Corporate Eye

Google’s Worst Brand Extension Bites the Dust – Goodbye Print Ads

google_print_ads_mistakeGoogle’s worst brand extension has finally met its demise.  Last week, Google announced that Print Ads is getting the ax.

In 2006, the brand that dominates the web launched its new Print Ads product.  Print Ads was Google’s attempt at making money in traditional media, Print Ads was marketed as the perfect way to bring a new revenue stream to newspaper publishers and to provide more relevant advertising for consumers.  Turns out, it didn’t work.  No surprise there.

What went wrong?  First and foremost, Google expanded into a business it had little experience with and lost focus of its core brand strength – dominating the online world.  The extension didn’t make sense from the beginning.  On the flip side, newspapers are in a fast decline.  Google Ads won’t revive them, no matter how great Google thinks they are. 

In Google’s announcement on their blog about the axing of Print Ads, Spencer Spinnell the director of Google Print Ads even admits, “as we grow, it is important that we focus on products that benefit the most people and solve the most important problems.” 

Google recognizes the error of its ways, and fortunately, they’re doing something about it rather than hanging on to Print Ads and desperately trying to make it work any longer.  It was a mistake.  Google realizes that they made a huge branding blunder by losing focus, and it’s time to contract the brand back to its core competencies.  Consumers have expectations for Google, and Print Ads did not meet those expectations.  Instead, it confused consumers who didn’t see how Print Ads fit in with the Google brand promise.  Why was the online brand moving to print media?  More specifically, why was Google, who has a cutting edge, young image, moving backwards into the newspaper business?  It just didn’t make sense.

Hopefully with the demise of Print Ads, Google will remember to do what it does best – anything and everything online, and start moving forward again.

Your thoughts?

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.