Issue 27, 1 June 2011
You've got to admire a marketing team whose aim is to win the Nobel Peace Prize. And when those people are a bunch of artists, designers, creatives and technologists at Google, you wonder if it might just be possible
Google Creative Lab selects its interns based, amongst other things, on their capacity to be humble,and it's easy to see why. It doesn't want to breed a bunch of people who, aged 23, will be bragging about working on a Super Bowl spot; creating a music video for Arcade Fire and developing a movie which premiered at Sundance (after YouTube, of course). Yet despite their reverence for humility, the team, based in New York, San Francisco and London, are not without epic amounts of ambition. Executive creative director Robert Wong proclaims: 'When I hire creatives I tell them that if your goal is to win a Cannes Lion this is not the place for you. Our goal is to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It's more of a symbolic goal, but what it does is
reframe the possibility of what you can do for any brand or company with their products.'
The Lab was launched in November 2007 by Andy Berndt, formerly co-president of Ogilvy New York. It aimed to lead the creative efforts of Google's marketing department, while allowing its small team of around 50 people to tinker and experiment, focusing across the entire range of the company's offering. The Lab produces work both independently and through collaborations with agencies and partners.
Considering the Google brand and its creative standards, Berndt felt that a creative hothouse was needed, because the company is so different from any other in terms of how it communicates and markets to the world. He explains: 'Creative Lab combines Yin and Yang, its left-brain and right-brain thinking. We use a combination of really smart marketing and manifestations of what the products do to represent the magic that is inside them.'