Is Charlie Chaplin's Body Missing Again? New Zealand Chaplin Doodle Is A Mystery

Google Doodles are done to honor an event - a historical persons birthday such as locomotive engine inventor Richard Trevithick's 240th earlier this week or the 50th anniversary of manned space flight. But the Doodle on the New Zealand search engine homepage has a picture about Charlie Chaplin.

Chaplin never went to New Zealand and has no family ties to the country. The Doodle is not being shown in nearby Australia or the US or the UK for that matter. So what is Google trying to say with this mystery version of their logo and homepage?

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Chaplin grew up in the UK, but made his fame in silent movies in the United States. His movies are classics - The Tramp and The Great Dictator rate amongst the top movies of all time regardless of their silence.

But why is he now part of the Google homepage in New Zealand? I check the news and Chaplin's coffin and body have not gone missing again. In 1978 people stolen his body coffin and all and tried to hold it ransom. Chaplin's widow refused to pay saying her husband would have thought it absurd.

Now like the mystery of Houdini - another Google Doodle this year - Charlie pops up.

"I think that certainly what we do is fairly unique,'' said Ryan Germick, Google's Doodle Team Creative Lead told My Central Jersey. "The first Google Doodle was the "burning man' logo to show that (Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin) were going away.
It's a tradition that was born out of that, and after users responded well to that, we found a way to ... bring it into our company's identity
.''

"We like the serendipity of doodles. If something fun comes up that we think our users will be excited about and that we find really exciting, we (will) run (it),'' he said.

So what motivated this one is a mystery to me - perhaps Google or one of my readers can help me solve this one. Or is Google just testing out their new Doodle patent.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.