Google Signature Searches

Campaign background

Google helps millions of Australians to search, discover and connect with their local businesses.  

Time Out’s challenge was to celebrate the magic behind a Google search and demonstrate how your favourite new dish is only a search away. Readers come to Time Out to discover the best places to eat, so in partnership with Google, we created content that led audiences to “search for” unique eats in their neighbourhoods.

Campaign objectives

  • Increase advocacy by demonstrating how Google helps people to enjoy their lives
  • Raise awareness of the impact Google has on its users’ everyday discovery  
  • Brand advocacy tracking across campaign period


The Time Out partnership acted as the content component within the wider Google ‘Signature Searches’ campaign that ran across outdoor, in-venue and social. Time Out and Google successfully collaborated across our own campaign, while Time Out also provided guidance and support where needed across other elements of the wider Google campaign.

The idea

Time Out collaborated with Google on the Signature Searches campaign. 

We created content that led the audiences to search for and discover familiar and new neighbourhood venues through the lens of food and drink. Essentially, we selected nine unique restaurant dishes (five in Sydney, four in Melbourne) that were at the top of a Google search when specific search terms were entered, for instance: “motorcycle oil ramen place” (Rising Sun Ramen’s Motorcycle Oil Ramen); “cacio e pepe cheese wheel” (Cacio e Pepe at Buffalo Dining Club). 

The campaign captured the imagination of audiences and engaged readers across: 


  • Content: We produced superlists that directed readers to a series of in-depth articles (‘Search Results’). We then housed this content within neighbourhood guides and supported them with high-quality videos about the signature dishes and their makers.
  • Engagement: Our interactive content lists were supported by search actions. An additional print execution encouraged readers to go online. 
  • Activation: We aligned Signature Searches with the Time Out Food Awards – the ultimate live list in physical form – inviting readers to vote for their favourite.


The campaign was designed to spark advocacy and Google conversation across our social channels using #foundongoogle

Campaign execution

There were two main drivers for this campaign:

1. Getting readers to engage, post and use Google (the engagement/content piece)
2. Getting readers to vote for their favourite #foundongoogle dish (the engagement/activation piece)

As the campaign centred around nine hero dishes with Time Out produced content to drive discoverability and hunger, then integrated these dishes into a dedicated Time Out Food Awards category. Readers were encouraged to vote for their favourite dish, the venues were encouraged to drive their own social campaigns, and then both trade and consumer guests were encouraged to attend the Food Awards to celebrate Signature Searches and venues around town.

This campaign was an always-on campaign with content, social, eDM and print activity present throughout the campaign period, complementing Google’s wider in-venue and outdoor campaign. The majority of the media was weighed in the lead up to the awards themselves. This included two incentivised social campaigns, one to win event tickets, the other to win venue experiences. The CTA call to action to win products and tickets proved a powerful driving force.

Behind the scenes, Time Out worked with the nominated venues to educate them on marketing, how to drive votes and also produced venue stickers and nominee and congrats packs.

At the Food Awards themselves, outside of true brand integration across the campaign, ceremony and more, we produced merchandise and prizes to drive attendee awareness and engagement around the power Google brings to help make our lives that bit easier.

The way to Time Out readers' hearts is through the belly. This brand campaign really tapped into the hearts of our readership in myriad ways.

How we worked

This was a true partnership between the brands. Time Out thoroughly enjoyed working on this campaign because we saw this as a natural alignment and one with plenty of extension opportunities.

From the first briefing, to the ideation sessions, to the execution phase of both the content, venue promotion and award activations, the Google, Essence and PHD teams were transparent and collaborative, collectively bringing all of this to life.

As this was a first-time campaign for all, Google trusted in Time Out to produce what we felt was best while we seamlessly tied in the subtle Google touchpoints. We provided ongoing service, support and suggestions throughout the campaign.

The results

  • Time Out exceeded all campaign objectives set by us and then by Google as we progressed.
  • The campaign looked sleek, dominated our site and started conversation within the industry.
  • Total campaign reach: 11,201,471 | Overperformed by 25%
  • Content (page views): 260,086 | Overperformed by 57%
  • Time Out Food Awards Signature Search Votes: 7,153 | Overperformed by 19%
  • Social media reach: 6,952,049 | Overperformed by 50%
  • Time Out Food Awards events | Sold-out events with Google front and centre
  • Magazine | In-hand sampling with Google x Time Out brand ambassadors – mags ran out in a flash

Campaign videos


Time Out says…

Working with Google on the Signature Searches campaign was such an incredible experience and an honour. Time Out is a business that is constantly curious, inspiring its readers to get out and discover the best of their cities, and Google enables us to do this with such ease. This campaign partnership allowed us to truly celebrate the little guys and support the hospitality industry, shining a light on the power of connection, experience and search. From the content campaign and the visually magnificent videos to the celebratory awards events and also the in-venue experience, we were able to over-deliver on the brief while satisfying our readers’ hunger for great food. Working with Google we inspired people, and we made a difference in trade.

Elise Bucholtz, Commercial Director, Time Out Australia

Signature Searches Melbourne winner Sunda says...

“Being part of the Time Out Signature Searches campaign and winning the People’s Choice Award has been an amazing experience for Sunda. It has piqued the curiosity of guests and created great conversations around the vegemite curry roti dish. This has always been an off-menu item – something of ours that has a bit of a cult status amongst previous diners. Since the campaign and award, however, we’ve seen significantly more requests for the roti dish. Our staff have also been proudly getting behind it. The custom pins of the roti dish created by Time Out have been a hit! The award has been fantastic for our team and guests. Thank you.”

The team at Sunda

Signature Searches Sydney winner Circa Espresso says...

“Winning this award has been an incredible experience for our business. To be able to share a dish with customers which was something that we ate growing up is a beautiful feeling. To receive the recognition from Time Out and Google means the world to us – especially as we are almost ten years into Circa, and to still be noticed for all our efforts. Since winning, we have definitely noticed an increase in sales of our Ottoman Eggs, plus an overall increase in traffic and buzz around the café. We are seeing a lot of new faces and many new people who are travelling out to Parramatta just to experience the Signature Searches dish as well as all the other seasonal menu items. Overall, we are grateful and humbled by the love and support received by the public as well as two powerhouses like Time Out and Google.”

Anthony – Ottoman Eggs at Circa Espresso

What can we do for you?

Advertise with us.