Each year, Google sponsors a contest called Doodle 4 Google where U.S. children ages 5-18 and in grades Kindergarten to 12th grade can redesign the Google logo. The winner’s logo appears on Google’s home page for an entire day, and the winner gets a $15,000 college scholarship, a trip to Google’s New York office, a laptop computer, and a T-shirt with his or her Google doodle on it. The winner’s school also gets a $25,000 technology grant to be used toward developing the school’s computer lab.
Doodle 4 Google is a great promotion and demonstrates how an iconic logo transcends demographics. In this case, children as young as 5 are invited to become familiar with the logo, and most likely, participating schools (schools must register for Google 4 Doodle in order for their students’ entries to be included in the contest) discuss Google with the students to help them understand the contest. It’s a smart way for Google to begin a relationship with young consumers. I’d like to see more widespread prizes though. No doubt, Google is getting a lot of brand publicity as part of the contest. It would be nice to see more children and schools rewarded for their efforts.
Doodle 4 Google is a creative way to promote a brand, and invites consumers to relate to the brand by interacting with the brand’s iconic symbol. The initiative demonstrates how creative branding and marketing can go a long way in terms of reaching new audiences, developing awareness and recognition, and boosting sales. It also ties in perfectly with Google’s unique approach to changing its logo on Google.com for holidays, special events, and so on.
It’s hard to think of other companies that have successfully invited this kind of brand connection with consumers. Brands like Coke and Pepsi have invited consumers to redesign their packaging, but typically, companies don’t allow consumers to “mess with” their brand symbols, like their logos. Instead, they protect their logos with cease and desist letters and iron fists. Normally, I’d agree with the resolute protection of a logo, but Google demonstrates how letting go of some control can bring in great rewards.
What do you think? Are you ready to think out of the box to promote your brand? Is your company ready? Point your executives to Doodle 4 Google and show them that creative thinking can work.
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