Probably after years of constant questioning surrounding the benefit of bidding on your brand terms, Google search banners are now being tested in the US. The example above is for Virgin Airlines in the US, with about 30 other advertisers testing this with Google, all currently in beta.
It was previously stated that there would never EVER be Google search banners:
There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.
But as we have seen, that was 8 years ago and who remembers 8 years ago these days?
Regardless this come of the back of Product Listing Ads having very successful trials in Australia, Europe and the US. No sign of Google pushing this out to New Zealand as of yet, but we will keep an eye on this one for you!
UPDATE: Today (14/03/13) Google announced that the banner testing was unsuccessful and this ad format won’t be trailed any further. Good news for all paid search advertisers, as this type of ad would definitely damage balance in the bid advertising space.