Art directors and other creatives in online advertising agencies have been rising to a new challenge: think up some enticing new ways of using Google Glasses. If Google CEO Larry Page liked the idea, he would award the lucky innovators a pair of the eagerly anticipated Glasses.
An art director’s challenge
On a more serious note, the search leviathan is adamant that it doesn’t want display ads on the device, an embargo which is exercising the minds of art directors, copywriters and account managers far and wide. Just how can this technology be used in marketing? One possibility hinted at by Google at the recent I/O conference was the development of branded apps – a number of media outlets and social networks like CNN, Elle, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Evernote are already reported to be building them.
According to Ad Age, the challenge for agencies was succinctly summed up by Razorfish CTO Ray Velez, “We need to figure out how to make a digital experience on Glass that’s not an ad.”
Velez believes that Glass can be used to encourage interactions between a brand’s community members. But much is up in the air at present – Google itself isn’t clear about either its long-term plans for the product or its monetization strategy. It has, though, insisted that all software built on the Glass platform (aptly called “Glassware”) should be free. Even so, this isn’t going to stop the creative art directors and their colleagues from coming up with nifty ideas in the meantime.
How to monetize?
Neither will it stop the VC community from betting that the device will generate money from apps. As noted in Ad Age, Two VC giants, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Andreessen Horowitz are first out of the gates, having partnered last month with Google Ventures to invest in firms developing Glassware.
Big questions still remain about the product’s mainstream appeal, even though Silicon Valley is getting excited about it. There is as yet no public release date and there are only about 10,000 pairs on the planet. Already, the joking has started – enthusiasts for the device are being referred to by some as “glassholes.”
Notwithstanding all the uncertainty and the mockery, art directors and their agency colleagues as well as clients are busily dreaming up visions for how those Glasses can be used in marketing. Any ideas?