Advertiser ■ Google
Industry ■ Advertising
Media used ■ Direct mail & web
Target group ■ 1,000 Japanese SMEs
Date ■ 2013

The background

Google is very active in B2B marketing – it promotes the use of Google AdWords for sales leads generation not only to big clients but also to SMEs and independent professionals. The SMEs and independent professionals are inundated with tools to generate sales leads through all the different channels. In addition to the initiatives launched by the Golden Pages and local newspapers, some brokers also campaign aggressively addressing this segment, based on mailing lists and emails. The challenge is often to demonstrate the effectiveness and the uniqueness of such tools. Moreover, this campaign was intended for the Japanese market where a foreign company such as Google provokes further mistrust and reservation.

The strategy

Google aimed at convincing the prospects of the Japanese market to test Google AdWords. Offering the opportunity to trial can be a very effective way to sell a product in a traditional and somewhat isolated market such as Japan. The copy used in the campaign was designed to highlight that Google AdWords made it easy to record direct results.


The decision of a pure online player like Google to use an offline media is noteworthy and goes to show that no channel has total appeal. Using direct mail, 1,000 Japanese entrepreneurs were invited to discover the direct effect of Google AdWords. The advertiser mailed a closed box with a padlock and a message which read: “Find the Key to Business Success with Google”. The box could be opened only using a code which could be found through Google AdWords. Once this code was found and the box opened, a custom code giving recipients access to a pURL was revealed. The webpage contained personalised information regarding recipients’ business. Important to note, the design of the mailer was 100% Japanese to win the trust of traditional Japanese companies.


No less than 95% of the target group sought the code to open the box via Google AdWords. As many as 51% of them answered a questionnaire on the custom microsite. The return on investment was impressive: Google has recorded a ROI of 90:1. And for the creativity the campaign won Google the Golden Award at the Mailbox DMA Echo Awards in 2014.