Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

What is the Algorithm?

I've been seeing these billboards in the city recently. I don't know what they are about. There is no mention of any product or even a website at the bottom to check. There is really no clue as to what the message is other than the recurrence of the Algorithm mentioned. In the past, New York has seen some interesting viral marketing campaigns before viral was used to describe something other than why you were puking all day. I remember Peter Barbieri, this TD I used to work with, told us how when Ghostbusters was being advertised in the subways, they used an all black sign with just the No Ghosts symbol in the center.

Man, remember Peter Barbieri? He was great. I used to work in his shop in Ossining, NY. I'd take the Metro North Hudson Line north against traffic and commute to Ossining, the location of Sing Sing prison, in case you were wondering. Peter used to go into the prison and help the inmates put on shows. He told us he couldn't bring in a SawsAll though.

What the fuck was I talking about? Oh yeah, the algorithm. Your guess is as good as mine.


Andrew said...

Apparently it's for
That's marketing 101. Kill off the cheery British icon in favor of an all-knowing algorithm, and watch the customers roll in.

kristin1724 said...

Read this:

Ask CEO Explains "The Algorithm"’s CEO Jim Lanzone issued a statement explaining the new campaign that includes the intriguing ad copy:
The Algorithm Constantly Finds Jesus.

“ has launched an advertising campaign focused on ‘The Algorithm.’ The goal is to incite a consumer conversation around the importance of a search engine’s algorithm and its integral role in making one engine different from another, Lanzone said.

‘The Algorithm’ is the single most important ingredient that determines the relevance of search results, yet its impact on the overall search experience is taken for granted by most consumers. At, we feel that in order to drive consumer awareness and use of our engine, it is important to highlight the uniqueness of our algorithm, which takes a different approach to ranking than our competitors. The algorithm’s relevance methodology goes beyond the popularity focus of Google, Yahoo and MSN’s, and is the only one to break the Web down into topic clusters and determine community-based relevance in real time.”

I suppose, considering the attention it has garnered so far, that its actually a pretty decent ad campaign. Now all those religious people can just go to to find Jesus. screw church!

Greg Tito said...

I suppose I should have at least tried to look up what the algorithm was all about. Honestly, I didn't expect to find out so quickly. Wow, leave it up to my fellow office workers to dig up the dirt. Well done!

I'll fix that photo link too when I get home.

NYOne said...

Wow, you have been all kinds of blogging lately! I am inspired. I would have guessed the algorithm thing would have been for Google, but of course makes more sense. I have to agree with Andrew that killing Jeeves doesn't impress me as the smartest brnading strategy. I mean, it's Jeeves! Right ho, and all.
This shop in Ossining wouldn't happen to be Cigar Box Studios? Hmm, I guess they are technically in Newburgh. Never mind.

Greg Tito said...

I also want to add how both those pictures were taken with one hand on the wheel while traversing the tumultuous BQE. Badass blogger? Annoying alliterist? You be the judge.

EndlessVortexesOfKaleidoscopeThoughts said...

In San Francisco we have random billboards that say "Are you gay?" Seriously. Huge and hanging over the freeway waiting for you to come out of the closet before heading over the Bay Bridge. I'm surprised said billboards haven't caused accidents due to cars coming to screeching halts while honking up a storm and screaming out the window "you know it girlfriend" quickly followed by drag queens exchanging phone numbers before speeding off...because you know...this is San Francisco. But then again, I feel the need to answer to billboard when I drive by it too...