I saw an ad on the TV this morning that ended with an uncommon call-to-action.
Special K, that Kellogg’s diet standby, asked me to go to Yahoo to search for “Special K diet.”
I have seen this before; some years ago Pontiac pointed people to Google to search for ‘Pontiac.’ They did the same thing that Special K did in this most recent ad — instructed folks to go to a specific search engine and enter a term, circumventing the need for a special URL or landing page that might be hard to remember.
Blogger Cabel Sasser noticed this same phenomenon in Japan on a recent trip; this post details what he saw as a major shift away from URLs toward suggested search engines and terms.
Digging further into the Kellogg site, you will notice that the second item on their left-side navigation is an invite to join them at their Yahoo Group. I went there to find a lavishly branded Group, easily navigable even by those unfamiliar with Yahoo Groups. Newsgroups have come a long way, and this is no exception; there are social functions built in, maps, etc. This is an extensive project, not just a social media tag-along. Props for that. [I am just waiting for a Facebook app…]
The hardest part about trying to integrate this sort of partnership into ad campaigns is yet to come. Folks are pretty well set in their ways when it comes to search engine loyalty. There needs to be an appealing value proposition to make a switch from something as ingrained as Google in their browsing habits. Especially in light of the fact that tons of people are typing URLs into search engines instead of their address bars.
Feeling both lazy and insolent, I went to Google rather than Yahoo to do the search thing. I did the search in my Firefox search field, with Google as the default. Their helpful little ‘suggestion’ feature brought up ‘Special K diet’ after I finished the ‘K.’ Since this feature is based on common searches as entered by other people, I discovered that I was not the only lazy/insolent one. So much for following instructions!