Just a short note in english, since the story seems to be all over…
[orginal post in swedish] [the images at flickr]

1. I have nothing against Google at all, in fact I’m a big fan (I would never put MSOFT on my car;). So this is not an attack in any way on Google.

2. The ”vanity plates” with GOOGLE on them are, of course, a tongue-in-cheek kind of fun thing – but I don’t think it’s such a big deal. I am not all that impressed, and I really don’t expect anyone else to be either. So don’t flame me, please.

3. I wanted to prove a point about brands and the difficult tasks in trying to protect them, old style. We need to rethink brand strategies (very mush so in the business I come from – ”old media”) – and make sure we focus on building rather than protecting. More on that below.

4. I choose GOOGLE for my license plate because it is one of the worlds highest valued brands and everybody knows about them. Also I am sure I can in no way cause them any damage, their brand is way to strong. It was a safe ”target”.

5. I do not think I have done anything wrong – the ones who made this possible was the swedish Vägverket (Swedish road authorities). If you think this is a bad thing, blame them.

Here’s a little text I wrote last night to try and explain a little bit about the affair.

The idea came from the fact that we live in a world where we keep talking about the increasing importance of brands – but it is getting ever so much harder to protect them. I want ”my” business, the traditional media companies, to realize that we have to work harder with BUILDING the brand and stop trying to protect it – simply because it’s impossible. The channels are too many, the users to creative and idea of fair use puts everyone in the driving seat – guided only by their own moral and ethics. We cant fight it, so we must face it, live with it, and deal with it. (and as you can see, there are strong parallels to the copyright-issue, where I also “fight” for a different approach)

By picking one of the hardest brands in the world I wanted to prove that no one is ”safe”, but I also picked Google because I’m convinced that my little show can in no way harm Google. They have done their lesson of building the brand, so there is absolutely no damage done to them by this.

The cost is 6.000SEK for ten years. Thats $872, or less then a hundred bucks a year.

And there are more proof of concepts to come, I hope.

And then some links:
Blogoscoped: Joakim’s Google License Plate
Digital lifestyle: Google Car License Plate: Sweden
Patrik Fältström: Vanity plates with GOOGLE on them
Digg: Pirated Google License plates

(I should give you more, but I’m actually on vacation in sunny Göteborg. the Rolling Stones but up a decent show last night).

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