Boing Boing points to Advertising with Google Maps, which suggest that merchants like Target and others are tapping into satellite views on Google Maps and Windows Live Local by painting logos on the top of their buildings. Paint me a bit dubious. I suspect these logos were painted in most cases to appeal to those flying over buildings by airplane. I'd further guess you'd see most of them along known flight paths.
I make these guesses based on years of looking out of airplane windows when landing. But I also did a bit of research. RoofAds is a company that will, well, paint your logo on your rooftop. Why? The about page at RoofAds says:
Each day, millions of commuters gaze out of their airplane windows upon takeoff and landing from airports around the world. These commuters see mountains, rivers, cities, and white rooftops of large buildings.
Here's a nice gallery of their work, along with stats on how many passengers per day will see your roof ad around various airports. Notice that one of the roof ads is for Yahoo Autos!
How many mentions of Google Maps on the RoofAds site? Zilch. In other words, here's a company that specializes in selling rooftop ads. However, seeing your ad in Google Maps is not yet a selling point or it. That more than makes me think people aren't painting ads for Google Maps.
FYI, I did find some other examples of rooftop ads. Here's an Agfa one at the Google Globetrotting site. Given how faded it is, fair to say it wasn't slapped up to take advantage of Google Maps, which launched with satellite views only last April.
The Target ad is best seen at Boing Boing, link above. But it came from Google Sightseeing on this page. The site is currently down, probably because of the Boing Boing attention. You might also try searching for "roof" or "rooftop" over at the Google Earth forums.
Certainly those with rooftop logos will get some gains as satellite view mapping services continue to gain in popularity. We'll even likely see some consider painting logos on rooftops for just this reason. But the phenomenon probably shouldn't be attributed to Google Maps.
Optimising Digital Marketing Campaigns with Search, Social and Analytics
At SES London (9-11 Feb) you'll get an overview of the latest tools, tips, and tactics in Paid, Owned, Earned, Integrated Media and Business Intelligence to streamline your marketing campaigns in 2015. Register by 31 October to take advantage of Early Bird Rates.