Google Has ‘Waze’ of Making You Click on its Maps


Last summer, Google acquired the Israeli mapping startup Waze for close to $1 billion dollars. At the time, people were uncertain why the owner of the Internet — and its own GPS-enabled mapping system — would do such a thing for such a price.

Now, thanks to a nice read by Digiday, we have an inkling to the methods of Google’s madness. Introducing logos run-a-muck on maps. Yes, kids. It’s all about the Benjamins and advertising…

It turns out that Waze figured out how crowdsource traffic information through logo imagery, which has tickled the freakish fancy of advertisers and drivers alike. Waze’s stated goal is to shave 10 minutes off any car ride. Of course that is going to happen when users are ogling logo quizzes on their smartphone.

After spending 2013 convincing brands to run test campaigns on its platform, Waze’s head of U.S. sales Jordan Grossman is spending the first part of 2014 locking them in for extended ad deals with the promise that it can often drive people right to a marketer’s doorstep.

Taco-Bell-Pin-ClickJust check out the screen grab to catch Waze’s genius (and Google’s brilliant acquisition) in action:

DigitasLBi, Taco Bell’s digital agency. Taco Bell placed ads on Waze for the 12 Pack each Saturday morning with the thinking that people using Waze at that time were likely on their way to watch college football. Because the 12 Pack is ideal for a football party, it seemed a natural fit, Perko said.

The campaign was so successful that Taco Bell eventually extended it to Sundays for NFL games and for the launch of its Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco. “They’ve been a big partner for us the past 14 months,” Perko said. “And we’re looking to partner more with them in the future.”

And just in time for the big game. Convenient, no? Tell me if you are checking out maps for “2 a.m. hangover meals” and this wouldn’t grab your attention. It’s like Groupon on crack, or the user on crack just wishing Groupon knew how bad he wanted Taco Bell at this time.

Either way, greatness is conceived. It’s purpose-driven, location-based marketing knack like this that makes me hate Google so very much. Ah well, time for a $1 loaded griller. Bye.

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