What is this?
May 20, 2002 4:06 AM   Subscribe

What is this? Why is Google licensing Dilbert for their banner? Compared to the subtle holiday theme banners they do, this just seems....tone-deaf.
posted by crunchburger (42 comments total)
Ohhh - This?
Some kind of joke I expect.
posted by Spoon at 4:17 AM on May 20, 2002

I've wondered about this before, perhaps you can buy the space; I seem to remember the Winter Olympics being linked, I wonder if money changed hands?

It also breaks the traditional "wisdom" of the marketeer which says don't mess with your logo under any cicumstances.
posted by johnny novak at 4:21 AM on May 20, 2002

It's plain old marketing: they want you to associate Google with Dilbert, and vice versa. Moreover, if you buy the mug, you get to see the rest of the joke.
posted by pracowity at 4:22 AM on May 20, 2002

Thanks Spoon.
posted by crunchburger at 4:51 AM on May 20, 2002

fuck dilbert. [100% work safe]
posted by quonsar at 5:19 AM on May 20, 2002

Oh, stop reading so much into it. It's another "holiday" logo, along with the ones for some artists' birthdays, and for Burning Man.

As for the bit about not messing with your logo, eh. If you take a look at them, they never actually make the logo anywhere near unrecognizable. In fact, it's become kind of a game for them to mess with their logo in various ways.

Who cares if money changed hands? A logo is just a marketing tool, right next to licensing deals.
posted by Su at 5:32 AM on May 20, 2002

That cartoon doesn't appear on Google's main web site -- only on the UK version. What is it there, something called "Whitmonday"? (What's that?)

Since the rise of new media, there has been a trend towards "kinetic" rather than "static" corporate identities -- Google exemplifies this trend. Modifying their logo on holidays has become a tradition.

And Su's right -- it's just a logo. Google is just a company -- a good one as far as companies go, but still profit-driven, at least to some extent.
posted by gohlkus at 6:11 AM on May 20, 2002


sorry for discussing something you find trivial, it would appear you have all the answers.
posted by johnny novak at 6:19 AM on May 20, 2002

That cartoon doesn't appear on Google's main web site -- only on the UK version. What is it there, something called "Whitmonday"?

posted by gloege at 6:20 AM on May 20, 2002

Its cross branding. Two well established brands, google and dilbert, rubbing each other off.
posted by BentPenguin at 6:23 AM on May 20, 2002

Logos are to Google what flashy, colorful neckties are to a grey flannel suits, with white button down shirts, and black wing tip shoes.
posted by Voyageman at 6:52 AM on May 20, 2002

The aspect that is a bit more terrifying is that this symbolises Google's entry into the US pop-culture arena.

This week Dilbert, next week viagra-enhanced searches, the week following celebrity-boxing uppercut searching? Resistance is futile.
posted by TuffAustin at 7:12 AM on May 20, 2002

If you click on the banner you go here. Not much more info, unfortunately, but you'll get to see the entire doodle when it's done.
posted by jazon at 7:16 AM on May 20, 2002

It's kinda crass, but as long as Google keeps working, I couldn't care less.
posted by RylandDotNet at 7:22 AM on May 20, 2002

It's a cute marketing move, despite the strong smell of money emitted by the Dilbert-themed Google logo. I don't mind, since I love Dilbert, and I love Google, and what works for both of them only makes me happier.
posted by brownpau at 7:28 AM on May 20, 2002

Irrespective of whether Google Doodles are a good idea or not, I've always felt they were somewhat inexpertly executed, making Google look a little bit "homey".

But perhaps that's deliberate, and maybe in this age of sophisticated and all pervasive branding we all like a bit of hominess. All of which would be deeply cynical of Google if it were the case.
posted by johnny novak at 7:56 AM on May 20, 2002

Uh, maybe Google is preparing to unveil a new logo on Friday, and they're ramping up to it with a Dilbert strip that is going to change every day this week to get people interested?
posted by spilon at 8:24 AM on May 20, 2002

"Be sure to visit Google each day this week to check the progress of this crack corporate identity team."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:04 AM on May 20, 2002

Is Google a search engine ? First they start with Dilbert, then soon "WAZZAAAA" will sound when you click on a link.
As long as it's not annoying, Google may add as much advert as they feel like to, but don't piss me or I'll turn to competition :D
posted by elpapacito at 9:07 AM on May 20, 2002

For anyone who doesn't see this, due to randomness or reading this thread weeks later, the artwork is here.
posted by dhartung at 9:07 AM on May 20, 2002

The Google Team obviously loves Dilbert and forgot the rest of the world is not necessarily like them. It's called cubicle-think.
posted by fleener at 9:32 AM on May 20, 2002

It's a good move for Google. The problem with traditional marketing is that it's traditional. If done right, unconventional marketing campaigns can be very effective. And if anyone has proven that logos aren't as sacred as they once were, it's Google.

