Google's new just-released Nexus 7 tablet commercial has that same heartwarming feel we expect from the company, yet, this time, it doesn't make us want to buy the product. Since first getting into advertising its business, Google has put out ads that make us feel emotional, a strategy the tech company explained to the New York Times's Claire Cain Miller last January. "If we don’t make you cry, we fail," Google's global marketing vice president Lorraine Twohill told Miller. This latest spot, which you can watch below, has that "aww" factor depicting what many have dubbed an "adorable" relationship between a father and son. But it also shows the tablet's faults, reminding techies (and potential customers) why the Google Nexus 7 might not be worth the buy -- a problem for a campaign created to do the opposite of that.
And that's exactly what the company wants. "I still think it’s important to remind people why Google matters, how it’s had an impact on people’s lives," added Twohill. And it generally works. For both those aforementioned clips (and the rest of Google's arsenal) we don't think about the technology behind Google's products. We think about how we use it to connect to loved ones, or create special moments. And that's because the advertisements show the technology used in a realistic, albeit corny, way. In the Parisian Love ad, for example, we can relate to searching for "cafe's near the louve" -- misspelling and all. The company even understands that we want to Google things like "long distance relationship advice" -- which the faceless Googler inputs then erases -- but the engine works better for things like "jobs in Paris."
The Nexus 7 commercial, however, takes us out of reality, only emphasizing the way its product doesn't work. For most of the commercial we are supposed to believe that the father and son took the tablet on a camping trip. An unlikelihood that many techies have already pointed out. "Why would anyone take a WiFi only tablet camping…," wrote The Next Web's Jon Russell. Though, later, we find out this trip has taken place in the family backyard, leading us to believe the two got WiFi from the house. That makes more sense, but that would have to be one strong connect, as The Verge's Aaron Souppouris points out. "Watch as a bearded gentleman and (we're assuming) his son strengthen their bond through the glory of camping, Google apps, and an unusually strong outdoor Wi-Fi signal," he writes.
And that's the other thing, unlike Google's other commercials this doesn't show technology bringing people together, but rather putting a device in between them. Isn't camping for getting away from all of that?That's in exact contrast to what it's going for. "Now they want to make you feel something about search, as opposed to just relying on it as a useful tool," Peter Daboll, chief executive of Ace Metrix, a firm that evaluates TV and video ads told Miller. Here, its product just looks like another "useful tool," with father and son using it as a compass, or a way to keep kid entertained during bonding moments. While the general sentiment is sweet, this only reminds us that Google's tablet not only has no data, but at the end of the day it is just another gadget.
Pre-commercial, Google Nexus 7 sales were doing just fine. Surprised by demand for its more expensive 16GB version, Google stopped orders from its US and UK Google Play store for that tablet, reports The Guardian's Charles Arthur who says the 16GB version offers buyers the option to get an e-mail notification for when the tablet is ready. The commercial, only available for viewing on YouTube so far, will raise awareness for that already talked-up tablet. But we're not sure it's the right kind of awareness.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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