campaign was launched in November 2016 that continued until January 2017. The second phase of the campaign ran between June and August of 2017 while the third phase of the #LookBeforeYouLeave campaign, comprising of two films, went live on December 4.


The previous campaigns were based on the insight of 'unpredictability of Indian roads' and the proposition that Google Maps can help with real-time traffic updates and find faster routes. In the new campaign, the brand focuses on the cultural behaviour behind "bas paanch minute" and the proposition that Google Maps can help plan your daily travel to reach on time. In fact, the two ad films titled 'Pilot' and 'Varmala' shows the impact an individual's delay can have on a larger group.

"Google Maps ran two previous phases of the #LookBeforeYouLeave campaign that built great equity. Our new campaign builds on this equity but is focused on a different insight. We want to drive awareness about different features on Google Maps and how they are relevant in people's everyday lives," explains Sapna Chadha, marketing director, India and South-East Asia, Google Maps.

The campaign went live across digital, social and OOH channels. TVCs, however, will go live on December 11, followed by radio.


"We are focusing on 10 cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow, and Ahmedabad. We will amplify media focus on contextually relevant touchpoints such as OOH, Boom Barriers in parking lots, news channel integration, and radio," informs Chadha.

The ad films have been conceptualised and created by Lowe Lintas, the creative agency that has been working on the campaign from day 1.


While the 'Google App - Nearby Answers Made Easy' campaign has actors like Saurseni Maitra and Chandan Roy Sanyal (playing the characters of Vineeta and Suparv respectively) as faces to represent the brand, there is no brand ambassador for the #LookBeforeYouLeave campaign. So we asked what the reason behind this is and if there is a particular plan of portraying desi-insights?

Sapna Chadha Sapna Chadha

Arun Iyer Arun Iyer

"Across products, our approach to marketing has been to focus on the user and tell a story about how the product addresses a key pain-point in people's lives. While brand ambassadors can be a successful tactic, we've found that what works well for Google Maps is to focus on relatable human stories that reflect everyday people and scenarios," says Chadha.

Arun Iyer, chairman and chief creative officer, Lowe Lintas, adds, "The first version of the 'look before you leave' campaign has been immensely successful. To date, the creative assets deployed for the campaign have shown no signs of fatigue. So, it was only logical for it to be run through the period where it was generating traction with the customers, delivering on the objectives."

Talking about the challenges of shooting the films, Iyer says that it was a complex shoot with multiple locations across the city.

"The interesting thing was how the relevance of our insight manifested at the shoot itself. The driver of the pickup truck told us that he's reaching in five minutes, but reached the set after 30 minutes while we were all waiting for him," Iyer went on to say.

Taking the Right Turn?

We asked the experts if the latest ad films will have the same impact as the previous TVCs.

Ayan Banik Ayan Banik

Titus Upputuru Titus Upputuru

According to Ayan Banik, head - brand strategy, Cheil India, "Strategically, it's a very interesting way to take forward the product proposition of Google Maps and it has been nicely captured in a light-hearted way in the two pieces of advertising.

"The shift in brand proposition will increase both the brand penetration (get more users, even the old timers of the city, including the older TG who seem to know it all) as well as usage frequency (get new and existing users for everyday commuting routes). So all in all, it's a pretty clear piece of communication, born out of sharp strategic thinking with clear brand/business objectives - maximising the app interaction and time spent, thereby increasing AMU (Average Monthly Users), ADU (Average Daily Users) and AHU (Average Hourly Users) by making a 'Google Map check," Banik continued.

Titus Upputuru, national creative director, Dentsu One, says, "It's a usual thing that we hear. So, it's a good insight to use and build relevance to the product, which gives you information of the time it may take to reach a particular destination. Personally, when I see a certain time on the map, I try to beat it with speed! But yes, it's a good local insight."

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