Besides, it works. I found it hilarious. But I am jaded from hearing that phrase one too many times.
posted by johnjreeve at 10:02 AM on May 20, 2002

I'm surprised that Google, which has a rep for not going nuts for an advertiser, would let a Dilbert ad take over its logo for a week. It's a pretty crass grab for money (or at least has the appearance of one).

However, I recently saw a sponsored link in the search results on Google mixed in with the regular results, so it appears that the site is loosening its reluctance to pimp for advertisers. (The link appeared to be an experiment. I haven't found another.)
posted by rcade at 10:31 AM on May 20, 2002

posted by quonsar at 10:43 AM on May 20, 2002

"...or I'll turn to their competition"

Google has competition?
posted by mecran01 at 10:44 AM on May 20, 2002

``This partnership exceeded my wildest dreams,'' said Adams. ``I hoped I would get a free Google shirt, and I got three of them -- plus a mug.''

From this article
posted by Mick at 11:13 AM on May 20, 2002

Ugh, Dilbert.
posted by vacapinta at 11:24 AM on May 20, 2002

Johnny Novak: "sorry for discussing something you find trivial, it would appear you have all the answers."

What the hell are you talking about? Where exactly did I call this trivial? I gave a possible, and I think plausible, explanation, rather than a bunch of point- and base-less speculation. If anything, that's what I consider trivial: the knee-jerk reaction assuming there's some sort of Illuminati media conspiracy going on just because someone decided to do a little cross-branding.
There's a weird tendency on the net to ignore that yes, even Google is a business.

You're telling me that my comment is somehow more bitch-worthy than "fuck Dilbert?"
posted by Su at 12:34 PM on May 20, 2002

I think you guys are reading way too much into it. Yeah, they're using Dilbert, but they're just making fun of themselves. "We need a new logo by Friday. Any suggestions?" Friday marks the beginning of Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. Google changes their logo on holidays. Big deal.
posted by hootch at 1:18 PM on May 20, 2002

quonsar --

I found it quite interesting that the cease and desist letter you linked to was written by Baker & Hostetler.

These are the same guys who served hundreds of c/d letters to Simpson's web sites. I used to run a site called "Homer's Head Sound Archive" while I was in college and received one of these gems -- forcing me to shut down my site.

Serves me right!
posted by aaronchristy at 3:11 PM on May 20, 2002

Hmmm. Dilbert is neither McDonalds nor Coca-Cola nor Nike nor Microsoft nor Disney nor . . . When have comic strips needed to advertise? Choose Dilbert over Garfield? (Did I just write Garfield?)
posted by jacknose at 4:10 PM on May 20, 2002

Serves me right!
yeah! you filthy violator of intellectual property rights you!
btw: i am the recipient of that letter, quonsar is just my real name, kevin o'malley is an alias i use on the internet.
posted by quonsar at 4:11 PM on May 20, 2002

jacknose: dilbert is far more than a comic strip - it's a friggin' industry. see vacapintas links above.
posted by quonsar at 4:15 PM on May 20, 2002

Here's some willynilly speculation for you. Maybe Scott Adams and the guys at Google came up with the idea cuz they thought it was funny.

[facetious] ...Nah. Of course it's a media conspiracy thing. X-Files got cancelled too soon. We should sic Mulder on Google. Solve this media conspiracy once and for all. [/facetious]
posted by ZachsMind at 4:39 PM on May 20, 2002

Yeah, darn those Google folks for not being as hep as the rest of us. Dilbert is so 1990.
posted by kindall at 5:24 PM on May 20, 2002

mecran01: I'd name FAST/Alltheweb and Teoma the runners-up, quality-wise.
posted by c3o at 5:57 PM on May 20, 2002

Here's the google page about it.
posted by Gary at 12:41 AM on May 21, 2002

Oops, Jazon already posted it… Sorry.
posted by Gary at 12:42 AM on May 21, 2002

A Google spokeswoman said Google's doodles have no inherent goal behind them and that they reflect the company's "fun and spirited corporate culture."

Part of the fun in business is making money, of course: Google plans to sell T-shirts with the Dilbert logo, as well as the coffee mugs.

Synergy between two companies. It's not like you didn't expect it.
posted by sans at 2:51 AM on May 21, 2002

Is this the point at which Google loses all it's geekcool cachet? The fulcrum moment?

Or is it already uncool? Hell, I don't know - I have trouble keeping track these days...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:08 AM on May 21, 2002

The conclusion to the whole thing was anti-climactic. Did I miss something or was there not really a punchline?
posted by Gary at 1:02 AM on May 28, 2002

Of course there was no good punchline. Admit it, the whole thing made you feel sicker and sicker every time you launched Google for one dreadful week.

Let's just be thankful that Sergei at Google isn't a Family Circus or Funky Winkerbean fan.
posted by crunchburger at 11:24 AM on June 8, 2002

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