Casual Connect Tel Aviv is about matching the creativity of the games industry with new media innovation and investment to find the next big thing for the games industry. Tel Aviv is a fun and beautiful city filled with history, culture and representing the forefront of the burgeoning games industry.I had volunteered to record the sessions and was given the last day of the event's marketing track, and a free pass to the show.
Having only slightly worked in the industry it was a chance to look into the minds and ideas around people that give corporate enterprises zero thought. Everything, and everyone, was hyper focused on the consumer and of course gaming or gambling games.
One of the things we received in our conference bags was what looked like a long bookmark and it had a Google logo on it and said to stop by the Google stand and pick up the new logo t-shirt. How could I resist, so in the name of research off I went to find Google.
They had a stand made out of large LEGO pieces with a fountain of marshmallows in the middle. perfect for the event. They had on hand people to help you with Adwords and other advertising aspects of the great Googleverse.
I stepped up and asked about the t-shirt. The woman at the stand said I needed to trade the bookmark for a shirt. Being an avid reader of physical paper books I asked if I could keep the bookmark, after all doesn't Google care about education? Nope, you must swap the bookmark for the shirt.
This reminded me of years ago when I worked on Broadway and the box office was charged per cup used and verified by how many drinks were ordered or served. Seemed like a poor way to manage the kiosk then, and this was not much more insightful.
I acquiesced and did the swap and then waited for the barcode scanner or a verification of my name or business card, they didn't ask for one. This got me thinking, was Google really all knowing that they knew who everyone was? Maybe they were getting the entire attendee list so it did not matter if they knew I picked up a shirt or not.
Maybe, this being Google, they were playing a math game. How many bookmarks were "delivered" to attendees, how many were returned for a shirt and how many shirts were actually given out. Like my Broadway kiosk seemed like trust was a factor, but for whom?
Why would Google waste time, resources, and money just to go to a conference which really was about the back office efforts of the gaming industry? If they really wanted to get their new logo and shirt out to the world they would have been better off at one of the main train stations down the road.
Could Google have been gaming the attendees? Was it an inside joke to see how any shirts could be given away without actually doing anything else? Were the shirts just leftovers from the recent rebranding exercise?
Maybe Google has gotten so big, the underlings just don't care, or know enough, because their own managers have no clue about business and how or why leads like this are important. Or maybe, because they are Google and literally see all our searches, posts and data that anytime they need leads they just do some SQL search on their raw data.
I don't know the answer. It was funny given how many people at the event were all about eyeballs and retention and while this gets eyeballs, not sure about retention.
Was it a waste of money for them? Is branding really important when you are Google? Is it because people don't want to be seen with a vintage shirt but a new modern version and Google was just playing with us?
I got a shirt, and a book called 'The Secret To App Success on Google Play" (pdf version) from Google, not sure what they got from me aside from this post.