Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Google Exec Vic Gundotra’s Second Gig: Mercedes Spokesman

Why is Google’s Vic Gundotra appearing in a TV ad testifying about how a Mercedes saved his life?

Advertising Age has the answer: Because Vic Gundotra’s Mercedes saved his life.

There’s no other backstory here, says the trade pub: After the software in Gundotra’s car prevented a collision, Google’s social products guru jotted off a handwritten thank-you note to Mercedes. And then a marketing exec there thought it would be cool if Gundotra told the story on camera.

Gundotra wasn’t paid, and AdAge doesn’t mention any other corporate tie-in between the two companies. But even if that’s the case, the two of them get to burnish each other’s brand, which isn’t a bad thing.

The ad has been running since July, though I haven’t seen one in the wild myself; my hunch is that will change once football season kicks off this week.

Bonus points to ex-Googler David Bloom for noting, on Quora, that Gundotra isn’t the only tech bigwig to promote a car on TV. Here’s Apple’s Steve Wozniak hawking Datsuns many moons ago.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik