Marrying ads, search and expert editorial – Google ‘Sonos reviews’

May 21, 2012 4:39 pm

Spotted: an interesting ad on London Underground. No, that’s not the end of this post.

Sonos, maker of the user-friendly, wallet-unfriendly streaming music systems for the home, has some display space inside Tube carriages. The copy, which we won’t repeat verbatim, implores readers to “Google ‘Sonos reviews’.”

Back above ground and online, I did just that. Unlike a lot of ads you’ve seen – and perhaps especially ads you’ve heard, on the radio – the Googling isn’t just a means to get you to Sonos marketingese, it would seem.

We got this search results page:

The clever thing for Sonos isn’t the SevenokasSoundAndVision.co.uk paid-for place atop, funnily enough. Nor the right-hand side listing (a more predictable Amazon ad comes first). It’s the real reviews down the main organic search results column.

These are generally favourable. Plenty of four and even five star ratings (and a 4.5 from Pocket-lint – got to be different, eh?).
The guys at Sonos are prepared to open their kimonos in a ‘Don’t take our word for it’ way.

I wonder if they sought permission for that approach? They would if they had been citing a Charles Arthur or Jason Jenkins in ad copy. (Disclosure: I was Jenkins’ boss for a couple of years when editorial director of CNET UK).

We don’t think they’d have to, mind, in this case.

Also, they are acutely aware that a huge proportion of would-be Sonos buyers would do their online homework around the product before buying. Googling the name of the brand plus ‘review’ or ‘reviews’ is the most obvious first step to take. (Again, my time on CNET UK confirmed that.)

Linking traditional ad copy – some sticky paper on the wall of a Tube – to a Google search result page featuring third-party expert content is so 2012.
You do, however, need faith in your product, acceptance of the way search works and a thick skin for anything less than complimentary that surfaces.

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