theodp writes: Reuters reports that the growing importance of social networking to Google is reflected in its 'L' Team (short for Larry's Team), the influential group responsible for plotting the search giant's strategic priorities. Earlier this year, Google CEO Larry Page tied 25% of Googlers' annual bonuses to the success of Google's social strategy in 2011. So it's not too surprising that Google recently released online and TV commercials providing testimonials from Google+ users to encourage web users to consider the benefits of the platform. What may surprise some is that Google tapped its own 'Mad Men' — internal and external ad agency types — to portray happy Google+ users in testimonials for its more-like-real-life social network. For example, in the ad Larry Page shared to introduce Google+ Pages (video), the loyal bike shop customers hanging out include Google Creative Lab employees and ad agency staffers. And the cast of 'Sharing But Like Real Life' (video), which aired during the Packers-Lions Thanksgiving Day game, featured a number of Google advertising and marketing staffers. Google+ users in 'Search' (video) also sport the same names as real-life Googlers. And in 'Circles Love Story' (video), in which the guy gets promoted from the girl's unfortunately-named 'Creepers' Circle to her 'Keepers' Circle, the cast coincidentally shares names with individuals tied to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, a reported Google hired-gun. Google no doubt knows where to draw the line so they do-no-FTC-evil. Still, one wonders how the ads would sit with the FTC's Mary Engle, who last year warned 'Advertisers should not pass themselves off as ordinary consumers touting a product, and endorsers should make it clear when they have financial connections to sellers.'
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