BBH’s search terms are put to use at last

One of the most interesting parts of the Internet advertising story is how paid search grew into an enormous business without ad agencies paying it much attention. As my colleague Andy McMains recently found out, many agencies still ignore it, even when it comes to their own names. Bartle Bogle Hegarty chairman Steve Harty dismissed the usefulness of paid search for an agency like BBH, saying, “We have a more targeted strategy than, ‘We’re open for business.’ Search is kind of indiscriminate in a way.” Reprise Media doesn’t agree, and it’s out to prove a point. It has purchased the Google keywords “BBH” and “Steve Harty,” which bring up ads that direct to a Reprise blog post laying out how dumb it is for agencies to downplay search. Copy for the BBH ad reads: “Looking for an Agency? Not Buying Their Own Branded Terms! Can You Trust Them to Manage Yours?” The post points out that BBH doesn’t even occupy the top slot in non-sponsored search results for “BBH.” (The bank Brown Brothers Harriman does.) That would seem to make a paid-search ad even more useful. All hope is not lost in agency land, though. Anomaly is using paid search as a creative tool in one of several interlocking sites it recently rolled out for Converse. Check out Converse Spelling Bee.

—Posted by Brian Morrissey