A Mesmerizing Publicity Stunt by Google

I’ve always been a big fan of Google Doodles (the stylized Google logos on the homepage) – whether it’s the elaborate April Fools’ Day “Topeka” logo and fanfare, the infamous PacMan logo or any number of the hundreds of other novel doodles.  This week’s doodles, particularly yesterday’s, are the best to date - bar none. And wow, did these logos get the press (and the public) talking!

Most notable was yesterday’s doodle, an animated “kinetic” Google logo made up of tiny bubbles that reacted to a user’s cursor by scattering. Words simply don’t do it justice; it was utterly awesome and mesmerized millions, if not billions of giddy site visitors.

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Speculation about the significance of the unique logo exploded. According to Google Trends, searches about the distinctive doodle made up about 20 percent of Google’s most searched terms and ranked among the top searches for September 7.

Taylor Buley at Forbes, among others, pointed out a mysterious tweet from Google, “Boisterous doodle today. Maybe it’s excited about the week ahead…” In response to press inquiries, Google made the following statement: “Today’s doodle is fun, fast and interactive, just the way we think search should be…”

Further stoking the public’s fervid curiosity was today’s doodle, a Google logo that lights up as a user types into the search box.

So what does it all mean?

Today there was a resounding “ahhh,” as the spellbound speculators finally got some answers. Google made the big announcement about its latest offering: Google Instant, which enables users to view search results as they type a query.

This is word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing at its finest. Attract attention, build suspense, play hard-to-get and most importantly, have compelling news that comes close, or even better, lives up to the hype.

Still wondering whether the “Google balls” had any effect? See for yourself.

Contributed by Anne Norris. Follow her @anne_norris.