Manage Everyday Tasks Effortlessly

One of many color options for the Google Home

Google landed a spot in Super Bowl 51 this year, but their focus was not on the search bar. They used their slot to promote Google home, a smart speaker that can do various things. Like play music, check the weather for you, turn on lights inside a house, translate phrases into Spanish, answer questions and more by saying “OK Google” to activate it. It’s your own google, already to help.

They aired a sentimental ad that celebrated diverse people who call The United States, their home, representing a cross-section of America. The story of the commercial opens with a house decorated with their pride flag and then showcases diverse families in their homes. We saw Jewish, African, American, Latino, Asian families and many others. Now, what did they all have in common? The Google Home AI device. The ad ended with a surprise party, and a cake with a message written in frosting, “welcome home.”

Keith Quesenberry is a researcher at John Hopkins that conducted a two-year analysis of 108 Super Bowl commercials. He predicted that the Budweiser spot would be a winner and determined that those that told a complete story with a plot, one with a beginning, middle and end, received the highest ratings from viewers. He found that regardless of the content of an ad, the structure of the content foretold its success.

The Google commercial closely followed Quesenberry’s model. It identifies five parts of story: introduction, rising action, climax, falling action and conclusion. It introduced characters and presented them with a challenge. In the climatic scene, they activate Google to make their everyday tasks easier. The smart speaker does what its told or asked and everyone feels right at home.

A commercial in the super bowl ad with a similar product was Amazon. Amazon promoted their AI device, the Alexa. They aired three, 10 second commercials to show how much easier life is with an Alexa at home. They showcase the product without making domineering statements about hominess. As connected devices and security systems become progressively mainstream, Google and Amazon have developed as primary competitors for the voice operating system of the home. However, in my opinion Googles ad wad more successful since there was a story behind it.

“You can tell a complete story in 30 seconds,” said Quesenberry, “The best ads tell a story that you can relate to — and the product is an integral part of the story.”